Five Common SEM Mistakes

A number of search enginemarketing techniques won't necessarily lead to a site being red-flagged or banned by search engines, but the site won't be as optimized as it could be. There are many companies and individuals trying and failing to optimize a site that are using outdated spamdexing techniques—such as cramming keywords together. Even beginning search engine marketers realize that overusing keywords is an archaic type of SEM.

There are a number of other minor issues to consider with SEM that can really add up when you put them all together. Sure, these issues won't cause a site to get banned, but they won't help a site get a high ranking either—which, when it comes down to it, is almost like being banned. Don't fall into these common search engine marketing mistakes.

One of the major problems is with the title tag. It's common practice for websites to make the business's name the major title tag. Unless you're running a business with the name recognition of Microsoft, you should put targeted keywords in the title tag. No one is going to type "Joe's Software" in a search engine because no one has heard of you yet. And even if they have, it is much more common to type in a related search term such as "Word Processing Software" rather than a business's name.

Another problem is that budding marketers do the above step and think their work is done. While the title tag is supremely important, it is not the only thing that affects search engine ranking. If you don't provide content that both matches the title tag and is independent of the title tag, you're going to bring in fewer search referrals. Additionally, web site owners want their sites to look good, rather than read well, so they overuse graphics at the expense of content. Search engine spiders could care less about graphics; content is the most important feature for spiders. At the very least, your graphics should have a readable, keyword-targeted tag.

Now let's look at content. Often, keywords are far too generic. For Joe's Software, just plugging in the term "Software" over and over again is not really going to do the trick. Does the site have games, web design software, word processing, anti-virus? The list goes on. Additionally, is this software aimed at a specific demographic or location—a store located in a particular area, perhaps? People will type in "Buy software in Iowa" more than they'll type "Software" in a search engine. Your content should be as specific as possible. All of these issues are easy to control and implement, but are too often ignored.

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