This article was originally published on the Spectrum blog.
If you want your website to be a competitive force on the Internet, you have to play by the rules -- Google's rules, that is.
Below are the 4 biggest, most common and most dangerous mistakes plaguing today's websites. If you learn to recognize and avoid them, your website's SEO and user experience will improve.
Naturally, so will your sales.
1. Google Can't Find Your Website
If you don't put any gas in your 10-cylinder Ferrari, you're left with a beautiful, yet entirely useless, hunk of metal.
Likewise, if you don't make your website accessible to Googlebots, you're left with little more than a virtual space (that's virtually unseen) on the Internet. Googlebots (a.k.a. bots or crawlers) are programs that index millions of web pages everyday by following links. You can create the most outstanding content the world has ever seen, but it'll all go to waste if Google can't find it.
You can fix this problem by 1) browsing your website to ensure all your pages are accessible via regular links and 2) clicking here.
2. The Words in Your Copy Aren’t Highly Searched
In addition to catering to Google, your website also has to work for people. In other words, the copy on your site must contain words and phrases people search for when seeking out the product or service your business provides.
Incorporating industry-specific keywords throughout the pages of your site will help with search engine rankings. Also, avoid using PDFs and other non-text file formats on your website. Anything that isn't in plain text isn't crawlable and you know what that means.
3. You've Let Links Get the Best of You
Link building, when done properly, can be uber beneficial for your website. However, don't allow yourself to get carried away.
As crucial as links are to your website's SEO success, so is the creation of useful and compelling content. In fact, if your website contains great information that people find valuable in some way, the links will come.
Therefore, focus first and foremost on your content. Make it irresistible and things will start to fall into place.
4. Your Titles Tags Stink
Title tags are hidden pieces of code that are only publicly visible in two places: the title bar of your web browser and as the headline of your search result on Google.
Although they may seem scarce and insignificant, title tags are actually very important to the overall health of your site. They work for Google while also enhancing the user experience -- often enticing people to click through on search engine results. Make sure your title tags are descriptive and easy to understand. Write them as if they were headlines -- be concise, clear and compelling -- and you'll be rewarded with more page visitors.