Within search engine optimization (SEO) there are plenty of mistakes that people make that they need to stop making. So if you do any of the following, it’s time to stop, especially if you want a new beginning for your SEO in 2011.
1. Home is Not Where the Traffic is
Sure, it’s your home page, but that doesn’t mean that you want it to rank for the word “home.” Unless you’re a real estate company or a homebuilder, it makes no sense to call your home page “Home” — and even then you’d want to expand that out with other terms that cover your business.
Your home page should be targeted to the primary terms that you’re trying to rank for. For example, if you’re a plumber, your home page title should target your plumbing services in your locality.
2. Moving the Staging Robots.txt to the Production Site
This issue happens more often than it should. If done correctly, your staging server’s robots.txt should block all spiders from crawling the site.
However, when the code is pushed live the robots.txt shouldn’t move with it. I’ve seen large sites experience a sudden dip in traffic after release, all due to the spiders doing exactly what they’re being told to do: not to index the production site — you know, the place where you used to make money…
The reverse of this is also an issue: Not blocking the spiders from the staging server. Once a link to a staging server appears in the wild, all bets are off. The staging server will then be indexed, you’ll have duplicate content issues, and the world can see what you’re up to.
Make sure to block spiders from indexing the staging server, and let them in where you want them to be on the production site. The easiest way to do this is to make sure that it’s added in as a step in your QA checklist.