The Top 10 Ways to Ensure Your Search Marketing Strategy Sucks

24 juli 2003, 21:05

Aardig verhaal van Marketleap waarin de top 10 fouten worden benoemd in zoekmachine marketing.

10. Invisible Text – You hid it so well! Your visitors might not have noticed, but all search engine crawlers have been trained to look for this obvious technique, last fashionable circa 1996. The search engines will likely penalize or remove your pages from their index for trying to sneak this by them. You can make this technique more effective if the invisible text has nothing to do with the content of the page it’s on. You’re kidding yourself if you think no one is going to notice.

9. Frames – Frames went out of style about as fast as the 90’s lasted being the environmental decade. Search engines don’t like frames. Once they encounter a frame, they either stop because the frame doesn’t give them anywhere else to go, or they find the pages beyond the frames and point people to it – which won’t have the frames included with it. There’s no need to use Frames and justify it by saying it will improve the user experience. If users can’t find you or they find bits and pieces of you, how much have you really helped them? You’ll be working around the frames issue until you build a new website.

8. Why Be Original? – Why try to be unique, it’s just too hard anyways? It sounds stupid, but it happens all the time. If you find something good on another site, just copying it and putting your links on the top doesn’t make you a unique force on the Web. And how many shopping sites selling the exact same discounted goods are enough for the average Internet? In our book, the more sites you mirror, the less effective you’ll be.

7. BOP’s (Big Ol’ Pages) – Is the only way to express your business through touching imagery, subtle sound, and dancing objects? Sites with lots of graphics, Flash, music, and animation are going to have all kinds of disruptive dilemmas with search engines. Not only will it confuse users, who are looking for obvious links and information, the search engines won’t feel you’re very relevant because they aren’t sure what to make of you. If you have a website made up of nothing but heavy graphics and multimedia, not only will you give the search engines nothing to index, you’ll also aggravate any user with a slower connection. at least use ALT-tags to describe images for text browsers and search engines. Otherwise, you’ll be BOPpin’ in the outer atmosphere of results.

6. Redirects – Come along friend, follow the bouncing links. You might be using redirects in your website to track clicks for advertising and to collect information about your site visitors. Your website may be indexed but you probably won’t rank very well. The engines won’t be able to see the relationships that exist between your web pages because the redirect code blocks their way, unlike direct text links. It’s time to redirect your efforts elsewhere.

5. URL’s From Hell – They live. Dynamic shopping and e-commerce sites that use parameters and session ID’s tend to create these quite nicely. If your website has URL’s riddled with percent signs, question marks, Session ID’s, and at least 3 Parameters, you’re clogging up your hopes for search engine success. Are you jealous because your URL’s aren’t as long as they could be? You can tack on as many fake parameters to the end of a real URL as you like.

Long URL’s don’t look attractive to people searching and the URL’s contain calls to databases. Pointing the way for the search crawler into your database is a sure way to send them sniffing elsewhere. Obi-wan, paid inclusion is your only hope.

4. Forgot about your Robots.txt and/or No Index Tag? – Looking for a method to keep all pesky search bots out? Do you have a robots.txt file residing on the root of your website? Does the file contain:

“User-agent: * disallow / ”

Or does your website have a Meta-tag:

Be nice to your webmaster. They might leave your company some day and leave this little treat behind for you to find at the end of a needlessly expensive investigation into why the search engines aren’t including your website. If you are using the robots protocol, don’t forget to remove them if you are going live from beta testing.

3. Doorway Pages – Go ahead, show them what’s really behind Door #2. Doorway pages, bridge pages, jump pages – whatever you want to call it – anything created exclusively for a search engine and not an end user, is just playing a game. These pages have little value to searchers and you’re usually trying to pull a bait and switch. If it smells like this, looks like this, or acts like this, eventually the engines will discover your bobbing and weaving ways, masquerading as real content, and penalize your entire website. If you’ve dug yourself into this hole, you’ll probably need to start from scratch with a new domain name. Are you starting to see how easy it can be to get in trouble when you apply yourself?

2. Identical Titles and Meta-Tags – Ditto for this page. You worried over every unique page of the website while building it. But you didn’t spend a lot of time worrying that each page should be tagged (classified) that way. You were more focused on launch than sales. Even worse, you were just lazy and added things like “About Us” or your company name over and over again in your Titles. Imagine going into a library where every book had the exact same Title on the spine. What better way to tell a search bot to shoo than showing them that all of your content is exactly the same. You’ll likely see fewer of your pages indexed and less traffic than you might otherwise.

Here’s a quick checklist to consider for your Titles and Meta-Tags:

Do they provide a call to action – YES/NO?

Does your Title contain less than 80 characters – YES/NO?

Do they use important keywords and phrases – YES/NO?

Do they accurately describe what the page is about – YES/NO?

Are these consistent with the page – YES/NO?

1. Linking Networks – Come on people now, link to your brother, everybody try to boost one another right now. Did you find a service that’s offering to link thousand’s of other websites to you today? Participating in these programs clearly indicates to the search engines you really don’t want their traffic. You’ve just joined a network of sites hawking whatever road kill signed up this month. The high quality of these link pages and their exceptional content “value” to a human reader is breathtaking. Search engines agree and penalize accordingly. Sites that get tagged as link spammers are usually informed they should find a new domain name and start over. Good luck with your rebranding, you’ll need it! The best way to build links is to focus your efforts inward. What are you doing for the Web and your online community? Ask not what the Web can do for you; ask what you can do for the Web.


Marco Derksen
Partner bij Upstream

Oprichter/partner Upstream, Marketingfacts, Arnhem Direct, SportNext, TravelNext, RvT VPRO, Bestuur Luxor Live, social business, onderwijs, fotografie en vader!


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