10 Mistakes That SEO Experts Make

What?  Is it possible that even experienced SEO experts can make a mistake?  While it is not often that expert SEO specialists make mistakes, it does happen.  Here are 10 mistakes that are hard to catch—but they do result in lost traffic and bad SEO campaigns.

1. Failing to redirect users to a similar address

Canonicalization issues can cause connection problems.  For example, http://www.domain.com and http://domain.com do not always have the exact same address.

2. Splitting links

All internal and external links should go to the http://www.domain.com address rather than a default or index page.

3. Creating a couple of pages with too many keyword phrases

Too many webmasters and SEO experts try to optimize a few pages by stuffing too many keywords into one article.  When this happens, it compromises the quality of the article.  Instead, try to create a series of individual pages with one keyword each.

4. Failing to network with peers

Rather than remaining ultra-competitive, try to cater to influential bloggers and other sites that can help you.  You have plenty of products to offer—your links, your images, your articles and videos.  The more links you receive, the better it is for everyone.

5. Failing to optimize RSS feed text

Failing to optimize the text in an RSS feed, just the same as you would with individuals posts and pages.

6. Does not work with images

Rather than mindlessly posting images all over the site, write ALT image attributes text, as well as captions.  This is an area of SEO marketing that is often ignored.  In addition, pay attention to the context surrounding your images, as search engine editors often scrutinize these paragraphs.

7. Does not check server headers

Webmasters and SEO consultants should be careful to check server headers to ensure that their URLs report a “200 OK” status.  A “301 Moved Permanently” status is also acceptable.  Anything else could result in display problems.

8. Adds Flash, Ajax or frames content to the site without any thought to conflicts

These tools make it difficult for one to link to a single page.  Frames are highly discouraged by the community, and even Flash and Ajax users are cautioned to use these tools infrequently.

9. Failing to make the page come alive with videos

Do not be content with YouTube clips.  Check out other video sharing sights like AOL, MetaCafe and MSN.

10. Misestimating domain issues

It’s recommended that you buy up all similar domains to your company’s primary name in order to protect yourself from plagiarism.  In addition, choose a domain name that ties in well with your product and company objectives.

Helping Web Designers Keep Their Readers

It is an age old question for designers (and really, any business proprietors). How do you get repeat customers? How do you get them wanting more? With website design, what are some ways to keep your readers coming back and finding their experience enjoyable and satisfying time and time again? Here are some of the easiest things to consider when trying to keep them coming back and wanting more.

Neglecting Navigation

When visiting a website, a reader must be able to easily and efficiently find the information they are looking for. They have so many other choices on the Internet, so you want them to choose you! One of the simplest ways to allow a reader to navigate your site is by providing clear categories and links to your other pages. Often, websites do not clearly list the other pages of the site, or there are too many broken links. Taking the time to highlight or otherwise make them noticeable will ensure a pleasurable experience for the readers that come to your page.

Sluggish Load Speed

Even after designing your page, it is wise to constantly monitor the website’s page load time. As you further develop a site, you will likely be adding information, such as images, and updating all manner of other things. This will bog down your website and frustrate your readers.

If the information the reader is looking for is taking too much time to appear they may just move on. Be wary of bulky images that you upload to the page as well. If you absolutely must add them, provide a thumbnail and a link to an offsite host. This will prevent sluggish page load times and improve the reading experience for your visitors.

Be Flashy

Using Flash on your website is very tempting. It is visually pleasing, and can make your site look professional and polished. However, when taking into account web traffic, you want to maximize your hits as much as possible. Unfortunately, search engines have no way to read Flash because it contains little free text and no linked images.

Search engines are trying to do improve this, but for now if you want traffic to your website use Flash sparingly or steer clear of it altogether. Try some handy PHP coded elements instead, with dedicated links to imagery found on the web. This can help keep the site looking slick, while still allowing it to generate search engine web traffic.

How to Make Website Templates Work for You

There is been a rapid shift over the course of the past few years, away from dedicated website designers that custom design websites for clients, and more toward a stock business where website designers create their websites ahead of time as templates, and then sell user licenses for clients that wish to purchase them. This license entitles the buyer to download and implement the website and set it up immediately. This offers several advantages to custom designed websites.

Immediate Download and Delivery

The best benefit to purchasing and utilizing a stock website template is that, as soon as you pay the license fee through an e-check or a credit card, the entire website is available to you for instant download. This package will include all of the image files, all of the coded language files, all of the CSS, and a README file with installation and set up instructions. Nothing could be easier.

The Buyer Has Already, Sort Of, Approved the Design

With purchasing a stock, ready to install website template, you will have seen it before you pay one nickel for it. This is a huge improvement to the old system, where you had a general idea in your head for how it should look, but you would not see it actualized until many working hours later, after the website designer completed a proof for your approval. Most often, it would end up entirely different from what you had wanted. With stock website templates, you know exactly what you are getting ahead of time.

IT Personnel Can Customize Template If Designer Will Not

Chances are that, especially in this tough economy, the website designer you purchase a stock template from will be more than willing to perform basic customization for your specific needs for a nominal fee in addition to the purchase price. If not, any Internet Technology intern can administer basic changes to the coding of the template to serve the specific needs of your company for a fraction of the price of a website designer.

Huge Cost Savings

Another huge benefit to purchasing a stock website template is that they are far cheaper than paying a website designer to custom build one for you over the course of many man-hours of intensive labour. Stock templates can be had for one-tenth the price of a custom-made website.

Avoiding Homepage Errors

If you are new to the world of web design and are making some of your first website homepages, it might be easy to fall into some familiar traps.  These mistakes are often made by newbies in the design world.  Here is a list of the top homepage mistakes and how you can avoid them.

1. What is it you do again?

The biggest mistake often seen on a website’s homepage is the lack of an introduction to your company and what it does.  Not telling your customers what it is you do and what you can do for them will lead them to frustration.  Whenever anyone clicks onto your homepage, they are searching for something specific, be it a product or information.  You must be quick in providing what they are looking for.  This intro to your company does not need to be long-winded.  Simply stating what your company is, what it does, and what it can do for your clients is usually enough.

2. All this moving text is making me dizzy!

Face it: animated icons and loud sounds were popular in the early days of the web.  Nowadays, they are sure signs of a web designer newbie.  Flashing text can make a reader dizzy or uncomfortable, and scrolling text can leave your web audience missing key pieces of what you have to say.  Random things floating around the screen, while you might think they are charming, are mostly just distracting to someone trying to read the text on the page.  Another disadvantage of an icon heavy homepage is slow loading times for those without a speedy connection.  You do not want to lose customers because it took too long to load your opening page!

3. What is this, a construction site?

You do not want to have your audience finding themselves on an empty page.  Nothing is worse for a surfer then to fall into a pit of despair that is a website with “under construction” graphics all over it, or simply blank pages.  Most visitors will simply think you were not prepared for them and, thus, ill equipped to help them.  Web designers with some experience know that “coming soon” signs on websites do not do anyone any favours.  Try to wait until the website is completed before releasing it out into the world.

These simple homepage errors can be avoided now that you have read about other designer’s mistakes and the pitfalls to watch out for.  Your website homepage is sure to be better now that you know how to keep your web surfing audience happy.

4 Simple Ways to Increase Traffic and Sales

If you are a growing website, then you need all of the help you can get.  Once you are growing at a steady pace, you can only go two directions: way up or way back down.  Do not be afraid to try new things, listen to unsolicited advice, and most importantly, communicate with your audience.  Here are four avenues of web marketing that will increase your traffic and sales.

1. Add more video content

You do not have to stray too far from your successful formula when entering the video podcast market.  However, treat your audience with respect.  Play up to your audience so that they always look forward to something new, educational and interesting from your website.  Naturally, any video presentation must mirror the same themes of your successful text content.

2. Add more viral content to the site

Viral content includes shared videos, product reviews, sharing features (as in Tweet this or Digg this), ratings and publishing comments.  In general, the more you involve the community, the more popular your website becomes.  The more popular your website becomes, the more obligation you give yourself to provide new features and new content.  Include podcasts, news boards, and anything outside the box that comes to mind.  Think of your website as a newspaper.  Have you ever read a repeat newspaper?

3. Get involved with social media marketing

Sure, sure—social media websites are the latest trend, fad and waste of time out there.  Be that as it may, you are crazy if you are going to ignore all of this good publicity.  Every company that matters has their own Facebook, MySpace and Twitter page right now.  Why, even CEOs of major companies are now blogging or tweeting, so they can present a much-needed human factor to their company names.  (Yes, believe it or not CEOs are human, contrary to what you have heard.)  At the very least, you will be interacting with a handful of new prospective clients.  What is the harm in that?

4. Invest in SEO marketing

SEO marketing in this context involves both search engine optimization and article marketing.  SEO for your website will build a foundation for a successful marketing campaign.  Article marketing will help you increase in popularity thanks to back linking.  Both ventures involve the same thing: writing high quality keyword articles.

The most effective way to advertise is web marketing.  Use these four tips to boost traffic and sell your services!

4 SEO Tips for the Beginner

Have you just completed a website project?  Are you now looking for help with search engine optimization?  SEO is indeed an avenue worth pursuing, as it can bring high traffic and high sales when done effectively.  How are you to understand SEO?  You may already know the basics of the concept: inserting targeted keywords into your web content with hopes of drawing new viewers.  What else must a beginner know?

1. You must regularly upload SEO-rich writing

In understanding popular search engines, it is important to remember consistency.  You must regularly feed the search engines with SEO-rich content, on a monthly, weekly or perhaps even a daily basis (depending on your industry).  Many webmasters make the mistake of writing two or three articles with keywords scattered throughout.  Such a minimal investment will not make much of a dent in the system.

2. You must be proactive in submitting your site and your articles around the net

Some webmasters make the mistake of writing a series of articles but not really marketing them elsewhere.  While inserting targeted keywords throughout various pages is good practice, this alone may not elevate your company to the top 10.  While focusing on SEO for your website, you must also pay attention to article marketing.  Be sure to submit your site to as many search engines as possible.  Be proactive in marketing your SEO-rich website.

3. Insert meta tags for effective optimization

Writing interesting, SEO-rich content may be a waste of time if you do not format the meta tags correctly.  You must optimize meta tags in each individual webpage for the best results.  You should also verify that any CMS software you are working with also has optimized pages that will be noticed in keyword searches.

4. Focus on quality writing and keyword use

Content may be “king”, but without an audience, your content will be worthless.  Be sure that you are writing quality content (enthusiastic, informative, and specific) and that it relates to the keyword search.  The content should be unique and written by a professional-quality writer.  Remember that some search engines do have human editors and they will discriminate against articles that were written solely for search engines and not for human eyes.  It’s not just keywords that sell products—it’s quality writing.

These are the basics of search engine optimization.  While there are many other technical issues to consider, these four rules must be followed if you are ever to make a successful online campaign.

3 Web Design Mistakes You Might Be Making

Are you trying to figure out why web traffic is coming in but not sticking around to look through your website?  A website is your company’s greeting to web surfers.  You want your greeting to be a high five or a warm handshake, not a slap in the face.  Your website design may be rubbing people the wrong way, which may have them quickly hitting that “back” button!

1. Burying users in new windows and pop ups

Nothing annoys web surfers more than a website that bombards them with a barrage of new windows opening up.  The basic theory behind this practice is this: when a user clicks a link on your site it will open in a new window so that if they decide to close that window, they will still be on your original site.  One of the problematic issues here is that some computers are slow and have problems with slowing and stalling when multiple windows are open.  Most users will quickly close a pop up assuming it is spam and not even see the information you provided.  Many may feel pop ups are a downright hostile move (aka that slap in the face we were talking about).  All of your hard work on your website will be wasted when they click the back button before giving your precious content a chance.

2. Making information available only in PDF format

When users are zipping along the information super highway, a PDF file can be likened to a red light.  No one is a fan of long load times or awkward scrolling and microscopic fonts.  While a PDF file is great if you are printing the file out to paper, it is usually not the right size for a computer screen.  A large mass of data is hard to navigate, especially when a surfer’s normal browser buttons are disabled.  A PDF is sometimes enough for a person to put on their brakes and put their search in reverse.

3. Installing a useless search box

You may have a great website with all the information a person could want on a certain topic, but if it is hard to navigate, then a good website search box is important.  If your search box is so strict that it does not allow for typos or variants of a word, then users will probably become quickly frustrated and may seek the information on a more user-friendly website.  A very good search box, hidden from a user’s plain sight will do no good either.  A simple box at the top or bottom of a page is what most users will be looking for.