How to Drive Your SEO Insane in Six Easy Steps
Okay, so you've hired a search engine optimizer (SEO) to help your site's rankings in the search engine results. If you're in a sadistic mood, here are a few things you can do to drive your SEO professional over the edge. Just be sure you sleep with one eye open if you decide to try any of these…
1. Go out and register a bunch of "keyword-rich" domain names. Duplicate the content from your main domain to each of these and link them all back to the main domain to "help" the main site's popularity. "Forget" to tell your SEO.
Not only will this not help, but it may prevent even your main domain from being displayed in some search engines. While the search engines don't actually penalize duplicate content, they will eventually filter out the duplicates - and they might just decide that your primary domain pages are the duplicates!
If you haven't yet done anything like this, but you're thinking it might be a good idea, save your money. Despite what some "experts" might have you believe, the benefit from a "keyword-rich" domain name is negligible, if it exists at all. You're much better off optimizing your actual site and getting genuine links from real web sites.
2. Hire a web designer who knows nothing about SEO to produce a site for you. Bring the SEO in at the end of the process, after the site is already completed. Forbid your SEO from making any changes to the on-page display of your site.
Virtually any existing site, no matter how search-friendly it is, will need some changes. If your site isn't search-friendly already, the changes may be significant indeed.
If your SEO tells you that you don't need to make any changes to your site and everything can be handled "behind the scenes," get yourself a new SEO! They're either clueless, or they're planning to use sneaky tactics that can eventually get you in trouble with the search engines (or both!). Solid, long-term results come from hard work, not trickery.
Of course, the best tactic is to bring your SEO and your designer together from the start, so your site will be search-friendly from the get-go.
3. Neglect to tell your SEO about previous attempts at optimization, particularly if they involved questionable practices. After all, there's no sense in dredging up ancient history.
If your previous SEO efforts managed to get your site penalized or banned, your present SEO needs to know this. There are things that can be done to try to rectify the situation, but those things won't be done if your SEO doesn't know they need doing.
Even if the tactics used haven't yet caused any actual penalties for you, it's important to let your new SEO know what went before, and what might still be lurking about in dark corners of the Web. This will help your new SEO get things cleaned up and avoid any unpleasant surprises on down the road.
4. Start calling your SEO approximately two days after they've first started work on your site, asking when you're going to see your rankings go up for your favorite key phrase. Call back at approximately two or three day intervals from then on out until you rank number one for your chosen phrase, or the SEO jumps off a bridge, whichever comes first.
There's not much to say about this. Optimization takes time to reach full effect. For instance, it may take up to a year before a new site will rank well on Google for competitive key phrases. Even for less competitive phrases, you could potentially be looking at a period of several months before your site's natural rankings settle in. In the meantime, Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC) can get your site on the first page even for highly competitive terms, as long as you're willing to pay the cost per click.
5. Focus all your energies one a single phrase. No matter how much your SEO tries to convince you to diversify, or tells you this phrase isn't going to be all that useful to you, insist on single-minded concentration on this one phrase. After all, your competition's site ranks at number one for this phrase, and you have to beat them to get bragging rights.
Depending on its size, a well-optimized site can focus on dozens to hundreds of key phrases. There is simply no reason to limit yourself to one, or even a small handful of phrases. If your site doesn't have enough pages to support all the useful key phrases recommended by your SEO, consider adding additional pages of content rather than shortening the list of targeted phrases.
Follow your SEO's recommendations about which phrases should get priority. A good SEO will start any project by doing a detailed key phrase analysis to determine which words and phrases are most likely to be used by people who are searching for the kind of stuff you offer. There's no point in ranking highly for phrases that no one ever uses for an actual search.
Don't let your ego or vanity limit the potential of your site to rank well for multiple, valuable terms.
6. Check your rankings on a daily basis. Call your SEO to report (and, if needed, complain) about every fluctuation.
It's a fact of life: rankings vary on a daily basis - sometimes an hourly or even minute-by-minute basis. Checking your rankings daily, or, heaven forbid, even more often, is a waste of time.
Sure, number one rankings are cool for bragging rights, but rankings alone don't put food on the table.
The true measure of the success of an optimization campaign should not be rankings, or even traffic. It should be conversions - that is, how many people end up doing whatever it is you want your site visitors to do. (Buy your product, subscribe to your membership area, sign up for your newsletter, whatever.)
A good SEO will focus on this metric and will try to help you do the same.
Well, there you have it. Six easy ways to drive any good SEO insane. Now, of course, if you'd rather have a profitable web site, you might want to consider not doing any of these things. The choice is yours.
Diane Aull of Nine Yards.com provides a full range of small business marketing services, with an emphasis on online marketing techniques. A raving chocoholic, Diane has been known to dream in HTML.
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