As many Web designers soon discover, the vast majority of website traffic generally comes from search engines. In order to establish a successful website, it is absolutely vital achieve high rankings in search engine results. Unfortunately, search engine optimization (SEO) mistakes can prevent high quality sites from achieving top search rankings.


Succeeding in search engine marketing (SEM) is a surefire way to make it to the top of the major search engines. Your ranking in Google is one of the biggest determinants of website success, but you should also consider your MSN rank and Yahoo! rank as well.


With the abundance of search engine optimization tips and guidelines available, it can be difficult to determine which strategies are effective and which are not. The following common SEO mistakes and search marketing myths can help you avoid these errors and determine which tactics you should use in your optimization efforts.


Mistake No. 1 – Thinking search engine optimization is too difficult and complex


In reality, the basics of search engine optimization are relatively simple and easy to learn. Unfortunately, many Web designers simply feel intimidated and overwhelmed by SEO. The sheer quantity of often-contradictory advice makes optimization seem like an insurmountable task for beginners.


The biggest SEO mistake you can make is to ignore the effects of optimization. Instead, focus your attention on learning the basics of search engine optimization, such as how to select keywords and how to write effective page titles. By taking just a few simple steps, you can dramatically improve the search ranking of your website.


Mistake No. 2 – Believing that keywords are not that important


Another common search marketing myth is that keywords are not that important to SEO. In reality, keywords are the crucial element standing between you and success. Well chosen keywords can help you reach out directly to people who are searching for the information, services, and products you provide. Poorly chosen keywords will lead to low search ranking and minimal site traffic. Always consider your audience and what they are searching for when selecting keywords and keyword phrases.


Mistake No. 3 – Submitting your site to directories and ignoring SEO


One of the most persistent search engine optimization mistakes is the belief that submitting your site to directories is all it takes to earn a top search ranking. While establishing links on these directories is certainly important for optimization purposes, these links alone will not lead to success. You can amplify your efforts by also optimizing the content on each of your Web pages. Choosing great keywords, writing great content and using keywords effectively are the best ways to maximize your potential and draw in an abundance of site traffic.


Mistake No. 4 – Not optimizing previously existing content


If you have an already established site, going back and optimizing your previously existing content can seem like a pointless task. But it’s worth it! Well-optimized, high quality content is the best way to break into the top ten search listings. You already have the great content, now you just need to optimize it for search. It may take some time, but the most successful websites are those that invest the time and energy required to grow and succeed.


Mistake No. 5 – Not using keywords effectively


While your META title and META descriptions are important to your SEO success, these items alone are not enough to earn a top search ranking. In order to reach the top in search engine results, you need to also optimize the text on each of your Web pages. Well-optimized content uses keywords throughout the page text, makes use of bolded subheadings, and is written specifically for online readers. Using short paragraphs, bulleted lists, and highlighted key terms is the best way to make your content readable and search engine friendly.


While many search marketing myths persist, understanding effective search optimization can help you overcome these mistakes. By learning a few basic techniques, optimizing existing content, and applying your strategies to new content, you can establish a top ranked site. Start your journey toward success today by implementing a few of these SEO strategies.