The world of search engine optimization is one that frequently, if not always, causes huge debates. The latter include diverse topics such from the color of the hat people are wearing, Google’s not-so-smooth attempts to give even more exposure to its own services, and the shady tactics employed by several agencies to get short-term results. There are also lesser debates that revolve around particular techniques with groups of people arguing about the effectiveness of these methods and their implications in the long term.

The number of different techniques and steps involved in search engine optimization is indeed huge. Similarly, there are many simple things that anybody can do to make sure a website or blog is properly optimized. Unfortunately, it seems that the simpler things often get overlooked. While people often take extreme measures to build quality links and jump on the social media bandwagon, they unfortunately fail to consider simple things that are probably already harming their website. This article thus lists the five most common such things that you should get around to fixing as soon as possible.

Broken external links

Much has been written about broken internal links and everybody knows the important of ensuring that there does not exist a single broken internal link on your website. However, the same attention is never paid to external links as we assume too easily that these do not matter since they are on other websites.

However, you can imagine what may happen if a large ratio of your external links is broken as search engines may start to defer crawling your website. There are thankfully many tools you can use to check your external links, and a reliable free software is Xenu’s Link Sleuth.

Extra long footers

Long footers used to be a popular thing as people would try to include links to all their strategic pages in their footer. It did not matter if they had five or twenty five of those links as they would be obsessed with the idea of showing them in their footer. However, in the post-Panda world, so many links in your footer can be regarded as a linking overload.

To make matters worse, most visitors will probably not even glance at these links. You should thus restrict the number of links to your footer to a minimum. This includes the usual footer links such as your sitemap, terms of use, and policy links. If you really need to bring more attention to those pages that were previously in your footer, there are much better ways to do so than putting them in your footer.

Opening specific links in new windows

This is another tactic that used to be popular a few years back but that have gradually turned into mistakes, especially now that usability is such a concern and that a huge portion of Internet users exclusively rely on mobiles to connect to the web. People who insist on opening external, and sometimes even internal, links in new windows often wish to do so as they fear their visitors will not return to their website.

While your first response may that that this does not actually harm your website from the SEO point of view, it does trigger a vicious circle. Consider the case of someone clicking a link only to be faced with a new window opening. Disgusted with this, he completely leaves your website after a single page view and never returns back. As your new windows keep pushing your visitors away, this behavior will start indicating to search engines that something is wrong with your website.

Of course, there is only one way to do this and that is by opening all your links normally. Rest assured that people will find the way back to your website if they wish to do so. You should in general open new windows only where specific document formats are concerned such as Word and PDF. However, considering how easy it is for someone to open any link in a new window if he wishes to do so, even these may not be necessary.

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