Common SEO Mistakes

Search engine optimisation is partly about knowing what to do and also knowing what not to do. Although many people understand the basic principles behind SEO, such as link building; targeted meta tags and so on, they often overlook the pitfalls.

There are a lot of SEO mistakes that I see repeated over and over again. However, the most common is probably the inclusion of “index” when linking to the website homepage from the sub-pages. When linking to your home page, it is best to include nothing more than the domain name (eg. “www.yoursite.com” and not “www.yoursite.com/index.html”).

If you link to www.yoursite.com/index.html, or any other file extension, it is possible that the search engines will see this as a separate page from www.yoursite.com. This can cause duplicate content issues and will also split the link-score of the index page, reducing your potential search engine rankings and traffic.

Google and other search engines are fairly good at spotting that these pages are in fact the same page, but they do sometimes get it wrong. If the content has changed between robot visits, for example, it is much more likely that Google will treat them as different pages. If the PageRanks of www.yoursite.com and www.yoursite.com/index.html are different, it is a clear indication that you have a problem. However, they may have the same PageRank even if they are considered to be different pages. A more accurate way to test would be to look at the cache date of the pages. This can be done by typing “cache:” and the page URL into google (eg. “cache:www.yoursite.com” and “cache:www.yoursite.com/index.html”). If the cache dates are different, there is a problem.

This is a very common SEO mistake but can be easily avoided by using correct linking structure on your site. However, you may also consider including a 301 redirect in your .htaccess file to completely safeguard yourself from this kind of problem.

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