By Alyse Speyer and Kristin Tomlinson, Web Success Team
It’s October, and the holidays are just around the corner. Between Halloween and New Year’s, consumers are set on a buying spree. Earlier this year ComScore reported that Americans spent $29.1 billion online during the 2009 November-December holiday season, a number that is expected to increase for 2010.
With more people looking to the Internet for their holiday purchases, the first thing that comes to mind is search engine optimization (SEO).
Why? Well, you can’t expect users to buy from you, if they can’t find you! Don’t fall into the bowels of failed SEO, and start early. In this article, we will discuss SEO tactics to avoid and what you can do to secure higher page rank so that your business will be found this holiday season.
1. Fix Those Links!
Having broken links and 404 error pages on your website is bad for business. Search engines, especially Google, hates these more than anything. Like any other business, search engines want to provide high quality customer experience, and sites with error pages do not do so. Make sure your site is clean and all the links are working. This will help improve your ranking and your customer experience.
2. Thanksgiving Keyword Stuffing
Loading your pages with tons of keywords in content and/or Meta tags is considered an unethical practice. Keywords should be targeted and relevant. It’s quality not quantity that counts. Although stuffing had been common practice to achieve high rankings in the past, it is no longer a viable method and adds no value to your rank.
3. Shop for Gifts Not Links
Search engines do not like links that are bought and paid for and will penalize your site accordingly. Buying links for SEO can be viewed as a Link Schemes, which can prevent your site from ranking higher. Google’s guidelines are as follows:
- Don’t use links that are intended to manipulate PageRank
- Don’t link to spammers or bad neighborhoods
- Do not have excessive reciprocal links or link exchanging
- Don’t buy or sell links that pass PageRank
4. Keep URLs Simple
Having excessive URL parameters are bad for both search and social media. Search engines and some social media sites, such as Digg and StumbleUpon, have limits to the number of characters crawled for each. Make sure your content management system isn’t creating problematic URLs and that your URL patterns are clean and usable.
5. Stay away from Bad Link Neighborhoods
Bad link neighborhoods are classified by questionable backlinks and interlink profiles. The rule of thumb is to avoid PPC sites, otherwise known as porn, pills and casinos. Who you link to makes a difference, and as outlined in number three, linking to bad neighborhoods makes your site undesirable and will damage your ranking. To see if you are linking to a bad neighborhood, use this nifty link checker tool.
6. Find the Keyword Balance
Each page of a website should target no more than three keyword phrases. Targeting too many keywords on a page detracts from the page’s relevance and reduces the value of your more important keywords. Keep on top of your analytics to make sure that your pages are optimized for the appropriate keywords and phrases.
About the Authors: Alyse Speyer and Kristin Tomlinson are online marketers, social media strategists and work for Web Success Team. You can follow them @websuccess or join the Web Success Team Facebook Page