Sunday, March 25, 2007

16 Essential Do’s and Don’ts for Proper SEO

16 Essential Do’s and Don’ts for Proper SEO By: Anthony Kristovich III

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is defined in the Wikipedia as a “set of methods aimed at improving the ranking of a website in search engine listings”. To the average webmaster, it’s how you get higher up in the search engine results pages and get more traffic. There are many myths and also many great pieces of advice I see floating around so I am presenting a list to you, the reader, of what to do and what not to do in the SEO world.

Having the correct knowledge you can get the best results. I see quite often sites employing “tricks” like hidden text and keyword spamming, and hopefully after reading this article you will at the very least know what to avoid like the plague. Afterall, while some of these tricks work even momentarily, in the long run (usually within a month) you get heavily penalized or banned.


1. Original content – Search engines reward websites with original content, which will also naturally draw incoming links and visitors as well. Original content can be anything from product reviews to a blog to your own articles.

2. Add more content regularly – How often a website is updated can have a big impact on your search engine ranking. Most search engines prefer fresh content, so you become a more preferred source by constantly having new and fresh content.

3. Research your keywords – You need to research which keywords you want to target before you even start making your website. These are the keywords that you will be targeting in backlinks when possible and your main page will revolve around these keywords.

4. Create a sitemap – Sitemaps are a definitely plus. It helps search engines walk your website with ease, since you’re hand-feeding it the list of webpages. It can also greatly help visitors find what they are looking for on your website. Be sure to link to your sitemap from your main page.

5. Use HTML – While this may sound obvious, there are sites out there created entirely in flash or javascript. While some search engines can read part of javascript, by not using regular html link between pages on your site may not even get seen by search engines, and your page text may never be seen, so your target keywords are never seen by the search engines.

6. W3C compliant – Making your web pages comply to the World Wide Web Consortium’s standards is always a good idea. It is impossible to know exactly how the search engine spiders read a web page, so it is impossible to know how it will handle non-standard code. You can bet, though, that it has been tested to handle html code that follows the standard.

7. Webpage title tag – Be sure to put your target keywords in your title tag.

8. Build backlinks at a normal pace – Don’t use one of those link farm programs where every member automatically shows links to all the other members. Search engines will see you one day literally showing thousands of backlinks instantly and this could get you penalized or banned. Link exchanges are fine if they’re the type where you agree to or initiate each exchange, because if you were out looking for link exchange partners you would be doing the same thing. The key is not have thousands of backlinks show up instantly.


1. Avoid cloaking – Cloaking is when you give your visitors one page, and search engines another page. Search engines want to see and index what your visitors see. Getting caught cloaking can have dire consequences on your site ranking.

2. Avoid hidden text – This is making text, but background or near-background color. Normally it has tons of text that is meant for only search engines to see (they read raw html), and is loaded with keywords. Search engines are very very good at catching this old trick and it will quickly get you a huge penalty or possibly a ban.

3. Avoid keyword stuffing/spamming – Avoid overloading your webpage with keywords that are only intended at tricking the search engines. The best way to avoid doing this is just write your text, with keywords in mind, towards your audience.

4. Avoid using flash or javascript for your navigation methods. Search engines usually can’t read these, or read them well enough to be dependable. Always use standard html links to be sure your site is easily walkable by search engine spiders.

5. Don’t submit your webpage url too often, if at all – You can submit your url directly to search engines, though search engines prefer to find your website via a backlink or incoming link. Resubmitting weekly or monthly can heavily damage your ranking with the search engines.

6. Avoid the “quickly get submitted to thousands of search engines” deals – While many of these do what they say, keep in mind that 98-99% of all search engines are powered by Google, Yahoo, or MSN. Just keep these 3 in mind and you’re covered.

7. Don’t forget backlinks – Link popularity plays very large into how your site is ranking by search engines, and is always a key element of SEO. Miss the backlinks part, and your SEO will suffer quite a bit.

8. Avoid excessive graphics and flash presentations – This is not to alter how the search engine looks at your site (directly), but at how your visitors view your site. There are many ways to make an effective website without overloading your visitors, and if a website takes more than 5 seconds to load, you will likely lose your visitor before they even get to visit your website.

As you can see, the list of things to do and things to avoid can have a large impact on your website. Heck, doing too many of the wrong things can get you outright banned and can be the demise of your website. The big things to keep in mind to keep you on the right track is to play it fair and don’t try to cheat the search engines. Cheating the search engines has a good chance at working in the short run, but usually in very short order you are worse off than when you started.

About the Author:
Tony Kristovich is the owner of, a link exchange service where you can register for free to exchange links the easy way with other sites.

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