Because there is a lot of misinformation about search engine optimization online, there are many SEO mistakes a person can make. I've listed five below that I've pulled from my White Hat SEO manual. The manual lists 18 mistakes webmasters make.
Some of these problems are caused accidentally on purpose! In other words, the webmaster intentionally did something illegal while following bad advice, without knowing the advice was bad. Some problems are caused from a simple lack of knowledge.
5 SEO Mistakes
- Using illegal HTML attributes and values. For example, adding a summary attribute and value to tags that don't allow for them, such as a paragraph tag. Sample illegal tag:
<p summary="Internet marketing methods explained.">
Most people know that hidden text is search engine illegal. What many do not know is that search engines can view visible text as hidden! If you have a table with a different colored background than the page background, and use a text color inside that table that is the nearly the same or the same color as your web page background color, your site may be penalized for hidden text at some search engines.
Even though all your text is readable because you set a different table background color, many search engines don't consider the table background color, they just see the text in the table is the same color as your web page background color and boom—your web page's ranking takes a hit.
Gateway pages, doorway pages, bridge pages, ghost pages—whatever you want to call them—meaning pages designed for the sole purpose of search engine placement, are a big taboo. Search engines have little mercy for those caught using them.
If you do use a gateway page, don't just put up a redirect page or one keyword page. Gateway pages must have relevant content on them, and enough relevant content to make the page useful for more than the purpose of search engine placement.
Also, keep the number of gateway pages you use down to a minimum. If you have a 10 pages of content and 25 gateway pages, it's pretty obvious it's a spam attempt.
Submitting multiple versions of the same page or nearly the same page, only changing the page name and making few, if any, minor wording changes on it, is just another spam sandwich to the search
engines. Search engines don't say, "mmm...tasty!" to spam sandwiches, they say bye-bye to your ranking, or even your listing. This is commonly referred to as the 'duplicate content' penalty.
It goes deeper than that though. Duplicate content can be printer friendly pages, pages that have been replaced but haven't been delisted, and can even be caused by inconsistent linking practices. In
White Hat SEO I show you how to prevent the search engines from seeing duplicate content on your site.
Going overboard with too many keywords on a page is an obvious spam attempt. For example, if your page contains 300 words and the keyword phrase "web design" is repeated 50 times, it's obvious you are trying to spam the search engine—and one thing many people don't seem to realize is that the detection methods are automated, the search engine spiders can calculate keyword ratios faster than you can. Besides, keyword density isn't as important as it used to be. Latent semantics is more important now.
Some folks think they are getting away with cheating because they use illegal tactics and temporarily gain an advantage. Sometimes a web site will slip through the cracks for a while, but these are seldom long term results. They will be caught eventually, sometimes because their competitors report them to the search engines.
By practicing ethical search engine optimization strategies you can achieve a good ranking without resorting to cheating, and you won't have to worry about your site being banned. White Hat SEO shows you the strategies and techniques you need to achieve good rankings without cheating.
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