Friday, 17 June 2011

The Seven Deadly SEO Sins

When compared to its offline marketing counterparts (things like PR, promotions and advertising), SEO has a pretty negative reputation. Many consumers hear "SEO" and think to themselves "Oh yes, that's when companies flood my inbox with junk mail and pepper my screen in pop-up ads." Others see SEO as an attempt to game the system and spin the search results.

Even though SEO has been around for long time (pretty much as long as there have been search engines), the industry as a whole still has a bad reputation. This is mainly because of the actions of a few SEO spammers and black hat practitioners. They are the ones who are actively trying to manipulate the search engines and they are the ones that send you e-mails in the middle of the night with subject lines like "A weight loss program that lets you eat cheeseburgers and pizza? It's true!"

As a site owner, you never want to have your brand lumped in with these SEO con men, even if you didn't mean to engage in black hat SEO. That is why it is important to avoid the following SEO sins:

1. Low-Quality Content

Unless you've had your head in the sand for the last few months, you know that the Google Panda update cracked down hard on numerous "content farms" that churned out thousands of low-quality, spammy articles. The update also took on regular sites with a lot of duplicate, low-quality content. Content marketing is one of the most important elements of online marketing success. Poor content won't get you anything other than a search engine penalty.

2. Keyword Stuffing

This is one of the cardinal rules of SEO, but many sites are still guilty of stuffing their content with keywords in an attempt to be more appealing to the search engines. Content should be written for the end user, NOT the search engines. Peppering your content with keywords might make it easier for a search spider to index your content, but is that search spider going to be doing business with your company? Not likely. Keyword-heavy content is one of the biggest causes of a high bounce rate.

3. Poor Site Navigation

A good SEO rule of thumb is that it should never be more than 3 clicks from your homepage to any deep internal page. If a user has to click all over your website with no idea where they are or how they got there, they aren't going to waste their time. Your site structure has to lead them down a predetermined path of information. It needs to be a logical progression through the site. If a user can't find what they are looking for the moment they arrive on your site, they won't bother to dig through your pages to find it.

4. Spammy or Duplicate Meta Descriptions

Meta tags are like little advertisements for your website in the search results. Those 150 characters are what convince a searcher that your site is the one they are looking for. They may not be the most important factor for search engines, but they play a huge part in the overall user experience. Each page needs its own Meta description that describes the content of that page! Just like the actual pages themselves, you don't want to stuff the Meta description full of keywords. Would you want to visit a site where the Meta description looked like, "Caribbean cruises, cruise the Caribbean, Caribbean cruise, Caribbean cruise vacation, vacation cruises to the Caribbean" Are you going to trust that site?

5. Irrelevant Links

Links are important currency in the online market space. The more quality, one-way links a site has pointing towards it, the better trust factor it has with the search engines. But quality is far more important than quantity. 10,000 links that come from spam blogs, "bad" sites like adult or gambling sites, cloaked text and link exchanges actually devalue your website. A link is not worth your online reputation. Too many shoddy links and the search engines will remove your site from the results entirely.

6. Copying the Competition

Each industry is unique and each site has its own set of challenges to deal with. Studying the competition is important because you need to understand the SEO arena you are about to enter, but copying the SEO strategy of your competitor will get you nowhere. Just because it worked for them, that doesn't mean it will work for you. Also, what kind of fight are you really putting up if your company just does everything the competition does? It guarantees that you will always be two steps behind.

7. Going for Immediate Results

SEO is a long-term process that builds momentum over time. You are not going to see overnight success. If that is your goal, to rank on page 1 of Google within the week, you are opening yourself up to a lot of black hat SEO techniques that will artificially inflate your ranking. While success might be sweet for a little while, the search engines are going to catch on sooner or later and you'll fall off the face of the Internet.

These SEO sins and others are the reasons why the SEO industry has a bad reputation. Some black hat SEO practitioners do them intentionally, and sometimes site owners without enough SEO experience accidentally do. The best thing site owners can do is to learn what is and what isn't acceptable for white hat SEO and consider that their line in the sand.

About The Author: Nick Stamoulis is the President of Brick Marketing, a full-service SEO services firm that also offers SEO consulting and SEO site audits. With over 12 years of industry experience, Nick Stamoulis shares his knowledge by posting daily SEO articles to his blog, the Search Engine Optimization Journal. Contact Nick Stamoulis as +1-781-350-4365 or

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Discussion Board, Google Plus One & Other News

It's been quite hectic here over the past two weeks and as a result, I haven't been able to do a blog post. Here's an insight of what's been happening...

Mirage Discussion Board

I have this week taken the difficult decision to close down the Mirage Discussion Board. Setup in October of last year, the board was aimed at providing help and support for online business owners and affiliate marketers. In addition to providing help and support, you could also post articles as well as advertise your online business.

Unfortunately over the past few months, the board has become a magnet for spammers to post their content which caused a considerable amount of work to moderate. Out of the 1000+ visitors the board was receiving per day, it was found that 99% of posts moderated were spam based. Given this and after trying everything to prevent such activity, I had no alternative but to close down the board.

On a positive note, I will be setting up a Facebook page and group in the next few days so that small business owners and affiliate marketers can continue to interact with one another. Stay tuned for more information on this.

Google +1 Button

I am pleased to announce that the Google +1 button is now installed on the blog and can be found at the bottom of each blog post and on the toolbar below. The +1 button makes it easy for you to recommend any of my blog posts to your friends and contacts exactly when your advice is most useful - on Google search.

The +1 is often used as a digital shorthand for "this is pretty cool." It's also a way for friends, contacts and the rest of the world to find great things on Google search. Google launched the +1 button back in March as a way to help share web content and make search more personal and relevant. For more information about the +1 button, you can watch this short video.

If you like my posts, try it out and let me know what you think.

Other News

1. Bloggers Network: Given all the wonderful and talented bloggers who have helped Bloggers Network grow into a strong blogging community, I am pleased to announce a new addition to the group: the Bloggers Network fan page at:

This fan page will not replace the group, in fact, it's primarily aim is to promote the group and will be used as a supplementary and support page for the ever expanding group. In addition to having another place for bloggers to post their blog links to gain exposure for their blogs, they can use the Discussion Board to create and discuss blogging topics without the worry of over-posting etc.

The Bloggers Network group is and will always be the main focus point for discussion, networking and for bloggers to grow their readership. The page is just an addition to the wonderful and strong blogging community my members have created. Enjoy and thank you for your continued support!

2. Twimates: I've recently been receiving anonymous comments on the blog post Twimates And Their Illegal Tactics stating how wonderful and trustworthy this service is. With the comments being anonymous, it doesn't take a genius to work out who's posting them :)

Again, beware of this online service given how they used illegal tactics such as hacking into the Twiends site, spam and phishing techniques to try to obtain new members. You can read more on this on the post: Twimates And Their Illegal Tactics.

3. New Domain: Now that the Discussion Board is closed and given the problems I had with my blog, Facebook and the domain back in February and March (see Related Articles below), I have now decided it's the right time to change the domain for one of my other sites ( to This new domain is currently parked until the transfer from the old domain is complete.

As I mentioned before in a previous post and because I don't want you going through the same experience as I have, try to avoid free domains such as at all costs. Free domains are subject to abuse by spammers, which in return are easily blocked from social networking sites such as Facebook. May I suggest that if you decide to obtain a domain for your blog or website, that you purchase one from services such as Go Daddy for example.

Finally, we've had some wonderful weather here in the UK last weekend so I couldn't resist going for a long bike ride. I've taken some more scenic pictures while I was on my travels and posted them on Facebook. You can view these under the album: Bike Ride Photo Collection. Enjoy :)

Related Articles:
Twimates And Their Illegal Tactics
Social SEO Is Coming With Google Plus One
Move To The New Domain Now Complete
Derek's Home & Business Blog Is Moving
Facebook Website Blocking Update
Has Facebook Blocked Your Website?
Mirage Discussion Board Open For Business

As ever, if you want to stay up to date with the latest blog posts, don't forget to follow via Google Friend Connect (button on sidebar), on Facebook or subscribe to our feed at:

You can also follow me on Twitter @djones1509 and on Facebook at:

Until my next post, enjoy the rest of the week!