Everybody tells you to do this and do that for SEO, and SEO companies can be very aggressive on their offerings - and misleading on free advices... But nobody really telling you what you should avoid when you want to increase your site's chances to be rank high on major search engines. And more important, nobody is telling you, that search-engine robots are getting smarter with every new release, they are harder to be fooled, and better mimicking/anticipating the real Internet user's behaviors/preferences. Having these in mind, let's enumerate a few bad ideas, known traps weekend webmasters often falling into:

  • Don't buy service that promises you to submit your site/link to hundreds and thousands catalogs and directories, unless you can have a full control on what and where is submitted. "Bad neighborhood" can be really damaging. One well placed link on a properly chosen site can worth more, SEO wise, than 10.000 bad back-links.
  • Don't exchange links with anyone! Be picky, choose your link partners wisely.
  • Don't exchange links and add links to sites which are not relevant for yours. I am repeating myself - sort of - but this is a really important aspect of link building! Try to find link partners with sites sharing your subjects, being "linked" to your goals. Back-links should be "natural".
  • Don't use the same title tags for your pages - all should have unique titles/meta tags/meta keywords.
  • Don't write spammy sentences in description tags. Be honest - and be creative. A properly "spiced", individual, unique, yet on subject, matching description tag can boost your chances. A spammy one can/will drag you down.
  • Don't use the same key words to all of your pages, be sure, that they have their unique ones too, beside the obviously common, site specific ones. And be sure that you don\'t fall into the trap suggestively named "keyword spamming". Once again, be honest, be on subject, and be sure, that your keywords are found in the page content.
  • Don't use the heading tags excessively. It's a well known fact, that search engines are weighting the content found in <h1> tags more, than the one s in <h2> tags and so on. But there is a limit too. Having five <h1> tags in a ten sentence document is far to be natural... and you can be downgraded because SEO spamming.
  • Don't add images without title tags filled properly. Name your images suggestively - if on the image one can see that Famous Blue Raincoat featuring Leonard Cohen, then name that image famous_blue_raincoat_featuring_leonard_cohen.png.
  • Don't build your internal-external links using just the plain <a href="/somelink"> tag with minimal syntax. See the example above - make that extra step, and provide some info for what will be seen on the next page, both for search-engines and your human visitors. The average visitor may not notice the extra info inserted, but the ones using an aural browser (as visitors with disabilities) will appreciate it. And you will be ranked higher.
  • Don't be too pushy, don't add more than 10 back-links/exchange links in a week if your site younger than 6 months. This kind of activity indicate to the search engines, that you are aggressively pushing your site. and you might be blacklisted. Google, the Big Brother is watching you! And is smart. Smarter, than you might think...
  • Don't add too much back-links to your site pages. Go for fewer, but good quality links. And let them grow naturally after the initial boost.
  • Don't be a copycat! It's true, there is not too much new to say, almost everything was already written-published on the web, but if you have something to say, try to be original. There are tools, like http://www.copyscape.com, which helps you find out, if someone else have somewhere published the same content. Check it. (Others are doing it as well),and don't risk to be banned for content stealing. Avoid to repeat same content across more pages and/or more sites.
  • Don't use black-hat SEO tricks. You risk to be banned.
  • Don't be lazy. Check what your site is doing SEO wise. Use at least Google Webmaster Tools to find this out.
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