Ten Website Promotion Mistakes

When promoting a website, it's essential to avoid certain tactics that can actually harm your efforts. Here are some common pitfalls that people run into while trying to market a website:

  • 1. Keyword overload. It's true that search engines rank websites based (in part) upon the frequency of certain words on each site. For a long time, this was taken advantage of by overloading pages with repetitive or unrelated keywords, and in many cases attempting to conceal those keywords from the user, but search engines have caught on and will punish sites that try to do this.
  • 2. Deception. It's both ineffective and detrimental to try to attract people who are expecting to see something different. If you advertise on Google, for example, make sure your ads are closely related to the actual content of your site, rather than popular searches that are unrelated to your business. The same goes with content on your site—make it useful and applicable to your customers' interests.
  • 3. Stale content. If you don't regularly update your site, prospective customers will lose interest and your search engine rankings will likely suffer.
  • 4. Poor site availability. Search engines—and your customers—will notice if your site is down frequently. Don't throw away your search engine placement by going with an unreliable web hosting company.
  • 5. Spam. Want to annoy your customers and possibly get in trouble with the law at the same time? Unsolicited e-mail will do the trick. You should also avoid sending messages to your customers too frequently, or sending the same offers repeatedly.
  • 6. An unfinished site. When developing a new website, it's best to start small and expand over time, rather than creating a larger site with empty pages labeled "Under Construction." It's an instant turnoff for your customers, and potentially harmful to your search engine positioning.
  • 7. Automated search engine submission. Some software applications and promotion companies offer automated submission to hundreds or even thousands of search engines. In most cases this is a waste of time and money, because the vast majority of Internet users in the United States are loyal to three search engines: Google, Yahoo!, and Bing (formerly MSN).
  • 8. Link farming. Another reason to avoid automated search engine submission is that you can actually do yourself harm by getting listed on sites with low relevance or poor PageRank. Avoid link farms, which are sites that contain hundreds of links to other sites that link back to theirs, without any useful content.
  • 9. Superlatives. When submitting your site to a directory or search engine, one way to virtually ensure that you won't get listed is to describe your site, your company or your services as "the best," "the most," "#1," or any other kind of superlative. Focus more on the benefits you offer your customers and make sure to include important keywords in the description of your company or website.
  • 10. Targeting competitors. Although it can be beneficial to study your competitors' websites and promotion tactics, it's usually unwise to copy content or design elements from a competitor's site or mention their name on your site or in advertisements (see #2). Find your own niche and learn what works for your company.

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