In my other articles, I generally try to point out different
web site promotion tricks and techniques that work, or talk
about different obstacles and how to overcome them. This
article is a bit of an exception. It doesn't explain what
to do - instead, it is about the things you should avoid
I've made many of the mistakes described here myself back
when I was starting out, and I know that a lot of people
who are new to web site promotion make these mistakes every
day. Believe me, it's better to read about common errors
and learn to avoid them than to do them yourself. I learned
the hard way...
Search engine mistakes
Search engines are a key part of promotion and because they
are so important, there are a lot of untruthful rumours,
misconceptions and outdated secrets circulating about them.
Perhaps the most common one is the good old "invisible
text" technique. It is pretty simple: Add some text
to your page that is in the same color as the background.
Include keywords to this text - the search engine sees it
because search engines don't "see" background
colors, but your visitors will never know it's there.
This method used to work in the stone age of search engines
and you can still see some pages out there that use it.
In time, search engines have gotten pretty efficient in
dealing with this sort of manipulation. Getting caught while
doing this can result in having your rankings dropped as
a penalty, or even having your site completely banned from
the engine in question. Try to avoid the "invisible
text" technique if possible. If you really have to
use it for one reason or another, do it with CSS. But don't
come crying to me if (when) you get burned...
A similar trick is to add extremely small text, stuffed
with repetitions of the keywords you're trying to target,
to your page. The purpose is similar to the "invisible
text" technique, to hide the keyword content from the
visitors while allowing search engine spiders to see it.
Of course small text isn't entirely invisible, but coupled
with a suitable picture in the background, it might be almost
unnoticeable. This "small text technique" is another
old trick which is very risky nowadays. Using this technique
is hardly worth the risk and the design problems that come
Let's move on to another serious mistake commonly made by
webmasters just starting out with search engine promotion.
They might have heard from somewhere that certain keywords,
for example those related to the adult industry or different
celebrities, are really popular and get searched thousands
and thousands of times each day. So even while their site
is for example about 19th century firearms and has nothing
to do with those things, they decide to add tens of unrelated
adult words to their META tags and in the worst case, even
into the actual text of their page.
When doing this, they are wishing that because the keywords
are so popular, their site will be seen by many and they
will get a lot of visitors. This is not a good search engine
promotion method, as it will only bring them visitors that
are looking for something else than what the site is about.
Once the visitors realize that the site is not what they
are looking for, they'll leave in a heartbeat. Believe me
and only optimize your site for keywords that are relevant
to your site.
Another thing to keep in mind is not to overdo it when you're
optimizing your pages. Repeating your primary keyword 100
times at the top of the page will not get you the top spot
on search engines, on the contrary it will hurt you and
might even get you into trouble. Moderation is the key -
use those keywords often, but not as every other word!
Our final search engine mistake is using the META refresh
tag. The details about this tag can be found in the "Meta
tags" article. Read it, and leave this tag alone.
General web site promotion
Well, I don't know if this is actually a web site promotion
mistake, it might be more like a general web site building
tip. Anyhow, I think it's important, so here it comes:
Do not rely on free web site hosts. They are great if your
ISP doesn't offer you space and you want to create a modest
homepage just to show you're on the Net, but if you're planning
to build a more serious site, I'd say a domain name and
a paid host is almost a must. Domains and hosting space
are cheap nowadays and they are well worth the money spent
on them. First of all, good paid hosts are faster and more
reliable than free hosts. Second, a domain name gives your
site some authority - it shows you're serious and your site
is going to stay around for awhile. This is extremely important
if you're trying to sell something, because you'll need
to make your visitors feel comfortable to send their money
Another point to consider is that it's generally easier
to get a site with a domain name into search engines and
directories. It is a lot harder to do that if your site
is hosted on a free host. It's not impossible, but web site
promotion is a tough game, there's no reason to make it
any harder. So spend a few bucks here if you can - you'll
get them back later, with interest.
There is one more subject to cover before we're finished.
That is, wasting your money on bad submitting services.
I've seen thousands of spams that scream "We'll submit
your site to 15000 search engines and directories for the
low price of $49.95". Don't be fooled by them. The
majority of those 15000 places produce minimal traffic,
as there are hardly even 150 significant global engines.
I'd advise against paying for these services, unless you
can test-drive them first for free and pay only if you are
satisfied with the results.
Note that the above does not mean you shouldn't pay for
different web site promotion services. There are promotion
tools that are worth the money and people who can do wonders
for your site if you hire them. However, remember to investigate
before you buy. Ask other people about their experiences
with the service you're considering to purchase before buying
it - you might save a lot of money.