[website-critique] Top Mistakes Made When Optimizing Web Pages

  • From: "DesignWorks" <tchapman@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <websitecritique@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2002 00:56:45 -0600

     Top Mistakes Made When Optimizing Web Pages   
      By Robin Nobles

      What are the top mistakes that folks make when optimizing their Web 
sites? What do some of the best SEOs in the business consider to be the top 
mistakes made in this industry?

      Last month, we looked at top tips, but this month, we're concentrating on 
top mistakes, with the goal of learning what not to do when working on our 

      Important facts about these mistakes

      These tips aren't listed in any particular order of importance. The first 
mistake in any category isn't necessarily the worst, and the last mistake 
certainly isn't the least. 

      Each mistake has been identified with the SEO who wrote it. Then, at the 
end of the article in alphabetical order, I highlighted the various SEOs who 
participated in this article, along with brief information about their 

      Now, let's see what some of the best SEOs consider as the top mistakes 
being made in the search engine industry.

      Cloaking and Stealth Technology

      Don't jump into cloaking before you know SEO and design. In some 
instances (which would be beyond the scope of this interview), cloaking is a 
logical and ethical choice for SEO. But until the search engines adopt this 
point of view, cloaking will always carry with it an inherent risk. 
Additionally, beside the additional cost associated with cloaking, the process 
of cloaking itself requires more of your time. And as we know, time equals 

      So before you jump into cloaking, make sure that you know that cloaking 
is right for your situation, and make sure that you also have the technical 
expertise to handle it.

      Cloaking is not a magic bullet. It simply serves an alternate page. If 
you can not rank highly without cloaking, the odds are that you can not rank 
highly with it.

        - J.K. Bowman with Spider Food (http://www.spider-food.net)


      One of the biggest mistakes I've seen is Web site copy that's written 
with *just* the search engines in mind -and a strong marketing message is 
nowhere to be found.

      Savvy search engine optimization writing satisfies two very demanding 
masters - the search engines and your prospects. If you write your copy 
*exclusively* for the search engines, and your text reads like a laundry list 
of keyphrases, you'll lose your customers the moment they hit your site. Why 
spend thousands of dollars in money (or time) for great rankings, when your 
site doesn't convert buyers into sellers?

      Yes, it's crucial to create keyphrase-rich copy for the search engines. 
But, don't forget that your copy should blast your benefits, build rapport, and 
immediately tell your prospects, "what's in it for them." This winning 
combination of spider happy and prospect-friendly text will help you get the 
high rankings you want - and convert that targeted traffic into paying clients!

        - Heather Lloyd-Martin with The Rank Write Roundtable

      Creating Web pages that are void of artistic quality or meaningful 
content is a mistake.

      This is seen most frequently with machine-generated doorway pages. The 
problem with these pages is that while some of them may rank very well, they 
are often so visually unappealing or so lacking in content that when a surfer 
reaches one of these pages, they simply use the back button on their browser to 
return to the search engine results. 

      To be successful in search engine optimization, you must not only be able 
to achieve high ranking for your clients, but you must also be able to develop 
Web pages that will retain a viewer's interest when they reach the site.

        - J.K. Bowman with Spider Food (http://www.spider-food.net)

      In all of our efforts to write well for the robots, we must remember to 
also write well for the human brain. Remember that the human brain likes the 
appropriate use of colour. The human brain likes text broken down into 
manageable chunks or clusters that are easy to read and absorb. Write your copy 
using all of the important SEO principles but be sure to strike a balance. With 
practice, you can build pages that are content rich and compelling to read. You 
can create projects that are pleasing to look at and still score exceptionally 

        - John Alexander with Beyond-SEO.com (http://www.beyond-seo.com/)

      Conversion to Sales

      Remember to try and look beyond SEO. I learned early that it is not 
enough to simply have massive traffic coming to your clients' pages. You must 
also deliver value to your visitor and compel them to take action. Although 
this has more to do with getting action from your visitors than 
traffic-building itself, I think it is still an important issue or error that 
is far too easily overlooked. My client's business does not really begin online 
until a visitor responds to their online experience. Building traffic is 
wonderful, but don't forget to make the most of the traffic you already have by 
giving visitors a "non-threatening reason to act now."

      Converting visitors to customers may not be on the agenda as an SEO 
(we're always so busy thinking traffic), but once you start examining methods 
to convert your client's visitors to customers, you'll start to deliver 
additional value to your clients and you'll find a full consultancy approach 
does not go unrewarded.

        - John Alexander with Beyond-SEO.com (http://www.beyond-seo.com/)

      Doorway Pages

      Believing doorways don't work or will get you banned is a mistake.

      The fact is that every page on your Web site that ranks well for any 
reason is acting as a "doorway" to your Web site. Many people mistakenly 
believe that everyone will arrive at their site through the home page. Do a 
focused search on Google, AltaVista, or another major engine, and you'll almost 
always find matches that are not home pages.

      In addition, each search engine ranks pages differently. Therefore, you 
may have a page about Product X with 400 words on it. That page may rank well 
for "search engine A" that likes to see 400 words on a top ranking page, but it 
isn't going to do well for "search engine B" that is looking for 800 words on a 
top ranking page. 

      Lastly, some of the same search engines that condemn the term doorway 
page include tutorials or FAQs on how to create a page to rank well in their 
index. True, these tutorials are often too non-specific to be of great help. 
However, it confirms that optimizing each of your pages to rank better is not 
something the engines inherently object to.

        - Brent Winters with FirstPlace Software (http://www.webposition.com)

      Do not allow pages that you are in any way paying for to be on anything 
other than your own URL. If you do not own them then the traffic is only being 
rented and can be taken away very quickly. Technology is not a valid reason to 
have pages remotely hosted, the motivation is control.

        - Bruce Clay with BruceClay.com (http://www.bruceclay.com)


      Don't go after generic keywords. Generic words are not how the average 
person really queries a search engine. I have found a user will type in a 
generic or single word like "animals," then realize what they asked for was too 
broad in scope. They have to narrow it down, like "animal pictures," "baby 
animal pictures," and the list goes on. If you can just focus on very specific 
key phrases, you will have more success in the long term, hold a position 
longer, have less competition for focused phrases, and find that users will 
stay on the site longer because your site answered their questions.

        - Ginette Degner with ServiceBrokers.com (http://www.servicebrokers.com)

      Don't optimize for the wrong search phrases. At least optimize for 
phrases that you know people are using to find your site, even if they aren't 
the most popular ones.

        - Bill Gentry with The Selling Source (http://www.sellingsource.com)

      Failing to "identify" and "theme-base" your most promising keyword 
phrase(s) is a mistake.

      All keyword phrases are not the same. Perhaps the best way I can explain 
this is to use a hypothetical example. Let's say that you are an attorney who 
practices only appellate law. As you build your Web site and establish its 
"theme," how will you define the Web site's identity? 

      Here are just two keyword phrase possibilities that you might consider 
for a lawyer who only handles appeals: 

      appeals lawyer

      appellate attorney

      Both of these phrases are right on target, and you would naturally have 
pages optimized for both combinations. But when deciding your Web site's theme, 
which one do you focus in on? 

      The phrase "appeals lawyer" is about 7 times more popular than "appellate 
attorney." But if you failed to do your research in advance before building the 
site, you probably would not know that. 

      Use a good service like WordTracker or the Overture's Suggestion Tool to 
find out what will produce the most traffic for you.

        - J.K. Bowman with Spider Food (http://www.spider-food.net)

      Robin Nobles is Director of Training for the Academy of Web Specialists. 
Robin has taught well over a thousand students in her online and onsite search 
engine positioning courses during the past several years. Her latest book Web 
Site Analysis and Reporting, as well as her past book, Streetwise Maximize Web 
Site Traffic, can be ordered through Amazon. Visit the Academy's site to learn 
more about their search engine ranking courses and products.

Free Domain To List Members: http://szaroconsulting.com/freedomain.htm

List Info: http://www.freelists.org/cgi-bin/webpage?webpage_id=websitecritique 

Other related posts:

  • » [website-critique] Top Mistakes Made When Optimizing Web Pages