Sometimes SEO isn’t about what you should do. In fact, practicing some of the common SEO pitfalls could actually get your pages penalized by Google and other search engines. It can take a lot of time and hard work to bounce back from penalties, so it’s just important to know some of the things you should not do when you’re plotting out your SEO strategy.
Below are five common pitfalls of SEO strategies for online retailers.
01: Flash does not make for good SEO.
A lot of online stores are tempted to insert Flash elements to add a little more pomp to their site designs—but don’t get too trigger-happy with the Flash. Most search engines find it difficult to crawl Flash elements, leading to indexing problems for your site and its pages. If you talk to developers, you might find out that this is a big reason why Flash is starting to become obsolete.
02: Quick product turnover hurts long-term SEO efforts.
If you’re focusing on driving traffic to product pages, turning over specific products in short amounts of time won’t help your long-term SEO efforts. Of course, turning over stock quickly is great for business. Instead of product pages, focus on category pages that retain their URLs even as your stock changes; that way, long-term SEO efforts will drive more shoppers to your site.
03: Don’t ignore your page titles and meta data.
Your shopping cart software should give you the ability to edit your page titles and meta data—crucial parts of SEO work. Descriptions, titles and other data should be comprehensive and unique—otherwise, the search engines won’t take your site seriously.
04: Duplicating content won’t get you penalized but it won’t help, either.
Duplicate pages won’t go recognized as separate entries for your SEO rankings. Only unique content will do that, so if you’re using duplicate content, make sure you do so sparsely if you’re focusing on SEO value.
05: Hidden text is filtered as spam by search engines.
In the beginning of SEO strategy, a lot of pages used hidden text to artificially increase search engine relevance. Unfortunately, this practice was quickly phased out as search engine spam filters became more sophisticated. You may get penalized for hidden text—but at the very least, it’ll be a lot of wasted time.