Many website and marketing managers think that SEO is a very hard struggle that requires very specialized knowledge and software to get started with. That is a myth though – There are many common SEO problems that can be corrected with only a little knowledge and work, and no fancy software or tools required. It doesn’t need to be so much difficulty if you take away a few powerful lessons on search engine optimization, such as these three common mistakes.
1. Trying To Optimize A Page For More Than One Keyword
Optimizing a page for more than keyword is a simple and common mistake to make. Once you have your list of keywords that you want to rank for, you may have started sprinkling them liberally all over your website. That’s the wrong way to go though – You end up in a world where all of your pages are competing with each other in the search engine’s eyes to be the most important page on your site for that keyword. Usually in that situation, none of them win and you still won’t rank. Search rankings aren’t just about a website doing well, it’s about a specific page ranking well for a keyword, and that page being a good destination for people interested in that keyword phrase.
For a simple exercise on this front, sit back and look at your page, and ask yourself honestly, “What keyword is this page good for? How good is it compared to other pages on that keyword?” Your keyword strategy will reveal itself from there. If there’s more than one keyword phrase revealed, you may be looking at two different pages that were mashed into one.
Remember: One page, one keyword phrase.
2. Sloppy Anchor Text Disguising Your Good Links
On the above aspect of keyword placement, there is another clear signal to search engines of what keyword a particular page should be ranking for. The
of the links pointing to a page is a critical factor in determining what keywords are important to that page. Make sure that the anchor text of the links pointing in to each page on your site matches the keyword that you’re optimizing for on that page.
Hint: If your link text on any of your links is “Click Here”, you’ve made a mistake. Take a look at who ranks for click here, and then adjust your links to your new philosophy of keyword consistency. You don’t want to compete with Adobe for “click here”, you’re about to be competing for valuable territory on the search engine results page.
3. Images Turning Your Website Into Goliath
Having very heavy, large images on a page is another frequent mistake in search optimization. Think about the last time you visited a slow website. Was it your website ? Did you have a page that took more than two seconds to fully load? Fast sites vs slow sites is the new David vs Goliath.
If so, you might be guilty of image bloat. Putting lots of sharp and snazzy images on a website is a great move to make you look good, but think about how large those images are and what they’ll do to folks on slower internet connections – especially mobile users. You can tell how big the images are on your site by right-clicking on them and selecting “Properties” in Internet Explorer, or by going to Page Info -> Media in Firefox. Chrome unfortunately does not make this easy to determine. If you have any single image on your page that is larger than 50 Kilobytes, (~50,000 bytes) or your total page has over 100 KB of images, evaluate how important those images are to your page. Are they adding flavor or are they crucial content to the page?
In general, images should be adding flavor and enriching content, and not being the content themselves. There are obviously exceptions, but it’s a good guideline for content pages to have them loading quickly and smoothly for all of your site visitors. We all hate slow websites, so don’t be guilty of that crime yourself. In addition to the human factor, search engines will respond better to sites that are faster by ranking them higher and indexing more of their pages.
If you keep these three basic tips in mind when on your website, you can distinguish yourself as a well-optimized site that is very usable for visitors and search engines alike.
Photo Credit: dfinnecy