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By Radi Hindawi

One of the first mistakes individuals make when leveraging search engine optimization and directories, is to assume that the use of these tools is an easy matter. There are no shortcuts around digital marketing. You must be prepared to spend a considerable amount of time and resources in order to yield the benefits of these tools. This may include re-building the coding of your existing design and re-structuring various modules that link to your site.

Below are key mistakes that many individuals continue to make when utilizing search engine optimization and directories to enhance their online presence.

META Tags

One of the biggest mistakes comes from the actual coding of the website. Individuals tend to forget, or avoid using META Tags in belief that they infringe on the privacy of others. This, however, is not the case. META Tags allow you to define your web pages on emerging search engines and directory listings. Even though Google no longer requires an individual to build such coding, many upcoming search engines still use this coding system as a primary means of dictating a name and valid description for a site.

The two most efficient META Tags are “Description” and “Keywords“. “Description” allows you to define your site and its content, while “Keywords” are based on words that people search to find your website.

Site Content

It is also important to structure your content in a more efficient, user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing way. One of the biggest challenges faced by many existing websites is that the information is so cluttered that search engines cannot build a valid set of tags for them. There are a couple of strategies that can be used to build a website’s content including the use of headers and sub headers, bold/italic text and even bullet points.

It is estimated that today’s users will ONLY browse through your content for around 13 seconds, so you must structure your site accordingly.

Submitting your URL

DO NOT limit yourself to Google.

It is important to submit your site to as many search engines and national directories as possible. Limiting yourself to one system may deter your future plans of growth. The current dominance of Google is likely to waver in the next ten years, in the face of fierce competition. With that being said, it is important to ensure that your site is adopted by as many search engines as possible, to compensate users that use Bing, Yahoo and even Ask Jeeves.

It is also important to look at various directories that can help boost your numbers. In Ontario, many organizations fail to submit themselves to the Ontario Business Directory and DMOZ (Open Directory Project). Even though such submission processes are time-consuming, it is crucial for every organization to research these directories, as they have the potential of sharing your site with more users and a wider demographic.

Getting Individuals/Sites to Link to you

It is also essential for you to constantly promote your site and get others to link back to you. Social networking sites do build on your page ranking, but are NOT ENOUGH to extend your sites’ foundations online. One of the most efficient ways of building ranking today is through blogging. However, the biggest mistakes made when blogging is in terms of the featured content. Always ensure that the content being blogged is:

  • Easy to read and well-organized with links, bold/italic text and bullets.
  • Directly and strongly related to the site that you are promoting. If your website is about your company, do not discuss your personal life on the blog.
  • Linking back from the blog to your website. Confirm that these links are clearly visible, active and not broken.

It is also important to keep informing your blog-followers on any updates and progress to your website, and any URL/page changes.

Radi Hindawi is a Digital Enterprise Specialist graduate from the University of Toronto’s Communications, Culture and Information Technology program. Radi has leveraged his academic background and professional experiences in web development, online communications and digital marketing to found a digital media company and manage a successfully growing blog. For more information, please visit www.radihindawi.com

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