Google’s Top 5 Website Owner Mistakes

Are you are aware of Google’s Webmaster Help YouTube channel? (Hint: you should be.) This is where the search engine’s resident optimisation expert, Matt Cutts, regularly posts helpful videos explaining everything to do with Google. These short clips (usually 1-2 min long) are filmed responses to questions submitted by individuals. Ranging from the extremely technical, to general topics, they provide useful tips to all website owners. Whether you understand what Ajax navigation is or just want to know how to make your site perform better, you should be paying attention to what they have to say.

A few days ago Matt Cutts responded to a question that asked ‘What are the top 3-5 SEO areas where webmasters make the most mistakes?’ His answer was quite interesting. Take a few minutes to watch the video, or simply skip to our summary below.

So, have you been doing something wrong? As highlighted by Mark, these are the ‘biggest mistakes’ in terms of frequency in which they are committed, rather than impact they can have on your site, so do not despair just yet. As recommended SEO consultants with a proven track record of great results we decided to discuss each point in a bit more detail.

1. Not having a website or having a website that is not ‘crawlable’.

This one is pretty self explanatory. If you do not have a website then you do not have a website, it is as simple as that. You are shooting yourself in the foot though if you do own a site which is not fully accessible to search engines. Put simply, you have to get this right to have any effective online presence. Without it the rest of the points below are irrelevant to you, as your website will not get any organic traffic. But the fact that you are here, reading this now, suggests that you probably knew that already.

Having an un-crawlable site is a scarily common error. If googlebots cannot find certain pages within your site, they will not index them. Although usability is one of the most important factors to be thought about when designing your website, it is not just about making sure your page is easy to navigate for people.

If you have Flash or JavaScript elements on your website, you need to be careful. Moreover, check your website’s internal linking and ensure none of your pages are orphaned. Lastly, there are two types of sitemaps which you need to have. We can help you with all of the above.

2. Not including the right words on your pages.

Another very important point. Think about how people search when creating amazing content. Matt gives an example of a page titled “Everest Altitude” and mentions that “How high is Mount Everest?” is more appropriate. Lesson? Use different terms and different language within your text and  include terms people search for! Remember, when googlebots crawl your site, they are doing so with the intention of making the most relevant and useful pages available to searchers. If you have useful and engaging content relevant to terms that people look up, chances are Google will present it to those interested audiences. We offer a thorough and creative keyword research service that can help your site become more visible to Google.

3. Thinking only about link building.

This point is about marketing. Link building is a valid and important part of any SEO campaign, but do not lose sight of other, more traditional, promotion methods. If you are a local restaurant, why not invite the editor of the local paper in for a free meal in return for a feature in that week’s edition. Of course then make sure it is the best darn meal you have ever cooked. If you are a barber shop, how about offering a free haircut in return for likes on Facebook, tweets etc. Do a good job and you are bound to see increased traffic from personal referrals.

Social media is a brilliant marketing channel for your business. If you missed it check out our article on how to create successful social media campaigns. Free advertising to over a billion people is a power not to be sniffed at. If harnessed correctly, you can see fantastic results for your business. We can help you do it right.

4. Well considered titles and descriptions.

Correct headings and descriptions are extremely important in grabbing a searcher’s attention. Think about how many search terms appear in Google’s results. Your page title and meta description is your chance to sell your page to searchers in seconds. If you can make them stand out from the millions of others that appear, you are bound to get a click through.

A very good point Matt makes is that, although it may take time and effort to edit every page, it is important you ensure your most appealing and important pages are properly titled and described. As part of our SEO consultancy packages we can ensure your pages make the most of those important few moments when they appear in search engine results pages (SERPs).

5. Not taking the time to really get to understand Google and SEO in general.

Another rather self explanatory, but also very important and valuable point. Matt calls the world of SEO resources as “an iceberg.” There is a plethora of free resources and information out there for you to explore and get to grips with. Do not just stick with Google’s guidelines, see what individuals and other companies think. Like writing, everyone has their own style of SEO. But there are certain rules, regulations and best practices to adhere to, so make sure you find a good white-hat consultant.

If you feel you do not have the time to trawl through the available information to create your own killer SEO strategy, then let us know. As a web design and SEO firm we can help you make sure you make the most of your SEO campaign, take a look at our affordable SEO services page to find out more.

Written by Ryan Hill

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