Search Engine Optimization Penalties: Ignorance Is No Excuse

Search Engine Optimization Penalties: Ignorance Is No Excuse

High site rankings on the major search engines are the end-all and be-all of web site owners. Increasing your site rank is why you attend seminars, participate in online forums, and meet with other website owners and designers. You walk away with a lot of new ideas, many of which you use to “improve” your site – only to realize, to your horror, that your page ranks have actually declined rather than increased.

Before you blame other people, consider this – why have your pages been penalized? Did you overlook something in making your changes? Maybe there are some SEO rules that you were not aware of. There is a saying that “ignorance of the law is no excuse for violating it.” In the same way, ignorance of some basic “rules of thumb” in search engine optimization is not an excuse for losing page rank. Here are five of the most commonly overlooked ‘rules’ in search engine optimization:

— Enough Text Content —

Many owners design – or redesign – their websites to be sleek and stylish, with eye-catching layouts and heavy graphics. What you may not realize is that you are reducing the amount of text and visible links you have – leaving nothing for the search engines to index. As a rule of thumb, a web page should have at least 200 to 300 words with keywords scattered within them. Navigation should also be accomplished with text links using well-focused target keywords.

— Keywords as Navigation Links —

Most websites use the generic “Click Here” as icons for website navigation. This is a wasted SEO opportunity. Avoid this waste by replacing your generic hyperlinks with keywords. For example, use “Panama Photos” if you want visitors to look at the pictures you took during your summer vacation. Your visitors will appreciate your thoughtfulness – and the search engine bots will have something to use when indexing your site.

— Redesign Welcome Page —

Rather than the typical “Welcome to our Site” page, give each page on your website a meaningful keyword-rich title. Also, pay attention to the meta description and meta keywords. A unique set of keywords and a distinctive page description will separate you from others of the same genre and content. Search result pages will also use the meta description word for word – which will, again, easily catch the attention of potential visitors.

— Changing Web Page and Directory Names —

Bear in mind that changing web pages and directory names may lose you your link popularity statistics or Google Page Rankings – search engines will index your changed web page and directory name as a new one and dump everything associated with your previous website. The best approach is to retain your URL page and write new content for it. If you have no option but remove or rename the web page, redirect the old one to your new URL.

— Link Popularity Issues —

If you own a number of domains, there will be a strong temptation to link your websites together, without regard to content and keyword focus. One problem with this approach is that you most likely house all your websites on the same server – search engines will group your web sites into the same C IP class which will start their spam radars pinging.

Another tactic is linking websites with a diverse keyword focus; the downside to this is that you may lose any linking gains through unrelated keywords. At the same time, getting unusually high numbers of inbound links with exactly the same keywords can also spell trouble. If you make use of link exchanges, paid links or other sources, watch out for those with unusually high keyword repetitions in the anchor text so as to avoid the spam detectors.

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Search Engine Optimization Penalties: Ignorance Is No Excuse