It's A Gift

…some thoughts about gifts and giving and about life in general

SEO — What NOT To Do!

by admin - November 20th, 2011.
Filed under: Website optimization.

So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and put your products or services up on the Web. Perhaps you’ve used one of those quickie website builders offered by various hosting companies. You sit back and wait for those customers to come flocking in, and you wait, and wait some more . . . Chances are your website is not well optimized and the problem is that nobody even knows that your site exists.

Several people have left comments on this blog promoting their SEO services and/or paid plugins that promise to bring more traffic. Since I am on my usual "shoe-string" budget, these offers don’t appeal to me. (Even if your budget is unlimited, I would advise you to thoroughly research any individual or company that advertises these services before signing a contract. There are tons of self-styled "SEO experts" who may turn out to know just enough to be dangerous. So-called "black hat" techniques could result in your website being banned by Google, leaving you in a worse situation.)

I was lucky enough to come across information about a free on-line class on SEO. Here’s a link to it:
seo optimization classes I took this class and several associated classes. (As a matter of fact, I think it’s time I went back for a "refresher course".)

The classes helped tremendously, both in giving me an understanding of the subject and basic command of coding so that I was able to completely overhaul my sites. Unfortunately, they could not overcome my apparently innate talent of shooting myself in the foot.

One of the topics that is covered involves choosing domain names. The basic idea is to pick a keyword rich phrase that is unique enough to stand out when people search for your specialty. Somehow, when I decided that I should split up an existing website to try to promote my gift baskets on their own, the only advice that stuck in my head was "Don’t use your company name as your domain name. Nobody will search for that except people who already know you." So, what did I do? I somehow chose one of the worst ever domain names better-gifts-and-giftbaskets.com Not only is it too long and clunky, I didn’t even get "gift baskets" in there as I combined the words since I already had an awful lot of hyphens. Later on I found out that "better" is one of those words that Google simply ignores. Now I’m stuck with it as I really don’t want to start all over again. Because that domain name was so long and forgettable, I decided that I needed to register yet another domain that would point to my gift basket site, so that I could use a shorter name on business cards, emails, etc. Anybody want to guess what I used for that? Yup, you got it — it’s a form of the registered service mark for my gift basket company. Of course, since I had now developed an antipathy to hyphens, I used the "scrunched up" version, www.greenbriargiftbaskets.com. Hmmmm, two domain names and I still don’t have the gift basket keyword phrase! All I can do about it now is to make sure that my page titles are much better than the overall domain names. Don’t do what I did — think long and hard about what you need you domain name to do for you. I would also suggest that you write down your favorites, then re-visit the list in a couple of days and again in a week or two, before you make your final choice and register your domain.

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