Ian Lurie // Oct 8 2007
The following are the three most common forms of SEO suicide:
AJAX lets your web browser load new content into a page without loading a new page. It’s a great way to add interactivity and speed to your site.
So, if you use AJAX as a navigation device, you’re doomed in the search engines:
A human says: Oooh, neat!…
…A search engine says: Doh! I can’t read any of this!
While search engines see a few links on this page, the links go back to the same content again and again. So StumbleUpon’s video page is invisible to search.
Solution: Use AJAX for things like your shopping cart, checkout process or other things requiring interactivity. Don’t use it as a navigational tool. You can, of course. But if you do, count the natural search results (which generate about 75% of all search traffic) out of your marketing plan.
Search engines can’t interpret Flash. They just can’t, OK? Sure, they can crawl a link or two, but that’s it. See AJAX, above. You’ll have the exact same problems, only worse.
This site won a Webby Award. Woo hoo!!!!…
…Too bad search engines can’t see a thing.
Solution: Exercise common sense. Sorry, but I can’t even find a way to be polite about this. Flash has been around for a long time. There are lots of ways to get the same look you see above, without making it 100% Flash. But the agency involved did it anyway. It’s a brilliant piece of visual design that permanently limits this site’s ability to get found. Which is even more tragic when you realize that the site’s goal is to make us aware of child homelessness. How many more people would get this message if the site were search-friendly?
Lots of drop shippers and other online stores simply cut-and-paste product descriptions from the manufacturer’s site. It’s easy, and the manufacturer gives them permission, so why not?
Because search engines will ignore all of the content you copy. That’s why. Search engines work hard to remove duplicate content from their listings. They don’t hate you. But they will ignore or remove any pages on your site that are a copy, or a near copy, of another page on the internet.
Solution: Write original content. Or rewrite those product descriptions. Thoroughly.
I used a text-only web browser called Lynx to test the sites in this article. You can download Lynx from lynx.browser.org.
All three of the problems I’ve described are easy to avoid. There’s almost always an alternative. So just don’t commit SEO suicide, OK?
Ian Lurie is founder and CEO of Portent Inc., an internet marketing agency that has provided internet marketing, including PPC, SEO, social and analytics services, since 1995. Read More