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Dos and Don’ts of Search Engine Optimization

Old SEO, New SEO, Panda, Penguin – There are many things content creators have to worry about these days. Some people say forget about SEO, just focus on content and user. At the same time, Search traffic is important. What do we do?
Before we answer that question, let us understand Google. Google is in the business of helping people find information or answers they are looking for. So for a moment let us stop being Content creators and just be Search users. You search for something; Google shows you few search results which include blue colour headline, green colour link, and a little black colour text.

Looking at the blue colour headline and black colour text, you feel the second result will provide you the information you are looking for. You click on the second result. Let us consider 2 extreme scenarios
  1. The result is perfect. You spend 10 minutes on the page reading the content, and are happy with the information.
  2. The result is not what you are looking for, so you hit the back button in 2 secs looking for more search results.
If 2nd scenario happens once or twice, you would be fine. But if this happens consistently, you will move to Bing. This is what Google does not want. They want to show scenario 1 every time.

Now come back to being content creator. Don’t we also want scenario 1 to happen on our site?

Yes, we do. So, everything you do should ensure that your search clicks are falling into 1st category as much as possible. It will be difficult to meet all the time, but you can continue to improve your site to make sure that you are moving closer to Category 1. Search Engines as well as users will love you.

With that theory in mind let us understand things we should be do and things we should not do.
  • Do create unique and valuable content – Write content that is unique, solves the problem, and difficult to find otherwise on the web.
  • Don’t just show content scrapped from other websites - Examples of such content include RSS feeds and scrapping methods. Think if this is the information user will be happy with if he is searching for an answer.
  • Don’t redirect users to a different page from what was seen in search results - Remember, people saw your headline and summary text before clicking on the link, and they expect to see a relevant page. If you show them something different, neither user nor search engines are going to like it.
  • Don’t cloak – This is similar to previous one, don’t show a different pages to search engine and users.
  • Do show different optimized page based on device (mobile vs desktop) or geography (USA vs UK) – Just make sure this provides better user experience to the user and is not done to fool search engine.
  • Don’t get involved in unethical link building – This means don’t buy and sell links, don’t involve in link exchange, don’t leave links in signatures in forums etc to pass page rank, using links in html ads or widgets. Where ever you do not want to pass page rank (comments, affiliate links etc), add a nofollow attribute.
  • Don’t create doorway pages – Doorway pages are typically created to rank high for a particular keyword, while the goal is to send users to different page. This is different from direct redirect, but serves the same purpose. If doorway page does not offer relevant information to users, they are going to hit the back button. Users as well as Search Engine are not going to like this experience.
  • Don’t copy content from other websites including affiliates – There is nothing wrong in running an affiliate website, just ensure you are providing value in terms of product review, product comparison and other form of original content.
  • Don’t do Keyword stuffing – Keywords are important for search engine as well users, they help people find information. But repeating keywords too many times is going to irk users as well as Search Engine.
  • Do check the bounce rate – Bounce rate is important as it shows that people find a lot of valuable information on your site. But low bounce rate is not always better. It could be high or low based on goal or your site (Google, for example, will have a very high bounce rate but that is the goal for Google)
  • Do check click-through-rate – Click through rate is important as it shows that your headline and snippet is appealing in search results.
  • Do check your content for language, grammar, and readability – People should be able to easily follow your article. Good information with poor readability will not engage user.
  • Don’t link to low quality website – If you send people to low quality websites or webpages, they will not like it. Search Engines will penalize you for it.
  • Don’t run excessive ads - You need ads to fund your website. But overdoing it will annoy users, and hence Search Engine.
  • Do submit your sitemap to Google webmaster tools – Keep telling Google about your new and changed webpages.
  • Do check page load time – If it takes long time for users to load pages, the experience will send them away. Search Engine will not want to send users to such pages.
  • Do check Average session duration – It is important people are spending time on your website. If they are not, you need to provide more value to users.
  • Do check for broken links – If there are many broken links in the article, it will irk users.
  • Do create proper Meta title and Meta description – Having relevant and catchy title and snippet in search results will help users find content they are looking for.
  • Do write detailed article that provide complete answer – Give users complete answer on what they are looking for. Users will love it and Search Engine will put you higher in ranking.


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