Search Engine Checklist

Search Engine Checklist

This is a simple list of some of the things we have heard in the past from supposed “Search Engine Optimization Experts.” We have created this list in an effort to help you keep your site on top, and to help you know when you are dealing with a potential scammer. Note that this is by no means a conclusive list, just a selection of some of the more common ones we hear. If you received a proposal from another company that sounds a little fishy and want to discuss it with us, we will be happy to do so at any time, completely free of charge or obligation. Simply contact us.

1. You Need to Re-Submit Your Web Site Monthly/Weekly

This one is particularly pervasive, and a just plain silly concept. The idea is that you should pay to have your site resubmitted to Google, Yahoo and others on a weekly, monthly or bi-monthly basis so that they will come back and reindex your web site. Now, realistically these search engines exist and have risen to the top because they are very good at what they do. Google knows when to reindex your site, and they don’t want, nor will they take your input on when to reindex them. Now, Google may be nice the first time you resubmit your site to it unnecessarily, assuming that it could just have been an error on your part. But keep submitting it for no reason, and you could find yourself banned for six months in search engines. These search engines won’t send you a nice e-mail explaining why you are banned, you will just notice one day that far fewer people are finding your web site, and you will find out the hard way that you are no longer indexed on their site.

2. You Should Submit Your Site to 10,000 Search Engines

This one has been around for almost as long as search engines themselves. The premise is that you should pay to have your site submitted to a thousand, ten thousand, whatever the number of search engines so that your site will be well indexed and people can find you. It sounds almost reasonable on the surface until you stop to think about it. How many search engines do you use? Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL, and maybe one or two others. The chances are that you only use one search engine, and the chances are good that if you polled all of your friends, they would all use one of about five search engines. Knowing that, how beneficial do you think it will be having a search engine created by some guy in his basement pointing to your web site? Most of these pull their content from the larger search engines directly already (meaning that you are already in their index), and even if they don’t, the chances are very high that not a single person will ever find you from one of these “other” search engines.

3. Google Adwords Will Increase Your Normal (Organic) Rankings

Google has stated repeatedly that the Adwords program is completely independent from the normal, organic Google search engine rankings. Paying for traffic through Google Adwords is a great option if you do your research and set it up properly, but it will have absolutely no impact on your normal, non-paid search engine rankings.

4. The More Content You Have on Your Web Site, the Better

-Yes & No-
Yes and No. Yes, you should have adequate content to present your company and its expertise, and you should have that content written in such a way that people can actually find you in search engines. But just adding content for content’s sake may actually hurt your web site rankings. A good rule of thumb is if you wrote it, it makes sense, and that same text doesn’t exist anywhere else, then it’s probably okay to have on your web site. But taking canned text from another web site will not grant you any favors in search engines, and indeed can actually hurt your rankings. Google is smart enough to know when your text has appeared on other web sites, and will mark you as simply a “copycat,” a web site that doesn’t provide any real benefit over the many others that exist with the same content.

5. Link Directories and Exchanges Help in Search Rankings

Google is VERY good at what they do, and that includes knowing when you are just trying to artificially pump up your search engine rankings. If you submit your site to these link exhanges (also known as link farms and link directories), Google knows you are trying to artificially boost your rankings, and they can penalize you for it. Will they every time? Probably not. But just because they aren’t punishing you now, it doesn’t mean they won’t tomorrow when Google changes their algorithms. Bottom line: Bad practice is bad practice, and at some point you’re going to get busted for it.

6. You Can Buy a Guaranteed #1 Ranking on Google

We hear this one a lot as well. People come to us and say “I want a web site, and I want to be the number one result in Google. Now, I’ve talked to someone already who promises he can do it for me, can you?” The sad truth is that no one can promise you a number one result for anything but Google, and they aren’t going to. That’s not to say that by good practices, meaningful content and an attention to detail your web site can’t be highly ranked for the keywords important to you, maybe even the top result, but there is no way that anyone could possibly promise that to you. If you hear this from a search engine firm, run the other way. Think we’re bluffing? Read what Google has to say (Look for “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google).

7. It Doesn’t Matter Who’s Linking to You as Long as They Are

Search engines don’t just look at how many web sites are linking to you, but also the quality of those sites, and what relevance they have to your web site. For instance, if a very well known and well respected soft drink company were to link to our web site, we would receive a boost in our rankings because they are very important in search engines, but as soft drinks are not at all relevant to web design, we would not see the boost that could come from an equally large software company linking to us, as they are both large, well respected and relevant to our web site.

8. Meta Keyword Tags are Important

Ten years ago, you would have been right. But today’s search engines are far too smart to give you any credit for having meta tags on your site filled with hundreds of your key words. The way to bring visitors in is to use those keywords meaningfully within the content of your web site, not in a one-after-the-other format in a meta keyword tag at the top of your web site. Search engines won’t give you any benefit for these meta tags, but oddly enough there is research to say that having too many meta tags can actually hurt your rankings. Not only that, but by keeping a list of your most important keywords on your site in the form of meta tags, you are giving your competition prime advice as to the most important keywords to your business! Your competitors can easily copy and paste this list right into Google Adwords and start bringing in your potential customers.

9. The Quality of the Code on Your Site Doesn’t Really Matter &

10. A Web Site is a Web Site, SEO is All that Matters

Google can’t index your site if it can’t get through your code. Errors and problems can prevent search engines from properly reading your site. In addition, poorly created pages using tables and iframes may be difficult – or impossible for a search engine to see. Many sites use images in lieu of actual text, which Google cannot read at all. This means that, while you may have a long paragraph that does a great job of describing your company or product, if it’s in an image without alternate tags, Google doesn’t know what it is and you will get no credit for it, just as if you never included it on the site at all.

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