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SEO Mistakes Online Sellers Should Avoid

When optimizing your website, remember the blind men and the elephant.

Q: What are the most common SEO mistakes online sellers make when trying to optimize their websites?

A: The answer to this reminds me of a parable. In the story of the blind men and the elephant, six blind men each feel a part of the elephant and describe the elephant based on what they have felt. Each blind man asserts he is right and the others are wrong. The moral of the story is that, although they were all partly correct, they were all wrong.

Most people who learn SEO do so online. They take in one article or video at time and then go to work on their sites based on the parts they have learned. Often, people learn about a method that works or has worked, but apply only part of it, while missing out on some key elements that would make the difference between success and failure.

The most common SEO mistake when using Google’s keyword tool

Suppose you decide you want to run a website for dating in Los Angeles, and the term “LA love” pops into your head as something you should try. You look it up in Google’s keyword tool and OMG, you have hit the jackpot! Local monthly searches number 45.5 million—that’s more than 10 times the population of Los Angeles looking for love every month—and the competition for that keyword is low.

Not so fast! First off, the most common mistake made by people who use Google’s keyword tool for SEO is not checking the box for exact matches when looking up the volumes on keywords. The default is set to broad match, which means any search that includes the term “LA love” within or around the search string. So “my la love,” “la la love” and “la love of money” are all included in the tally. Once you limit your search to only the exact match—that is, looking up the number of times people type in exactly “LA love” as their search—you are down to only 260 local searches per month.

Confusing meta keywords with meta description

There are thousands of articles advising you look up keywords and insert them into your meta data, and this is good advice but it’s often misunderstood

Have you ever seen the results of a search in which the descriptions are lists of comma-separated keywords that go on until they’re cut off by a series of dots? There are thousands of articles advising you look up keywords and insert them into your meta data, and this is good advice but it’s often misunderstood.

A common SEO mistake is to confuse the terms meta title, meta description and meta keywords. Most Web development software and content management systems include the ability to add in these three forms of meta data, but the only two that count are the title and meta description. Adding a list of keywords in the meta keywords section is a relic of the past, and it is a very bad move to treat your title and meta description as a place to list keywords you wish to rank for.

A common SEO mistake when writing titles and meta descriptions

Usually, the title and meta description are published exactly as you have written them. It’s essential to include the term you are optimizing once in the title, and once in the meta description, but use the rest of the 65 title characters and 160 meta description characters to explain why your site has exactly what the person searching for that term is looking for.

This runs contrary to the common practice of fitting as many keywords as possible in the title. These days if you want to go for more keywords, you are better off creating more pages and dedicating each page to a keyword.

Avoiding future SEO mistakes that are sound methods today

Every SEO method is based in part on some technique that works, or has worked at one time. Like the blind men in the story, they are all in part right, but it would be wrong to assert one method as being the complete or only solution. Never rely on old SEO advice without doing further research to see if it still applies. When applying a technique, make sure you learn the details of how to apply it, or you are likely to miss something critical to your success.

About the author

Kent Hinesley
Kent Hinesley is a consultant with He specializes in helping local businesses take advantage of their best opportunities for increasing site traffic and conversions. Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

  •  Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a technique that you can use effectively to create a listing of your product in  business platform for better traffic. The best  Business listing should basically include -writing good content, smart keyword placement on your pages, and exact inbound links.

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