Starting a website can be a confusing time. Deciding on design, content, traffic sources, etc. can be overwhelming to say the least.
Many ideas will be tossed around, some good… some not so good. Luckily, there is a lot of information on what it takes to succeed and what may impede a site’s growth.
Avoiding the pitfalls of site ownership is as important as recognizing opportunities. To that end, I’ve compiled four SEO pitfalls I think can be easily avoided when starting a new website or easily fixed on existing sites.
Four SEO Pitfalls
Flash – Yes, its so mesmerizing to watch your company logo rotate, reverse and explode, but it’s still pretty much nothing more than a file with some text around it in the eyes of the search engine spider. You can use workarounds to make it “SEO friendly” but to me, its not worth all the extra work. I’ve never heard of it increasing response and as a result, I recommend staying away from it. If you have a study showing an improved conversion rate using flash on a website, please let us know.
Tables – I know, it can be a hard habit to break. But please, use <div> instead. The code for tables with all of its columns, rows, alignment commands, in-line css, dwarfs the actual content in the table. Code to text ratio is an important on page factor, changing your tables to divs will go a long way towards getting that ratio higher on the text side. Some may argue whether or not code to text ratio is valid, but if your code takes as much time or more to load as your content, you could be harming your organic rankings. So use those divs and save yourself some load time.
Buying Links – It’s gotten to the point that search engines are too savvy, so don’t do it. A natural link profile includes lots of different links… homepage links, url links, deep site links, anchor text links, etc. When your link profile acquires a ton of the same kind of link in a short period of time, it looks unnatural and could trigger a penalty. So if you go from 10-150 links in one day and they all say “buy shampoo online” the engines are going to recognize that is not natural and take a closer look.
Duplicate Content – Ah yes… the often debated duplicate content. Duplicate content across the same URL is fine and will receive no penalty from a search engine unless it’s egregious and an attempt to dupe the user in some way. Duplicate content on different URLs is another story. If you want to syndicate another person’s work – LINK TO IT. It’s that simple. When you link to the source, the search engine understands you are syndicating and NOT stealing the content.