Usually our laws aren't just written for fun (though sometimes for profit). So don't do the crime unless you are willing to do the time. Don't be like the troublemakers who inspired these silly laws:
In New Jersey, it is illegal to delay or detain a homing pigeon.
Pigeons have curfews too, you know.
In South Carolina, fortune tellers are required to obtain a special permit from the state.
But... They already knew that.
From the State of Louisana, RS 4:75 75. Sham or fake contests or exhibitions:
Whoever conducts or is a party to any sham or fake boxing contest or wrestling exhibition shall forfeit his license and shall not thereafter be entitled to receive any license pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
Wait, you mean wrestling might not be real?
In Destin, Florida It is illegal for an owner of a store to allow another person to pass out free ducklings in front of the store.
Who would think of doing such a horrible thing? Passing out free ducklings, indeed!
The online marketplace is no exception to the principle that mistakes beget laws or at least responses from the rule makers. In our case, that's Google and other search engines. Don't make the mistakes others have made. Live and learn from former mistakes-turned-policies like these:
1. Stop Purchasing Links as a Shortcut to Fame
Once everyone figured out that Google included backlinks as a factor in their page ranking algorithm, everyone wanted them. Backlinks, also known as incoming links or inlinks, are links on other websites that point back to one of your web pages. The problem is that good back links are like good friends - once you try to buy them, they aren't really friends anymore. One of the ways Google knows about your lame attempt at popularity is by comparing the ages of any back links. Same as if you were to assemble your own entourage overnight, a flurry of new back links appearing in in a very short time period smells fishy. You can still buy links if you think you must, but there should be the requisite time and effort involved in spreading them out on the calendar, and varying the anchor text.
"The best way to get other sites to create high-quality, relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can naturally gain popularity in the Internet community. Creating good content pays off: Links are usually editorial votes given by choice, and the more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it."
2. Don't Duplicate Content
A few good keywords + a lot of original content about those keywords = awesome page rank, right? Why not post ten of the same blog rather than just one? Not so fast. Once again, Google has ways of knowing that you are duplicating content even when you are re-wording it or mixing it up. If you stay with a short list of keywords and generate supporting content, sooner or later you are going to verbally traverse the same territory. Let's say your specialty is hubcaps. How much can you say about hubcaps in a daily blog without getting repetitive? You risk a search engine penalty if there's too much overlap. Better to post fewer blogs, optimize the heck out of each one, and let the nature of online search take its course.
3. Avoid Sloppy Title Tags
A Title Tag shows up as the large blue heading on the Search Engine Returns Page (SERP), followed by what's called a "meta description." Like this:
Pay attention to this phrase. It's the very first thing people see when they see you on the SERP. Best practices:
- Keep it short and pithy. Make it less that the 70 Characters allowed
- Try to place your keyword near the beginning
- Use pipes | as punctuation if you need to separate anything. No other punctuation
4. You Shouldn't Prioritize Style Over Substance
Now don't get all fussy about good design vs bad. Your blog template should look nice, but the SEO robots who "read" it don't really appreciate your carefully shaded gradients or awesome GIFs or animated logos. It also slows loading times as well as the bots who are trying to judge your content.
If you do add a graphic or two (nothing wrong with that, in fact that makes it a better reader experience!), make sure the meta tags supporting it contain your keyword and topic. For example, if your content manager e.g., Wordpress, Joomla or Drupal inserts your picture using the name of the graphic file in what's called the ALT tag or simply "image description," replace it with a phrase like "Hubcap City- How to polish chrome."
5. Remember: You Get What You Pay For, Especially When it's $0
Free hosting services on sites like blogger or Typepad can be a great start, but eventually you should outgrow their capabilities. You'll find that the apps, plugins, security, and especially the seeing your own unique domain name can mean way better SEO. We recommend Your Domain Pick for Web Hosting.
6. Quit Stuffing it
In the beginning, when it was all about keywords, the name of the game was to fit as many different keywords on your blog page as possible. You've seen the old pages that looked like this:
Can you believe that some unscrupulous people (called "black hats") used to cram web pages with keywords formatted in a white font on a white background? The page visitor couldn't see the huge paragraph of repetitive key phrases, but the search engines could. No one does this anymore because Google and others saw through this subterfuge easily and will now assign guilty web pages to a permanent rank of 158,453 on search return page 19,806.
Make your blog posts from 500-600 words. Less than that is seen as too thin, and more than 600 is overkill, although better to be too long than too short. This goes for individual web pages on your site as well. Put the really good stuff up top and if an interested visitor wants to keep reading, add more details, links, calls-to-action and so on below the fold.
There are a lot of other SEO mistakes we make like out-of-date site maps, broken links, or just plain not taking SEO seriously. As Google gets smarter about content, once you get the keyword and metadata steps down, it all comes down to quality. Misspellings, lack of focus, grammatical errors, and yes, even factual inaccuracies can be detected by search engines, compared to thousands of other similar websites and blogs, and given a search return ranking.
United WebWorks of Savannah GA knows Search Engine Optimization. We've been doing it for a long time, long enough to see the trends and rapid changes taking place in the online marketing world. Contact us today to see what we can do for you!