It is no wonder many small business owners, as well as expert web designers, become frustrated trying to stay one step ahead of the search engines. It sometimes seems no matter how much time you invest in researching “best practices” and using all the acclaimed strategies, you fail to get the ROI you expect.
There are conflicting views on the merits of using search engine optimization. Many experts say it is vital to your success to learn everything you can about it and apply that knowledge consistently. If you don’t have the time, they recommend you hire someone to do it for you. Others tell you not to worry about it. It is a waste of your time and money. Your site will be crawled regardless; therefore, it’s more important to direct your energy towards satisfying your customer’s needs. Both viewpoints have merit.
Search engine optimization is the art of applying knowledge of how search engines rank web pages–what they look for and what elements can cost you points. You want your site crawled quickly and ranked high for your primary keywords. For that reason, SEO is very important. However, it becomes less effective when you focus too much on optimization techniques and fail to give the quality content your customers seek.
Some SEO practices are based on misconceptions held over from practices that were successful in the early years of search engine optimization. If you continue to use these practices, you risk diminishing the value of your search engine optimization. Make sure your practices do not include the following “not-so-best practices.”
Including keywords in meta tags but not in content. Using keywords in meta tags is good practice, but you can’t stop there. If you want your pages to have relevance when crawled by search engines, you must include your keywords on your pages not only in meta tags and coding, but in your content as well.
Including keywords on your pages using invisible keywords. Invisible keywords are unseen by the viewer because they blend with the background. However, search engines see the hidden words and consider them as relevant keywords. If you want to maximize the impact of your keywords, use your keyword phrases as visible anchor texts. Use the anchor texts to link to other pages thereby promoting your entire site’s relevance. As a word of caution, hidden texts are a borderline SEO strategy and could be counter productive to increasing page ranking.
Focusing too much on website design. You can’t rely on website design alone to achieve your desired results. Make no mistake, it is important to have valuable content with relevant keywords placed strategically. But, it is not the only way to increase page rankings and you have to do more than that. Search engines are increasingly giving more weight to link popularity. In addition to having an extremely well-designed website with appropriate keyword density, a site must also attract incoming links from other reputable sites related to your niche.
Measuring Success based on short-term results. A common and false conception is once you implement search engine optimization strategies, you will see huge and immediate results in your ranking. This is a misconception and one of the reasons so many web designers feel frustrated and feel SEO is not worth the time and effort it requires. SEO takes time to attract traffic, establish links and increase page rankings. And, it is important to continually tweak your site to take advantage of changing keyword popularity and search engine algorithm changes.
As you can see, SEO is important to achieving website success. Just don’t fall short in implementing the necessary strategies. Use keywords appropriately, build a well designed website and followup with other important strategies to increase linkage and popularity, and give your site time to develop ranking.