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Search Engine Optimization: The Top 3 Mistakes Website Owners Make

Sep 12, 2008
It's estimated that about 50% of most any website's traffic can be attributed to links from a search engine results page (SERP). In other words, half of a website's traffic comes not from people who are deliberately searching for that site.

Instead, it results from a keyword query of a search engine. Knowing this, many web-business owners try to boost their rankings by creating websites that will catch the attention of search engine robots. Yet try as they may, sometimes what seems like a good plan for search engine optimization doesn't achieve the desired result.

This is often because web owners and designers make one or more of three common mistakes:

1. Too little text. Search engines are partial to written text. 'Robots' scan the Internet and pull out and evaluate blocks of text. If a webpage contains too few words, or if words are broken up and scattered about the page, they may get overlooked. Therefore, they will not be indexed.

If, for example, a particular website sells t-shirts, it may have several pages of thumbnail pictures of t-shirts, with short captions or descriptions. Even though it may be very apparent that the subject of the website is "t-shirts," robots cannot index a site based on pictures. Even though the pictures may be accompanied by descriptions, there are probably too few words to catch the attention of search engine robots.

Solution: Make sure every single web page contains a short, continuous block of text, preferably at the top of the page. It should describe what the page is about. Make sure there is a link somewhere on the page pointing back to the home page.

2. Too few key words. Obviously you are looking to attract web surfers who are in the market for your particular product or service. This is why choosing keyword based on a target market is so important. If your business is installing backyard ponds, then 'backyard ponds' would be a natural choice of keywords.

But if they do not appear in your text frequently enough, your page will not get a very high ranking for the words 'backyard ponds.' Where you place those keywords is also significant. For example, robots assign more 'weight' to words which appear in your title (or header tag) or within the first paragraph of text. They assume that words which are placed here strongly indicate the subject of the text.

Solution: Make sure your title and your first paragraph contain your keywords. Those words should also make up about 1.5% to 5% of your entire text.

3. Too many keywords. Expert opinion is divided on how much keyword density a block of text should have. However, it's generally agreed that more than 5% is too much. Sometimes web owners make the mistake of trying to insert too many of them into text. Search engine robots may simply overlook text that appears 'stuffed' and won't index it at all.

Solution: Stick within the 1.5% to 5% formula. Try different ratios within this frame until you hit on the one that gives you the ranking that you're looking for.

It may take practice getting the right balance of keywords to text. Remember, it may take anywhere from several hours to a few weeks for a web page to get scanned. Don't panic if your page doesn't get indexed right away. After posting your text, check back once a day for 2-3 weeks by doing a keyword query with your search terms.

If your site isn't showing up on the first page of the search results in that time, you may need to go back to the drawing board. Or, if it isn't ranking as high as you would like, try tweaking your text a bit by adding and moving keywords. See what the top three ranking sites under your keyword query have done to place them in those spots. See if you can identify what they're doing differently. Then aim to do the same. Soon you may find your site ranking in the top three.
About the Author
Author Mike Lawson manages the Custom Writing Service for an online writing and editing company. His team works with hundreds of authors on their article marketing campaigns. Looking for custom article writers? Find yours at Marketing Squad.
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