When web devs get cute with SEO

A lot of web developers and web designers try to venture out of their comfort zone by tackling a bit of SEO.

Unfortunately, many start learning and get a bit too excited and start over optimising their sites or they try and be cute by using techniques that either scream ‘google penalty’ or ‘desperate’ or ‘lame’.

Here’s a few examples of when some have been a bit too cute with SEO:

1. Target keyword as a file extension
Every URL on this site ends with .tint (domain.com/car-window.tint) because obviously, “tint” is a keyword.

Not sure if the web dev here thought this would fool Google or would help them get one up above their competitors but let’s just say it smacks of desperation and has no effect on rankings, at all.

Solution: ignore the file extensions and focus on better URLs for maximum SEO effect. Hyphens are good (a la WordPress stylii). Be specific! yourdomain.com/page123.html is not good. yourdomain.com/webdesign.html is good.

2. Keyword saturation overload super max!
The culprits have fixed their site now but some time ago, they managed to glean some SEO advice from me and tried their own keyword saturation techniques.

Well, they got the saturation part right but I guess they weren’t listening when I said it had to be blended in nicely and had to read well for humans as well as Google! Case in point: their keyword was ‘home loans brisbane’ and this is how some of their copy read:

“at home loans brisbane, we offer home loans in brisbane. our home loans are the best in brisbane and we guarantee to give you the best home loan you will ever find in brisbane. home loans brisbane is your #1 home loans specialist, in brisbane.”

Again, smacks of desperation and is just a tad too much. As Matt Cutts said in a video about this sort of thing, ‘we get the point!’

Solution: ignore keyword saturation and focus on writing good clean copy that will read well to a human being. Make sure your formatting is spot on and your keywords are relevant for each page.

3.Meta keyword stuffing

This happens all too often and it just gets worse and worse. Meta keywords have had no affect on rank for a very long time.

If an SEO tells you otherwise, run away from them. Meta description also has no effect on rankings but it is important for conversions because people see it in search results and you can influence the click through.

Eg. of meta keyword stuffing: <meta name=”keywords” content=”real estate, real estate brisbane, real, estate, homes, houses, buy homes brisbane, buy houses brisbane, sell house brisbane, brisbane, real estate agents, best real estate agents, homes for sale, houses for sale”>

Don’t do this, please. Not only does your page not have all of those keywords (so relevancy is next to nothing) but it’s also just dodgy and wrong.

Solution: focus on a good relevant page title (has an effect on rankings) and a good meta description that is accurate, relevant and has a call to action (no effect on rankings but helps with conversions)

Moral of the story: just try and stay within the guidelines set out by Google, as a starting point.

Network with SEO folks and perhaps get their advice before trying to be cute with your own version of SEO.

You don’t want Google to get the wrong idea but you also don’t want to look like an amateur in front of your peers.

If you’re an awesome web dev or web designer, stick to what you know and go for gold.

There’s no shame in saying “SEO isn’t my thing, so let someone else take care of it”.

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