SEO Corner: SEO Do's & Dont's

Effective SEO does not happen overnight - it's a long, arduous task that often takes months, even years before reaping the rewards for your overall SEM campaign. Implementing the correct strategy from the very beginning is crucial for overall SEO success. In order to help you get off on the right foot, I have listed 10 critical errors many website owners make and how to correct or avoid them.

10 critical mistakes when optimizing a website and how to correct them

1. Don't assume you will be able to optimize your site entirely on your own or believe you can just hire an SEO company down the road. Do an analysis of your business and its major keywords. Are you going to be able to rank for highly competitive keywords on your own? Should you hire an SEO company? This decision needs to be made early in the process, not later.

2. Don't begin your website design and development without considering an SEO plan. Docomplete a keyword analysis first and determine what kind of keyword-rich content you will need to develop in order to rank highly. Make sure your graphic designers know which keywords are going to be targeted on each of the pages they will design - it makes it easier for them to match the overall theme of the content and keywords to the site's design, broadening the SEO impact.

3. Don't forget about your secondary pages. In many cases, these pages can rank just as well as your main index.html page. Do spend ample time developing these pages.  <title> tag on your secondary pages' <title> tags. Do spend time developing separate keyword-rich <title> tags that match the content to the keywords you are targeting on your secondary pages.

4. Don't repeat the keywords you have on your index.html.  Most likely, you are already ranking well for your own company or domain name. Do place your company or domain name at the end of the <title> tag if you absolutely need it to appear in the headline within the search engine results pages (SERPs).

5. Don't list your company or domain name first in the <title> Tag. List your keyword first Brand/Domain Name last.

6. Don't target general, highly competitive keywords. Do target keyword derivatives that get traffic and are not as competitive. It's better to rank #3 for "blue soft widgets" than #30 for "widgets" even if the main keywords get more traffic. In the end, landing in the top 10 or top 5, even for less competitive keywords will generate more traffic overall.

7. Don't forget about a sitemap and making your website search engine friendly and crawlable. Do submit your website to Google Webmaster Tools and Yahoo Site Explorer and take advantage of their resources.

8. Don't make the mistake of driving all your incoming links to your main index.html page. Do create a balanced link program that not only generates incoming links to your main index.html pages but also to your secondary pages. If you have useful content or tools on your secondary pages, websites will link to them.

9. Don't request the same anchor text on all of your incoming links, as this looks very unnatural to the search engines. Do offer anyone who wants to link back to you with a variety of anchor texts. And, of course, match the anchor text with those keywords you are targeting for that specific page. If at all possible, try to stay away from getting incoming links displaying your domain name. Instead, try to get people to link to you with keywords and keyword phrases.

10. Don't assume you can complete an initial SEO campaign and think you are done. Do perform regular and ongoing keyword research to make sure you are still targeting the correct keywords; perhaps there are new keywords to target? Do follow up on your link requests and maintain an ongoing link campaign. Do implement an analytics program and track the amount of traffic you are generating from the organic search engine listings. Are these visits leading to sales or conversions? If so, it's in your best interest to up your SEO efforts and ride the momentum.

There are many mistakes that webmasters and website owners make when implementing a new or ongoing SEO strategy. That's why it is difficult garnering and maintaining organic listings on the major search engines. While this is only a sample of some of the more common mistakes, this list should provide you with a starting point of how to begin and what to avoid.

Happy SEOing.