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Top 11 Search Engine Marketing Mistakes

When pursuing a search engine optimization or search engine marketing campaign it's important to get off on the right foot. Here are some common mistakes to avoid.

1. Assume that if you build a website people will find it and use it.

A website with no marketing campaign behind it is like putting a billboard in the middle of the desert. No one will know it exists. If you want to attract visitors to your website through search engines, you will either have to optimize the content for specific keywords or pay for each and every visitor delivered to your website if you choose to utilize pay per click programs. Just because you have a website does not mean anyone will find it, use it, or buy anything from you.

2. Build your site completely out of images

A site built completely out of images can be aesthetically pleasing and easy to create. Search engines like Google, however, cannot read the contents of an image. A search engine needs to be able to read text on your website in order to assign a ranking for a specific keyword. Since the engine cannot read the content of your image files, your site will be all but invisible. If your site is built completely out of images virtually all of your search engine traffic will have to come from pay per click search engines.

3. Take your offline marketing copy and plug it into your website.

Offline marketing copy is often full of imagery and abstract ideas to position a product in the mind of the consumer. Examples include "Ultimate Driving Machine", and "Flying the Friendly Skies". The copy on your website significantly influences your search engine rankings and the amount of traffic you will receive as well as your conversion rates. It needs to speak to your customers in their language and contain the keywords they use to search for your products and services.

4. Put welcome to MyCompany.com in the title tag of every page of your site

The title tag is one of the most important elements of a web page when it comes to search engine optimization. Every page of your website should have a unique title tag that reflects the content of the page. Unique title tags with keywords in them will help you get better search engine rankings.

5. Use a search engine submission service that submits your site to hundreds or thousands of search engines.

There are thousands of companies offering to submit your site to thousands of search engines. If there were thousands of search engines this might be a good deal, however, there are only about 8 search engines that supply most referrals to US websites and automated submissions will do little or nothing to get your traffic from these main engines.

6. Build a commerce or business site with Flash

Like image files, Flash files are all but invisible to search engines. Flash sites are often poorly designed, take a long time to download and do not effectively convey information. If you are building a commerce site or even a brochure style site for a professional services firm use Flash only if you have a specific reason to use it. IN most cases, Flash does not effectively convey your message and will virtually eliminate the chance of getting search engine referrals from Google and other search engines.

7. Use frames to build your site

The use of frames in site design is not the death sentence is once was with respect to search engine rankings. Frames still cause problems, however, and there is rarely a compelling reason to use them. Framed site use several different files to make up on page. Frequently search engines will index these files separately and the site navigation may show up on one page while the actual content on another page. This is a disservice to your visitors and will not help you generate sales from your website

8. Target the wrong keywords or no keywords at all

It take lots of time and effort to build a website. Your site needs to focus on relevant keywords that people actually search for, otherwise all your search engine optimization efforts will be in vain. If you buy the wrong keywords, your marketing dollars will be an expense, not an investment. Your goal is to make money, not burn it.

9. Focus on one keyword

People search for products, services, and information using hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of different combinations of words and phrases. There will be numerous keywords relevant to your site. The larger the net you cast, the more likely you are to generate more referrals from a wide variety of keywords. The more top rankings you have for different keywords, the more stable your business is likely to be if one or more of your rankings drop.

10. Approach search engine optimization as if it was an advertising campaign

Search engine optimization is more like public relations than advertising. It is not possible to precisely control your rankings unless you purchase specific placements from the engines themselves. It takes research, lots of content development, a linking strategy, and on-going efforts to maintain listings in the top search results. If you demand immediate results from a search engine optimization consultant or agency and they agree to your demands you probably aren't getting search engine optimization, they are using pay per click search engine advertising to get you top rankings.

11. Neglect to track results

When it comes to Internet marketing, you can track your results. How many sales came from a specific campaign, a specific keyword, or a specific search engine? You can answer these questions with web analytics and ROI tracking tools. If you don't track your results you'll never know what's working and you won't be able to improve the results of your campaigns.

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