Search engine optimization (SEO) is a very important technique for you to familiarize yourself with as a company owner or employee. Without SEO, you will not be able to even hope for a good ranking in the search engine results pages. What exactly does this mean? Naturally you want your site to be seen by as many eyes as possible since this raises your chance of turning these people into customers. SEO helps a site move its way up the rankings in Google. Think about how you use search engines for your own use. Do you normally look further than page 1 or 2 of results? Exactly. This is where you want to be and it will take a lot of work to get there. Naturally, that’s why marketers like you and I are doing all we can to come up with a very good SEO campaign.

As important as SEO is, if you are tinkering around with your site as you learn these techniques, you may be actually hurting your own SEO efforts (or the efforts of your outsourced team which will undoubtedly cause much tension). Here are some of the practices with which you could render your efforts futile:

Black Hat SEO Techniques
If you’re implementing “black hat” or unorthodox SEO techniques, then you’re certainly going to hurt your SEO plans the moment you begin to do so. In general, Google lays out the rules of what the industries best practices are in the Google Webmaster Guidelines and while it is common practice in the industry to stray a bit from these rules, venturing too far out can greatly hurt your efforts. Utilizing these techniques will make the search engine mark you as a spam, and not index your site for ranking. Common black hat techniques include excessive link farming, keyword stuffing and hidden content. The latter is accomplished by hiding content from search engines and making only the keywords visible, to give the appearance of a well-optimized website to the crawlers but an annoying one to the human viewer. Keyword stuffing is abusing keyword optimization, to the point that they are no longer used naturally.

Too Much Use of Flash Animation
With the coming of broadband, Flash-based animation is getting popular. Yes, people prefer video rather than text because it’s much easier to listen to the audio and watch the video rather than read text. However, Flash-based animation is not recognized nor indexed by the spiders sent by the search engines to crawl or index your website. This means that if you rely too much on Flash-based animation in your website, then you’re not getting to get ranked for your keywords.

Misuse of Anchor Text
Anchor links are very useful: they help alert your viewers that there is a different site that could help them find the information that they are looking for. That’s why it is important to put in anchor links in your content so that your viewers can visit other relevant sites to your website. However, it is a big mistake to use the wrong anchor links for your text. Using the appropriate anchor text will show the search engine crawlers what the content of the website that the link points to is all about, and whether it is relevant to your content.

In general, if you are new to SEO or are making any major changes to your site that could impact the efforts your team is making to optimize the site, always be sure that these changes won’t undermine your overall goals.