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Old 14th January 2006, 11:22 PM   #1
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Default Most Common Search Engine Un-Friendly Mistakes you see

Thought this might be an interesting post. I have put in a lot of hours as a link builder and time and time again i will see a fantastic site that with just a tiny bit of tweaking would give there site a big boost with bots , indexing , etc. Thought this would be a fun and useful site to start. I am talking about common problems that most small business sit owner with bit of knowledge could do themselves.
I have big list- but one that drives me crazy is the meta tags.
Title tags should have Keyword phrase in it- not just name of company or site. Often will see a site that has a title containing only the name of their business so would look like this:
<title>Whisper Woods</title>
which is fie if you are selling murmuring trees. but not if you are promoting scented soy candles.
<title>Scented Soy Candles Online-Whisper Woods</title>
<title>Scented Soy Candles- Natural Scented Candles- Vegetable Based Candles</title> also good. There are many important factors to a well optimized site- but Title is right up.
You description is not AS important- buy also key. Don;t make longer than approx. 80. Try and describe you site succinctly as possible- weaving in key word phrase as close to beginning of sentence as possible- don;t be spam my.
<meta name="description" content=" A full line of scented soy candles including vegetable based candles and premium scents from Whisper Woods online candle shop"/>

Also- it is important if you have a site with more than one page they you have unique meta data- don't have same title and meta data across your site. Try and pop in a keywords relating to each page in title/description-it will have alot of impact. I see this so many times- a site with 500 pages great content and the same title for each page... 3 pages indexed or nothing deeper than 1 level.
I m sure others will have other suggestions- will be interested to see!

( no such thing as Whisper Woods and I have no relationship with soy candles other than yet another craft that took over my garage last year ... but that's another post)


Last edited by Lisa-BFWM; 17th January 2006 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 16th January 2006, 08:24 AM   #2

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I agree completely. The Meta <keyword> tag is almost useless these days. Only one engine (that I'm aware of) still uses it, and it's a fairly obscure one anyway. However, if you've got them, I wouldn't bother taking them off, as it's not going to hurt you to have them anyway. But without doubt the <Title> and <Description> tags are hugely important. Whenever I do work for someone's site, they're generally the first things that I go into and tweak. People just don't realise how important they are.

What I'd add to what was said above is that if you work within a location, add that into your <Title> and <Description> tags too, as if people are looking for something in a certain area, it'll help bring you up, and increase your chances of grabbing their attention.

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Old 16th January 2006, 10:39 AM   #3

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Site where ppl use images (of text) instead of images, and don't put anything in the alt or title tags. Or they've put the name of the image in the tag - something like 'greenpiccie.jpg' Come on ppl! Search engines are basically blind to anything but text, your site may look fabulous (although I'm not entirely convinced by that either) but the search engine can't see it...

Easy enough to fix, shouldn't be happening in the first place.


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Old 16th January 2006, 12:49 PM   #4
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ooh- that's a good one Jax- maybe I'll change my #1 to that :-) ...
Pages made up of non-viewable text. ( I actually worked on site where this was the case- totally done in flash-there were 3 links, zero text... even the e-mail was done as graphic. The site was very expensive and looked great- but was horrible form SEO point of view.


Last edited by Lisa-BFWM; 16th January 2006 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 16th January 2006, 07:07 PM   #5
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My #1, as far as search engine unfriendliness goes, is flash intro pages with no text, no HTML links, nothing but flash. Stops the spiders dead in their tracks right at the front door and they never index anything. Flash menus with no alternative navigation are a close second.

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Old 17th January 2006, 05:48 AM   #6

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My second would be a close run thing between javascripted menu with no alternative navigation, and sites in frames. (Yes, they do still exist....)


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Old 17th January 2006, 11:20 AM   #7
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I agree with just about everything in this thread, except keywords. Yahoo do still seem to count them, and some people get most visitors from Yahoo. I also fret that google may suddenly start counting them again - they certainly enjoy keeping people on the hop ... see what i mean?

A related problem that designers invent is fancy looking sites that take 2 minutes for the home page to download - who is going to wait?

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Old 17th January 2006, 01:39 PM   #8

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Those are definitely common, but I disagree (see last paragraph) that they have a lot of impact on your rank.

Biggest mistakes I see that can be fixed off the bat..
1. A site has more than 1 domain and does not do 301 redirect to one domain
2. A site has text that makes no sense, text that is overloaded with keywords and has outgoing reciprocating links to spam sites/link farms

From my experience, title and description only help search engines know what your site is about. Chances are, they already have you for that keyword if it's somewhere within your copy. Title and description just doesn't help your rank for those words nearly as much as other strategies.


Last edited by Lightwaves; 17th January 2006 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 17th January 2006, 02:07 PM   #9
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As for title, from my experience it only helps search engines know what your site is about. Chances are, they already have you for that keyword if you have it a few times in your text. It doesn't help your rank for those words nearly as much as other strategies.
Ohh...I'll argue that. I've seen a title tag change alone make a HUGE difference. I'd argue that it's one of the absolute most important factors on your page for some engines. (Note that I said ON your page.)

Back to the great point made about ALT text...even beyond search engines, consider the issue of accessibility. There are actually people out there that are blind. And they do actually use accessible web browsers. that means that when they come to an image, they "hear" the ALT attribute to know what the image is. An ALT attribute stuffed with keywords or the image name or whatever does them no good.

Use the ALT attribute for what it's made for...to describe the image for folks that can't see it.

My own personal pet peeve? People that think SEM doesn't really work.

Yeah...that whole Internet thing is "just a fad" too...

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Old 17th January 2006, 10:39 PM   #10
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I think the most common thing I see with clients is the architecture of the clients website is not conducive for bot crawling and ranking. This could be many different things from java navigation to a home page and every other page residing in the root directory instead of theme-ing with categories-->products.

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