Continued from Part 1 last week.
Don’t try to get hundreds or thousands of links at once (especially paid or automated)
Nothing says “I’m a brand new site trying to rank really fast” by gathering a ton of links at once. The important thing to note here is intent. If you’ve got something that’s got viral and are getting tons of links in a natural state, you’re not going to have a problem. But if you’ve gone after a bunch of links from “easy” places, chances are the search engines know about them and aren’t going to assign any value anyway.
Don’t engage in non-relevant link exchanges
This one could also be named “don’t waste your time”. The value of link exchanges is debatable but we do know they don’t carry as much weight as they used to. Even less influential are link exchanges with sites that have nothing to do with your site. If it’s not relevant to your site, don’t worry about it. Just move on.
Don’t participate in link farms
Have you ever seen one of those pages that’s just crammed full of links of all sorts of topics? That’s a link farm. You don’t want your link there. Talk about bad neighbourhoods!
Don’t focus all your links on landing on the home page
Your home page is likely a gateway to all sorts of great information or products elsewhere on your site. Why not target the incoming links to the page or category that is most relevant? For instance, if you’ve got a department store site and a blog about shoes wants to link to you, ask them to link to your shoe page, not the home page.
Don’t register lots of domains using fake names and addresses
You may think you’re the sneakiest and most creative person by using fake names and addresses to register multiple domains with multiple hosting providers. However, I promise you, it’s been done before. You may see an early payoff, but it won’t last. It’s sneaky and deceptive and not the answer to long-term success.
Don’t get green pixel envy
Ahh, Google Toolbar PageRank. It’s so easy to get caught up in how many pixels of green you see on a given page, but I really wouldn’t give this more than a passing glance. PR is still important – maybe not as important as it was a few years ago, but it is definitely still a factor. However, Google Toolbar PR is only updated a few times a year. Very rarely will it give you an accurate representation of a page’s real PageRank. You’ll also want to consider if you’re on a cached version of a page, a duplicate page (caused by being logged into an account for example). If you’re a good SEO, you should be able to judge a page based on it’s quality and not need Toolbar BR
Don’t guess how to use robots.txt
Robots.txt can be a very very powerful tool. It is the best way to guide the search engines to what areas should and shouldn’t be visited. However, it is really really easy to mess up. Do not fool around with robots.txt unless you know what you’re doing. You can also use Google Webmaster Tools to check your robots.txt file to make sure it is correct.
Don’t have multiple URL variations pointing to the home page
How many URLs could there possibly be pointing at a web site? Well…
I could go on, but I don’t think I need to. The best thing to do is set up proper 301 redirects to make sure any requests for site.com are forwarded to www.site.com (or vice versa). Then, be consistent with how you refer to your home page. The last element is to place a canonical tag on the page alerting the search engines to the main (canonical) page. See here for more info: Duplicate Content No More.
It’s really easy to get caught up in these methods. Some are as harmless as just being ignored and others are harmful enough to result in penalties or exclusion. Generally, if you use good judgment and intent, and do things for the user first, you’ll be in good shape.