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Search Engine Optimization

3 SEO Mistakes That Only A Fool Would Make

By John Bonini

3 SEO Mistakes That Only A Fool Would Make Blog Feature

3-SEO-mistakes-only-a-fool-would-makeDespite the propaganda you may read on seemingly a quarterly basis, search engine optimization is not dead. 

The act of searching for solutions, and more importantly, finding them online will never die. 

People seem to confuse adaptation with death. 

This is quite a dangerous leap to take, as it's allowed marketers to adopt more of a lackadaisical attitude as it relates to the common practices that affect SEO. 

"After all, all these pesky SEO rules don't matter so much anymore so long as we produce quality, right?" 

Not quite. 

Here's three foolish SEO mistakes many marketers and advertisers are still making. 

1. Duplicate Content

Like a savvy journalist, marketers often rely on a variety of outside sources when putting together a piece of content, either for inspiration or for information. 

Unlike journalists, however, marketers have a nasty habit of simply copying and pasting information from other sources without proper attribution or any regard for the rules that govern search engines like Google.

Google defines duplicate content as "substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar."  

Usually this isn't done with malicious intent. Most of the time, marketers either don't have the time to produce enough content themselves, or they simply lack the knowledge or expertise of more credible sources, so they not-so-generously lift it for their own audiences. 

Here's how Google handles such cases: 

"In the rare cases in which Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive our users, we'll also make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved."

Meaning those innocent cases can actually cost you big time when it comes to your search rankings. 

2. Title Tags

Title tags are the headings that accompany your listing in search engines. Yup, the big heading above the brief description of a particular web page. 

As you can imagine, because of how prominently displayed they are and how important they are for the end user in making a decision, title tags hold a ton of SEO value.

Problem is, most companies are screwing them up.

Usually what you'll see many companies do is list their homepage as 'Home.' And most of the time, their 'Services' and 'About' pages follow suit. 

(Sigh)

Talk about missed opportunities. 

Rather than assigning nondescript title tags to your pages, use this as an opportunity to optimize each page for specific keywords you're trying to rank for. 

For example, rather than simply use 'Home' as the title tag for our homepage at IMPACT, we optimized it to ensure we'd be found when anyone searched the phrase "inbound marketing agency." 

3-SEO-mistakes-only-a-fool-would-make

While Google may continually alter its algorithm to the dismay of marketers and advertisers everywhere, their motivation is always the same: to provide the user with a more enjoyable experience. 

How is this achieved? By ensuring that the end user is provided with what they're looking for quickly.

This is why makes title tags so important. They're the quickest indicator to both Google and the end user that a particular page or piece of content is aligned with what they're searching for. 

Don't waste these opportunities.  

3. No Image Tags

Have you ever searched for an image by typing "screen_shot_2014-03-31_at_6.34.03_pm.png" into the search engines? 

Of course not. 

More than likely, you search very specifically for content and images. The image tag listed above tells you absolutely nothing about the image, therefore it directly contradicts this type of search behavior. 

Images are prime real estate when it comes to optimizing for search. Instead of leaving the image tag listed as some long, indecipherable description, title your images with something that actually make sense given the context of the page it's on. 

For example, if you're including an image in a blog post titled "5 Irresistible Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes," title the image "irresistible chocolate chip cookies recipes." 

This ensures that anyone performing an image search has yet another way of finding your content. 

It's a pretty basic concept. Optimize your images for the same keywords you're trying to rank for on the corresponding page that it's featured. 

It's simple. Yet like many of the practices talked about here, it's often overlooked. 

Topics:

Search Engine Optimization
Published on April 1, 2014

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