As a marketer, you probably spent a lot of time and effort crafting your website to help catch potential customers’ attention, capture new leads, and ultimately generate new customers. However, if your website does not rank well in the top search engines, odds are that you will never get in front of your prospective clients and all of your hard work will be wasted. While Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, can be a complicated process, if you steer clear of these top 7 on-site mistakes, you’ll be on your way to a better ranked page.

1.)    Targeting for the Wrong Keywords: Choosing what keywords you want your site to rank for is a critically important part of the SEO process and unfortunately, one that commonly fraught with mistakes. When deciding what keywords you want your site to rank for, make sure you are taking the perspective of someone who would be searching for information that your site provides. Instead of picking words that just describe your site, ensure that you pick words that are commonly searched by end-consumers.

2.)    Keyword Stuffing: A few years ago, you could cram a bunch of keywords into a poorly written article with little context and satisfy the search engine’s keyword density requirements. However, since then the people over at Google and the other main search engines have wised up, and now sites can actually be delisted on the engines for content that contains keywords but is not contextual or helpful. Bottom line: make sure your content contains keywords, but still delivers value to the end-reader.

3.)    Overuse of Flash: Flash allows you to create some interesting visuals on your site, but while those cool graphics may be eye catching to your users, all of the content within Flash is completely invisible to search engines whose crawlers are unable to read it. To rank higher on search engines, limit your use of flash or provide an html version of the site that is easier for the crawlers to read.

4.)    JavaScript Navigation: JavaScript is often used in navigation for websites. However, much like Flash, search engines have a hard time reading JavaScript. This is a problem when used in navigation because engines cannot follow your links and assign appropriate authority to your pages. You can still use JavaScript, but make sure you create a sitemap that the engines can crawl or put links in a noscript tag.

5.)    Focusing Too Much on Meta Descriptions: A meta description is the text that a user will see under a search title when browsing through search engine results. This text is important as it may help drive higher CTRs once users have reached the search result page, but it is no longer used as a ranking factor in any of the major search engines. This means that while you should craft good marketing copy that will entice users to click on your link, your time may be more effectively spent crafting title tags and other SEO elements that will get your page moving up in the rankings.

6.)    Not Having Fresh Content: Fresh content indicates to search engines that your site is relevant, and thus ranks higher in search results. Therefore, having a site that remains untouched for months at a time is a surefire way to tumble in the search results. An easy way to ensure that your site is being updated frequently enough is by adding a blog to your site. Update it with relevant articles and polls 3 to 4 times a week to help boost your page rank.

7.)    Thinking SEO is a One-Time Project: SEO is not a one-time exercise. Auditing your site and completing major overhauls to site structure and other SEO cornerstones is only the beginning of the SEO process. You must continue to upload keyword-rich content, maintain best practices when creating title tags, and continually be looking for sources for inbound links in order to stay on top in the search engines.

Sometimes SEO can feel like a moving target, with the search engines continually switching algorithms and never fully disclosing their methods. However, if you can manage to avoid these mistakes, you are on your way to SEO success.

Posted by Nicole Hall, Account Manager with Mobilize Worldwide. Mobilize Worldwide develops mobile apps, mobile ad campaigns, mobile websites and just about anything else related to mobile marketing for brands interested in growing their sales and revenue using this new and emerging medium.