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Owning a website is great. A company that lacks a presence online is hard to find these days, and we mean it in both senses of the statement. Naturally, owning a website is not everything. It must also be seen and visited. How else will your customers know that you exist and offer the best services, prices, and products?
Your website will be seen if search engines detect it and rank better than your rivals. Many factors will influence SERP (Search Engine Results Page) positions, which will help your website appear within the first several pages of search results. You may know from your own experience that people rarely get further than the fifth page of search results. In some cases going down the first three gives people enough information on their request. So, the best thing you can do to make search engines like your website and show it in the first pages is give attention to SEO, that is, search engine optimization.
SEO: What are We Talking about, Exactly?
This is natural, organic optimization, as opposed to simply paying money to appear at the top of search result pages as an advert. There are two main types: on-page and off-page SEO. On-page is all about the best and most high-quality content that you can provide. Good textual pieces, nice pictures, well-incorporated keywords, smartly chosen titles and metatags – this all is on-page SEO. Off-page optimization means working on backlinks. Again, you need to produce high-quality content, but it will not be meant for your website. You are going to offer it to partners for sharing. This is complex process, but it is always a good value.
The Good, the Bad, and the Two Hats
Now, a couple of words about strategies. There are two main ones: the so-called black vs. white hat strategy. Here we come eventually to one of the biggest DON’Ts of SEO: the black hat strategy.
While trying on the white hat means a lot of work, building links and creating high-quality content painstakingly, wearing the black hat seems easy, but is a losing game from the very start. This strategy embraces a number of sneaky tricks which may be able to put you on a higher rank quickly, but after a brief spell of glory search engines may penalize or even blacklist your website.
The Key DON’Ts of SEO to keep in mind
So, let us get to the actual list of the things you should totally avoid if you want to boost your ranking and get all the search engines to love your website.
- stuff all your keywords into one page. It will be much better if every page of your website contains relevant keywords. It is very important to insert them naturally and smoothly. Besides that, search engines will lead your customers to specific pages with better accuracy and it will definitely improve the image of your website.
- try using invisible keywords. It is an absolutely weird strategy of filling a piece of blank space within a page with keywords typed in the background color. Search engines issue severe penalties for such stunts.
- ignore user experience as a factor in search ranking. Search engines care about your users’ experience, and look at things such as page load speed, bounce rates and visitor behavior, and so should you – learn more about some of the most common visitor pet peeves.
- purchase questionable links. If you want to improve your ranking with the help of links, you should be wary of what links you establish, and not get tempted by shady sellers. Reliable partner links with high-quality content is your goal, even though it may be hard to achieve.
- ignore the role of metadata. Meta deserves your attention, really, all those tags, snippets, headings. The devil’s in the details, it is not possible to create a wholesome website without these little details.
- let guest posting go out of hand. Guest posts are great and good, but you need to keep control over them all the time. Just like the main content on your website, guest posts must be of the highest available quality and relevant to your customers’ interests. In any other case, it may do much more harm than good.
- neglect to use CDN. Search engines love sites that use CDN because they will often be twice as fast. Media-rich websites serving a worldwide audience are bound to use a CDN solution because it takes time for large files to reach users in remote locations. Latency isn’t just a matter of network congestion, there’s sheer distance to take into account, and CDN helps minimize page load times.
- ignore voice search or mobile performance. Users of smartphones often prefer voice search to good old typing, so you need to make sure that you catch up with the development of technologies. The same is true about mobile performance. In this day and age, everything within your website should be mobile friendly. Any video players should be available to users of smartphones, on any OS. Data usage, scalability of pages, friendliness of the interface – all this matters quite a bit.
- think that links to social media are useless. Presence online includes presence in social media, too. It is vital for you as a website owner to be able to reach your audience via any platforms they use.
SEO is a many-faced beast that evolves quickly and develops every day. What is good and working today may not be so tomorrow. The main trends, however, remain unchanged. And there is one big thing to remember: a website created with the best interests of customers in mind has the best chances of remaining at the top of SERPs, and make the most money of its owner in the long term.