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Technology / SEO techniques

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) mistakes

Ranking highly in Google can have a massive impact on your sales leads. This article explains five common Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) mistakes which limit your ability to secure a high ranking, and how to avoid them.

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1. You don’t know what keywords you want to rank highly for

Understanding how your customers search for you in Google is your number one priority when looking at Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). What words (i.e. keywords) would they type into Google to find you? For example, are they searching for “HR solutions” or for “recruitment tips”? It is important to get this right, as there is no point in ranking #1 for a keyword phrase that people are not frequently searching for.

A popular keyword research tool is www.wordtracker.com, but I prefer Google Adwords (http://adwords.google.com). Adwords is paid advertising and is not only a great source of sales leads, but the report data is also very useful. If you place adverts for a group of keywords, over a period of time, the number of ‘impressions’ tells you how often your customers are searching for each keyword phrase. This will help you decide which keywords you want to optimise your website for.

2. Your website has poor content

The quality and quantity of the content of your website is a crucial part of getting good results from Search Engine Optimisation. By content, I mean the actual words or copy on your website, not images. Content is one area where website owners can’t take shortcuts or manipulate their rankings and probably why Google is placing more and more emphasis on good quality content.

You should be looking to continually bulk up your content over time, and most importantly, this content should include the keywords that you want to be found for. Ideas for additional content include full product descriptions, interesting articles about your products, customer case studies, company newsletters, as well as FAQs.

"You should be looking to continually bulk up your content over time, and most importantly, this content should include the keywords that you want to be found for."

3. Your ‘title tag’ has irrelevant content

Go to your website home page, and look at the bar going across the very top of your screen. In HTML speak, this is called your ‘title tag’. What words are there? If it is simply your company name, or doesn’t have your main keywords (i.e. the service or product you want to be found for) you are missing a major SEO opportunity to improve your rankings. Google places significant emphasis on the contents of your title tag. Speak to your web developer about how to modify the wording of your title tag.

Want more articles like this? Check out the SEO techniques section.

4. Your website is designed in ‘frames’

‘Frames’ is a design technique to help in laying out a webpage. It used to be popular a few years ago, but has been replaced with tables or Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Search engines have a hard time in indexing websites built in frames and so frame-based websites make it a lot harder to get high rankings.

To identify whether your website is built in frames, have a look at the HTML source code. In Internet Explorer 7, click the “Page” button, then click “View Source”. If you see the words “frames” or “frameset”, that may explain why you don’t have high rankings in Google. If you’re serious about improving your rankings I would recommend converting your website to CSS which is a lot more search engine friendly.

5. Your website is designed with lots of Flash

If your website has lots of graphics or animation, it has most likely been designed using an application called Flash. Even text can be formatted as an image – which doesn’t help, as the search engine can’t actually read the text. There is an easy way to test if you content is an image or text. Open the webpage you want to test, and copy the contents to Windows Notepad.

To do this on a Windows PC, click anywhere on the web page, and select all the text by pressing CTRL A, then copy to the clipboard by pressing CTRL C. Then open up Notepad (Windows XP: Start > Programs > Accessories > Notepad) and then press CTRL V to paste the contents. If you see lots of your content in Notepad it means you have lots of text content which is great from a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) perspective. If you don’t see much text, chances are your website uses lots of Flash, and you will struggle to gain high search engine rankings. You will need to speak to your web developer about making some changes.

What have been your experiences with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

Philip Shaw

a director and founder of CleverClicks, an online marketing company passionate about helping small businesses use the phenomenal power of the internet to boost their sales.

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