Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on November 8th, 2010

5 SEO Bizarro Tips: What NOT to Do With Your Website

Tired of people telling you what to do with your website? No matter where you click, there are tips and tricks to “do this” and “optimize that” to your website, and sometimes it is absolutely exhausting! Even Volacci is guilty!

So I decided to do something differently today. Inspired by too many bad superhero movies (fingers crossed for Green Lantern) , my love for Superman and hilarious Seinfeld episode, here are five SEO bizarro tips: what NOT to do with your website:

SEO Bizarro Tip #1: Duplicating Title Tags.. or anything

First rule of thumb for SEO best practices: have a unique, keyword-focused title tag for every page of your website. Second rule of thumb for SEO best practices: do NOT use the same title tag for more than one web page. I know what you’re thinking: “but but but...” no buts.

If you want to use the name of your company in the title tag, put it at the end. Unless your business or brand is a household name, it won’t get a significant amount of searches. Use your tagline or slogan for the home page and work your way through your website:

Right-Angled Rocket Sprocket Connector | Sprockets, Inc.

Women’s Cardigan Sweaters | Stacey’s Boutique

Westchester Personal Injury Law | Crunk & White Family Law

Remember to use your primary keywords in the appropriate page title. Personal Injury Law should be used on your personal injury law landing page and so forth.

SEO Bizarro Tip #2: Ignoring the Power of Local Search

Do you have a landing page or section of your website dedicated to a store locator or list of office and store locations? Does your company have a physical location? Then you need local search engine optimization.

Did you know a staggering 97% of local shoppers do research online before hitting up the store? With the recent launch of Place Search - a special new display of business listings appearing when users submit search queries related to local businesses - local SEO has become more important for both businesses and end users.

Businesses, even if they are international scaled, should have–at minimum– a Google Places account and a small Google Boost campaign. Just because you are rocking a product with international appeal, or 350 stores located nationwide, doesn’t mean you should ignore the people who just happen to live within driving distance of your home base. Our advice? Ignore local SEO at your own risk, my friend.

SEO Bizarro Tip #3: Becoming Obsessed with PageRank

One thing we see all too often with clients is an unhealthy obsession with PageRank. Unhealthy because they use it as the overall indicator for how successful their entire SEO campaign is going. PageRank is just one minuscule part of the ranking algorithm. In fact, a website with a lower PR can outrank a website with a higher PR. If you are a little fuzzy on the topic, check out my recent post: What is PageRank?.

PageRank reflects the perceived importance of a webpage in the eyes of Google. This “importance” factor is determined by more than 500 million variables and 2 billion search terms. And while it is a factor in your ranking, it is only a one element in the complicated equation of Google’s algorithm. It’s not worth losing any sleep over, especially in the big picture of a full SEO campaign.

SEO Bizarro Tip #4: Letting Content Get Stale

Once you have your website how you want it, your site’s main content may not change too often. But Google’s indexing spiders crawl your site a little over once a month, on average, and they love to feast on new, fresh content. If your site’s content output hasn’t changed in over a month, search spiders consider it stale. If your homepage copy hasn’t changed in nine months to a year, consider knocking the dust off your messaging.

Too many websites keep the same homepage messaging for more than a year, and this could potentially hurt their readership. When repeat visitors come to your site, seeing something fresh and new sends signals to them that there may be more nuggets of knowledge, know-how, and crazy deals that they can find that didn’t exist before. And everyone wants repeat traffic, right?!

If your site isn’t publishing new web pages, blog posts, or content of any kind on a regular basis, it could start to fall down the rankings. Create a blog and post to it at least three times a week, maybe even once a work weekday, in order to produce enough fresh content for search spiders to feast upon.

SEO Bizarro Tip #5: Using Non-Descriptive Anchor Text

When you are giving out link love, building links, and dropping respect for other bloggers and experts in your business, don’t use “non-descriptive” anchor text. It's like staring at blurry holiday lights. Instead, use keyword-rich, descriptive text so that your users (and Google) has a better idea of what you are linking to.

For example, I wanted to link to my post from Friday:

Drupal SEO Tutorial: How to Set Up 301 Redirects.

The Drupal SEO Tutorial: How to Set Up 301 Redirects is my anchor text. If I had, instead, done this:

Check out my blog post: Drupal SEO Tutorial: How to Set Up 301 Redirects here.

Here doesn’t tell you or Google’s spiders anything specific about the link. By using non-descriptive anchor text, anyone can get confused. Even computers.

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