While there is no true road map that we can pull from the glove compartment and unfold to help us navigate the search engines, it has been proven that these common pitfalls will be detrimental to your organic search engine marketing efforts. As always, hire an expert to handle these services for optimal performance and continued results.

1) Starting Too Late

SEM should be well thought out as early as when you first register your domain name or plan your new web design or re-design. The concept of customizing your web pages content toward targeted keywords and key phrases has become more apparent and rewarded with top position results given by major search engines. These results are in no way an accident nor are they necessarily just a trick used to fool your way to the top. They more importantly benefit the visitors of your web site.

Advice: Give thought to your prospective customers and the keywords you want to focus on early in the marketing development stage.

2) Spy vs. Spy

In the wild, wild west days of SEO there were plenty of agencies offering top results, and getting it, by font matching (hidden keywords stuffed on a page that match the color of the background of a page), soliciting links from link farms as well as generating duplicate content (multiple pages with the same content). These practices are labeled “black hat” (as opposed to wearing a white hat and being the good guy) and quickly may cause penalization toward your site and in some cases lead to being banned.

Advice: Let a professional SEO company do what they do. Industry professionals have seen what works and will be able to adapt a campaign to meet your companies’ needs.

3) Less Is More

OK, you’ve got your site up and running. You’ve seen some traffic coming in. Now is the time that you decided to do some research on how to optimize your web site. That’s fantastic! Problem is, you took every single suggestion you found on the web and applied it toward your pages. Over optimizing a web page or web site can and will be detrimental to your SE results.

Advice: When in doubt, natural is best. A properly optimized site will feel natural to read and navigate. Don’t force keywords in where they shouldn’t be.

4) Too Much Coffee

Considering the evolution of the webs interactive features and web 2.0 functionality we need not neglect the inclusion of a little bit of javascript. The fantastic thing about this type of code is in the way it encourages our visitors to interact with our sites for a variety of purposes. That being said, many novice or intermediate developers will simply copy/paste code directly into the page. While this works it is not best practice for SEO

Advice: Use external files (or unobtrusive javascript – DOM scripting) at all times. Also place CSS in external files.

5) What’s In Your Head?

There are tags used for specific reasons when it comes to search engine placement. Regarding the most important element on the page, the content, there are header tags and paragraph tags. A page without header or paragraph tags is a missed opportunity. Optimizing the layout of your page by utilizing the correct components is essential in assisting with identifying the more important elements on that page.

Advice: Try not to use any lower than an h2 tag for identifying a header and make certain that your targeted keywords and phrases are evident within them.