OK. So you think you optimized your content on your website. You are awaiting the throng of people the search engines will send to your site. But wait! Nothing is happening? Perhaps you are sending “mixed signals” to the search engines. Learn of 8 ways that you may have sabotaged your own SEO efforts:

1. Your Title Tag is too long

The maximum number of characters for title tags is 70, including spaces. The targeted keyphrase, if the page is an authority page for a certain phrase, should be in the beginning of the title tag. This is the first place the search engines will look to your page to determine relevance to your content as is relates to the phrase. If your tag is too long, and your targeted phrase is at the end, the search engines won’t find it.

2. Your META description is too long

The maximum number of characters for the META descriptions is 165 characters, including spaces. The targeted keyphrase, if the page is an authority page for a certain phrase, should be in the beginning of the META description. And while the search engines do not factor this tag into the algorithm of whether your page is relevant for that particular phrase, if the phrase is included, it will be bold on the search engine results page, and more likely to have a visitor click on your page, as opposed to your competitors.

3. Your Headings are too long

While there is no limit to the number of characters in your H1 tag, remember that your visitors are first scanning your information, then, if it is relevant to them going back to read thoroughly. Long or wrapping H1s tend to work poorly when compared to concise, targeted keyword focused H1s. If your message is long, but important, consider using three to four words in the H1, and the rest of the heading as an H2 to visually break up the message

4. Your Headings are missing targeted keyphrases

H1s are also factored into Google’s algorithm for determining relevance of targeted keyphrases. Long, wordy, or vague H1s will be confusing not only to the search engines, but to the visitor as well. Avoid using your branded terms in the beginning of the H1 and instead use targeted phrases to describe the service.

5. Your page is missing H1s and H2s

Every page should have a heading on it, as an indication to the visitor, and the search engines, of what the page is about. Pages that are not an authority page for a specific phrase, need to have a compelling, and concise Header.

6. Your page has too little content

In general, a page should have a minimum of 200-250 words of content. Pages with less content are in danger of not being indexed by Google and other search engines. Pages should either be elaborated upon to have more content, or else included in the parent page of content, and not have their own dedicated page.. Alternatively, you may want to combine them into a single page about the general subject.

7. Some pages have duplicate content

This is more common than you think, especially when copying and pasting your press releases into a press section of your site. Think about the “About Us” section of the press release you syndicate. Then image it on every press release page on your site. The search engines will penalize a site for having pages that have identical or similar content on more than one page.  It is imperative that each page have completely unique content, or else the pages will not be indexed, and therefore not show up in search engine results.

8. No links on targeted keyphrases throughout your content to reinforce authority

Once you have established certain pages to be authorities on certain phrases, you should use the remainder of your pages to reinforce the authority, by linking on the phrases to the respective pages. Without this reinforcement, your visibility on these phrases will not be as strong. Consider internal links as “votes” on the relevance of these phrases from within your own site.