Goofy Mistakes that Hurt Your Search Engine Rankings
One thing is for sure, you don't want to spend hours, perhaps days, months, or years on a website to have some stupid little mistake get your site dropped or never even listed in the search engines. There are a lot of rules that search engines have created to block out what they call spammers, so don't kid yourself by telling yourself you are not an evil spammer. As the courts might say, ignorance of the law is no excuse. So what kind of horrific mistake could sneak upon you and possibly ruin all your hard work?
When I first starting making web pages, I created basic templates that I used for an entire site. Of course it's great to have a uniformed look for your site, but what if you had a screw up on a template you used over and over again. What kind of screw up? How about hidden text or a hidden link? You see the old WYSIWIG editors, like the older versions of FrontPage sometimes leave behind links within the html code even after you've deleted the link. As far as hidden text, that can happen by not paying attention to what you are doing. If you make hundreds of pages eventually you might accidentally color some of your text the same as your background. You say it's not likely. I wouldn't think so either, but it's happened to me several times. If you use the mistake ridden template over and over again, you might have a problem. It's generally understood that search engines frown on hidden text and links. How many will they overlook is anybody's guess. So if you haven't checked your old web pages, it might be profitable to check out your html code. Look for urls with no link text in the code. You can usually find hidden text by simply highlighting your webpage in your browser.
If you find out you have the problem over hundreds or thousands of pages, it might be worth investing in Microsoft FrontPage 2003. It has a split screen that helps in finding html errors, and best of all you can do a site wide search and replace. The software will find the code you search for, and all you have to do is leave the replacement code box blank, thus removing the offending hidden link.
The good news is that there are some other ways to avoid this problem altogether. You can learn CSS for template designs for instance. A trick I like to use is Server Side Includes (SSI) for my links menu. To make it work you have to have two things, a code like this [an error occurred while processing this directive] with your links menu page inside the code, and your server has to be set to take it. Most servers are automatically set to use SSI includes in shtml pages, but most web hosts allow you to pick .html or .htm pages to parse. The only thing to keep in mind is it puts an extra task for the server to perform on each and every page that contains the extension you choose to parse. For example one of my web hosts has in their control panel a apache handler section. I simply go there put server-parsed in the Handler box, .htm in the extension box, and click add. That's it. Now if I need to add a link to my menu I change one page the menu.htm page and I'm done.
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The SEO Gurus poem
Am I alone as I survey that vast wilderness outside,Sat at home every day fettered by my own foolish pride,I may believe I can conceive stunning cunning plans,Yet I perceive the web I weave is lacking vital strands,It may transpire my destiny is to conquer virtual space,But I must wire the best of me to another spidery face,For although knowing everything about business and site,To grow means throwing other experts in to get it right,So even this experienced spider who spins webs so fine,Needs for bliss a guider to show the whole world online,His creation, born bred and reared , now standing serene,Will evoke elation and be revered if it can only be seen,There's no point in Picasso no mike in Michelangelo,If the joints a no go and the sound man doesn't show,So that treasure you're concealing from total global view,Measures up and has meaning with others helping you,We all have inborn talent and also inborn failings,So often scorn a balance, chained to our own railings,And our world misses a website that deserved to be a star,But not unfurled in all its might, merely cowering from afar,Why not take your Van Dyke, or Rembrandt seen by few,And let us make it see the light, exposed to global view,Don't hide them in shadows behind barriers of your mind,Where pride and jealous arrows make them hard to find,Instead turn to experts just as good as you would like to be,Who you'll learn to trust, and who will set your website free.John Fowler trained as a Mathematican and has worked in the IT industry for over 30 years, much of the time in sales related functions.
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