By: Brad Eden
If you have a website then you already know the importance of traffic. Traffic is to Internet marketing as location is to real estate. It’s the only thing that really matters. If you cannot generate targeted visitors to your site, you will not make any sales.
Usually the owner or designer of the website is the person designated to drive traffic to the site. The chief ingredient in generating traffic is the search engine. Of coarse, you can use advertising, but it’s going to cost you. Using the search engines to generate targeted (interested in your product) traffic is the least expensive method known.
Unfortunately, many website owners do not understand the importance of search engine visibility, which leads to traffic. They place more importance on producing a “pretty” website. Not that this is bad, but it is really secondary to search engine placement. Hopefully, the following list of common mistakes, made by many website owners, will help you generate more targeted traffic to your site…after all, isn’t that what you want.
This is probably one of the most critical area of site design. Choose the right keywords and potential customers will find your site. Use the wrong ones and your site will see little, if any, traffic.
When you use the same keywords over and over again (called keyword stacking) the search engines may downgrade (or skip) the page or site.
How many times have you heard or read that “this is the Internet and it’s ok” to steal icons and text from websites to use on your site. Don’t do it. Its one thing to learn from others who have been there and another to outright copy their work. The search engines are very smart and usually detect page duplication. They may even prevent you from ever being listed by them.
Many unethical website owners try to gain search engine visibility by using keywords that have nothing at all to do with their website. They place unrelated keywords in a page (such as “sex”, the name of a known celebrity, the hot search topic of the day, etc.) inside a meta tag for a page. The keyword doesn’t have anything to do with the page topic. However, since the keyword is popular, they think this will boost their visibility. This technique is considered spam by the search engines and may cause the page (or sometimes the whole site) to be removed from the search engine listing.
Somewhat like keyword stacking listed above, this means to assign multiple keywords to the description of a graphic or layer that appears on your website by using the “alt=” HTML parameter. If the search engines find that this text does not really describe the graphic or layer it will be considered spam.
You might be inclined to think that if you cannot see it, it doesn’t hurt. Wrong…. Do not try to hide your keywords or keyword phrases by making them invisible. For example, some unethical designers my set the keywords to the same color as the background of the web page; thereby, making it invisible.
This is another version of the item above (relying on hidden text). Do not try to hide your keywords or keyword phrases by making them tiny. Setting the text size of the keywords so small that it can barely be seen does this.
Many people assume that each search engine plays by the same rules. This is not so. Each has their own rule base and is subject to change anytime they so desire. Make it a point to learn what each major search engine requires for high visibility.
Do not use free web hosting if you are really serious about increasing site traffic via search engine visibility. Many times the search engines will eliminate content from these free hosts.
10. Forgetting to check for missing web page elements.
Make sure to check every page in your website for completeness, like missing links, graphics, etc. There are sites on the web that will do this for free.
This is just a few of the methods and techniques that you should avoid. Do not give in to the temptation that these methods will work for you. They will do more harm than good for your website.
Not only will you spend weeks of wasted effort, you may have your site banned from the search engines forever. Invest a little time to learn the proper techniques for increasing search engine visibility and your net traffic will increase.
Brad Eden is a Entrepreneurial Sciences expert with 14 years of industry experience in real estate, marketing and technical communication. He currently consults with IBM in CA. Brad owns & operates a free traffic resource for entrepreneurs.