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3 Common SEO Mistakes That Are Easy To Avoid

Aug 17, 2007
Many web designers fall into the trap of designing a fancy website that looks great but includes elements that will cripple its search engine rankings. It is a huge waste of time, effort, and sometimes money to create a beautiful looking site that does not attract any visitors. What good is all that beauty if no one can find it? Here are some common design elements that should be avoided whenever possible.

Image Links

Using images instead of text links for your site's navigation menu can confuse search engine bots and may make your site difficult for them to spider completely. If you must use graphic elements for links, be sure to also include a set of text links for the spiders to follow. Many sites do this in their footer, either above or below the copyright information.

Frames

If you use frames to display your site, you run the risk that the search engine's spider will not pick up all of your content. Most bots will only spider the first HTML file they encounter, ignoring your other frames. If you use frames and notice that only a fraction of your pages make it into the search engine's index, the frames could be the problem. Also, many users are turned off by the sight of multiple frames and will not stick around your site long enough to purchase your product or click an advertisement.

Splash Intro Pages

Splash introduction or entry pages, often using flash animation, are another SEO pitfall for many new webmasters. While the graphics and animation may look impressive to human visitors, they lack any useful content for the search engine spiders. Usually, the only text on the page will be a "skip intro" link, which won't do much for your site's ranking. Making this even worse is the fact that the splash page comes before your index page, which is the most important page to a search engine bot. Many times, splash pages also include an automatic redirect if the introduction is not skipped. Search engines usually do not index redirects and there is always the possibility that a new algorithm will penalize sites for this.

In order to get high rankings in the search engines, first they have to find your site, then they have to be able to read enough of your content to rank the site. Eliminating style elements that confuse or restrict the spiders will help make your website more accessible and easier to index. If you must use things like image links, make sure to also have an alternate set of text links somewhere on the page for the spiders to follow. More dramatic elements like frames and splash pages should be avoided altogether if you want to get the best possible search engine ranking for your site.
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