I always say, “Being at the top of the search engines is great, but staying there is difficult.” I say this because the search engines are in a relative state of change. They change every hour of every day because the spiders that do the crawling are always going and finding new sites and new content that changes the landscape of the competition.
In order for you to stay ahead of the game, you have to concentrate not only on doing what’s best to maximize your position, but you also have to focus on what isn’t best and stay away from it. In this post, we’ll go into detail about a few items to stay away from and remove from your site when optimizing your site.
Overfilling your Meta Tags
We discussed in a previous post that the key to the best position in the search engines is what is included in your meta tags (specifically the “keywords” meta tag). But when I advised you on this, I suggested that you be thorough, but conservative on how many and what types of keywords to put into your meta tags. The reason I suggested this is because when a search engine crawls your site, it looks at your meta tags as a way to classify your site in specific keywords.
But if you have overstuffed your meta tags with keywords, this can lead to you being banned by Google. By saying “overstuffed”, I mean using too many words in your meta tags. This can happen when you use the same variation of the same word only changing the tense, making it plural, or alternating capitalization. Another way of overstuffing your meta tags is to constantly reuse the same word in various places in the keywords. This attempt to make sure that your site is at the top by stuffing has the opposite effect. In fact, if you have a site that is ranked high, you can lose your position altogether by stuffing. Stay away from it; it only helps if you don’t want a good position.
This is one that unnerves me. It happens when I go to a website and instead of seeing a brief title of what the site is about, I see keywords in the title. Yes, KEYWORDS in the title. It’s gaudy and takes away from the quality of the site. But even then, it does more damage than that. Experts state that you need your keyword in the title tag once, no more. That is to help with the relevancy of your meta tags. But when you try to improve your ranking by putting your keywords in the title, it hurts your rankings and may cause you to be removed.
ALT Tag stuffing
This approach is less likely to be noticed by the users of the site and more by Google. If you remember from my previous post, that alt tags are small pieces of information that helps your images improve the relevancy of your site because if the pictures that you have on your site relate to the content of your site, your position in the ranks goes up. Alt tags need to be short and concise because if your picture doesn’t load or some one scrolls over the picture, the tag remains only for a few seconds. Likewise, when the search engines crawl your site, they want to see one of your keywords in the alt tag. A good example of this is if your site is about wedding photography and one of your keywords is “bride” and “photography”. If you have a picture of a bride in a dress, you could have an alt tag that says “Bride in white: Photography by EtCetera Images”. That is a good way to relate your image to your sites content.
Where webmasters can go too far is to just put plain keywords in their alt tags like I mentioned before in the title section. This is a big no-no with the search engines.
Have you ever been to a website where you scroll to the bottom and they have a set of keywords sitting there? It really gets in the way of the quality of the site and has some consequences with the search engines. But some webmasters are thinking differently nowadays. They care about your viewing experience so much that they now make it blend in with the background by synchronizing the colors. This may enhance your surfing experience, but believe me; Google hates it, so stay away.
By staying vigilant about what you put on your site, you can keep your site out of the dredges and the sandboxes that threaten to swallow any chance of making any success on the search engines.