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Don't Anger the Search Engine Gods!

By Tom Gilgan
Posted Sunday, September 19, 2004

Introduction

There are a few tips that can take you a long way when it comes to not poisoning your own efforts in the search engines. Instead of telling you all the great things to do (which are all closely held secrets), here are 10 things NOT to do. This is how to avoid angering the search engine gods so that you get a good ranking! I only wish someone had written an article like this and I had read it when I started so many years ago.

Repeat submission
The search engines do not like it when you submit your pages too often. It won't help you and can definitely hurt you. We like to submit our clients once a week and that is more the sufficient. If you do submit too frequently, your page will be penalized and it may be kicked out entirely.

Repeat keywords
You should be very careful how you use your keywords on your site. Do NOT repeat them over and over (ex: viagra, viagra, viagra, ...) Use this tool to get your keyword density on your home page to between 2.1 and 2.8%. The free tool is located here (http://www.babblebot.com) under the Tools section.

Over populating your Meta keywords
Don't have a list of words that could make up a dictionary stuffed into your meta keyword tag. Doing this dilutes the strength of the really important words and you won't rank well for anything. If you need to rank well for many keywords, optimize a few different pages. Keep the number of meta keywords down to around 6 words or so.

Tiny text
Have you ever seen crazy little writing on some sites? Wonder why it is there? So do we because it doesn't do anything for the owners except make them look stupid. The search engines are aware of this "little" game, and now if your font size is less then 2 in your html, you will have problems ranking with the engines. Keep the text readable or don't put it there at all.

Same color text and background
Another trick devised by the leaders in web page optimization - adult sites. Make the text the same color as the background so that no one can read it. Sorry, like the above tip it has been found out. It may have worked years ago... but no more. Don't even play the game where you keep the colors close to the background (but slightly different). Use high contrast colors to ensure you are not penalized.

100% CGI driven sites
The search engines are smart, but not smart enough to follow CGI's that have "?" marks in them to delineate the script name and the parameters. If every link on your home page is a CGI call, the spider will not follow them to plumb the depths of your site. This is bad because they are missing all the good content you have in the rest of your site. The content it could have found adds validity to the keywords, etc... that you have chosen.

Submitting too many pages
There is absolutely no need to submit every page on your site to an engine. In fact they don't like it and your ranking will suffer because of it. They have built spider's and robots to do this so that you don't have to. Submit your home url and any pages you think are key (keep it below 5). If you have a page that changes significantly, resubmit it by hand because it will get updated in the engines faster than waiting for a spider to re-visit.

Using Frames without a noframes section
The search engine spiders will not go into your frames. I have no clue why they don't. Be that as it may, there is a section called the "noframes" section you can use to get spiders to crawl your site. This is the page that gets shown if the person showing up at your site doesn't have a frames enabled browser; the spiders will look here. So have a link to every page on your site in the noframes section.

100% Flash sites
Flash is cool. If you don't think flash is cool (and you are using DSL, Cable modem or a direct connect to the internet) visit (www.heavy.com). You can do great things with flash for presentation, but the search engines aren't interested in watching movies. They can't grab any of the information they need out of the flash movies to decide how to place your site. So you must have a front page or doorway pages that have all the normal content for the search engines to use.

Fast Meta Refresh
You can't have a text filled page that the search engine likes but no human could handle and have it refresh to your real homepage. People that have doorway pages (usually very ugly pages with a lot of text that makes no sense to anyone but search engines spiders) try all sorts of things to redirect the user without seeing the page. We have built some top-secret technology to do it so that the spiders don't see, but you can't use that standard "<meta http-equiv=>" to do it make sure the refresh is for more than 15 seconds.

So that is your crash course in keeping the search engines happy. If you don't understand what I have been talking about make sure your webmaster or web developer reads this and implements everything in the article.

About the Author
Article By Tom Gilgan.
Tom is an internet architect with 7 years experience. He owns a company that provides tools for webmasters focusing on search engine optimization, ranking and submission.