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5 NO’s of SEO

The worst part of my job as an Internet Marketing and SEO Consultant is that I am always having to tell my clients “no”. It always feels like I am the one delivering nothing but bad news. I am the one who finds all the problems with your online activity, whether internal or external to the site and its pages, server problems, content issues, social media guffaws, link building craziness, etc, etc. The good news, however, is that I get to help you fix all those problems, issues, guffaws and craziness! Then everyone is happy!

Anyway, here are a few of the “NOs” of SEO that I dealt with this last week with clients:

No! When it was suggested that it was a good idea to add a blog to your site, it did NOT mean that you could copy content from another site!

A blog is most useful if it set up to enhance the current information of your website. It needs to be unique and well written in the same vain that a static website page would be BUT it has the advantage of a more personal touch, time sensitive info can go here too, and/or things that might change later. Blog comes for the words “web log” and is a log of things going on presently. If the information is valid forever, then you might consider a static webpage to add to the site overall. Go back to your old blogs and see if they are still valid and move them to a static page too if you’d like – but be careful how you make the move and consider a 301 redirect if the information goes to a new page.

No! When it was suggested to set up a Twitter account for your business, it did NOT mean say whatever you want, personal, political, or opinionated.

For business, a Twitter account is best for notification and newly updated information about the business. Alerts to sales, specials or new blog post and pages can be done here. This is also a great area for customer control. People can get to you easily in Twitter. You can correct any misconceptions, problems or issues here. You can strike up conversations with like minded or complimentary businesses here too. Don’t forget to “listen” here to see what others are doing and saying. You can learn a lot from other Twitter voices! There are lots of things to do on Twitter without getting personal, political, or opinionated.

No! When it was suggested to set up a custom 404 error page, it did not mean that it should render as a server response of a 200 code.

There are several types of situations that can cause you (and your site) grief if not set up correctly – we could write pages on ways to set this up incorrectly. The main thing is to make sure that if you do generate a pretty custom page to use when a page-not-found occurs is to have these two things working:

1) Make sure a server response error of a 404 is generated to the spiders if they find a bad link and…

2) As an extra safety precaution, add a Meta Robots tag to the custom error page:
meta content=”noindex”

No! When it was suggested that it was a good idea to have a separate area for test pages to be viewed online, it did not mean that these pages should be shared with the search engine spiders and made index-able too.

If you set up a test area, whether using a sub-domain or separate test directory area of the site or even a totally separated URL, using an IP address or domain name then you really must disallow these areas to be indexed by the spiders until they are ready to go truly live. Having test pages accessible can cause you and your site grief here too depending on the reasons for testing pages – so be careful and protect your self until all is ready.

There are a couple of ways to keep entire websites and individual pages from being crawled and placed in the search engine indexes:

1) At the top level of your website, you can, and should, have a robots.txt file. This is a Disallow file where you can easily disallow every page of a site from being indexed or individual directories and pages. You can get specifics on how to set up a robots.txt file and how to use it at this site: www.robotstxt.org

Note: This file allows for other functionality too – again, maybe another post!

2) At the individual page level, you can add the following Meta Tag in the head area of your pages:
meta content=”noindex”

Note: This tag also has additional functionality, email me for more info if you need it.

No! When it was suggested that an online Press Release might be a good idea, it did not mean it was a good idea to have links in the press release linking to other websites.

Having a good reason to write a Press Release is great and once released that news and information is out there and can spread like wildfire. These releases are posted using online PR sites, such as www.prweb.com, www.prnewswire.com – this list goes on. But the main take away is that the content is not yours. It is not on your site. It is given to the PR sites to distribute freely. Since it is online, you want it written so that you, your website, is the main draw. You want to budget for the extra expense it can cost to add a link to your PR information and you want that link to be to your site! If it is really important to send the readers to another site for whatever reason, then do your best to have your web page linked to first in the article and then theirs in the next! Do yourself (and your site) that favor!

Also, good anchor text for the links/links can be invaluable here too – oops, another topic for another time – sorry! Enough for today! Gotta go tell some more clients “no”!!

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