August 2011
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One of the most common questions we hear when we talk about website is "How come site X is ranked higher than my site in the search engines?"

Unfortunately there is not a simple answer to this question. There are a large number of factors that will negatively affect your site's ranking. These factors are broken down into 2 camps, the on-site factors and the off-site factors. The on-site factors are those that are on your site, the ones that you have complete control over and the ones we will be talking about in this article.

Below you will find 5 of the top factors that will negatively affect your sites rankings. You have complete control over these factors and making the correct decision will produce the results you are expecting.

1. Low-Quality Content

Content has always been very important in terms of determining your sites ranking. With Google's Panda update a few months back unique, quality content, is far more important than it ever has been. The SEO mantra of 'Content is King' has never been more correct.
If your site does not have good, quality content, that a viewer would find useful, then you cannot expect your site to rank well in Google or the other search engines.

2. Using Images instead of text

For years sites have been built with graphics being used for menu items, page headers, and blocks of text. While this was usually necessary to be able to achieve the look and feel of a particular site design, this is no longer the case.
By using graphics you are denying the search engines access to important information. This goes back to point 1 regarding content. I've seen sites that look great to the eye but when you look under the hood, there is no actual content on the site. The  search engines use programs called 'Spiders'. Spiders cannot see graphics or Flash, so if you are placing important information in a graphic then you are going to be missing out on rankings.

3. Site Navigation

Being able to find information quickly is a hallmark of a good site design. Information should never be more than 3 clicks away from the index page. Not only will it take the Spiders longer to index deeper pages, it is also frustrating as a user of a website if they have to continually hunt for, and click on links to find the information they are looking for. If your information is not easy to find your users will leave and find the information they are looking on another site.

4. Copying your Competition

Doing exactly what your competitors are doing for marketing is a great strategy to fail.
Just because an SEO strategy is working for your competition does not mean it is going to work for you. Often times I see sites that just copy content directly from a competitor's website. This is not only plagiarism but it is also a practice that will see your site penalized by the search engines. You need an SEO strategy developed for your particular needs and industry, you want to be leading the pack not playing catch up.

5. Going for Instant Results

No doubt you receive a lot of email or phone calls from SEO companies that promise a top ten ranking in the search engines (Google's search engine in particular) in just a few days or weeks. While these companies can usually produce these results, like all things that are "too good to be true" this is no different. Either you will end up ranking for low quality keywords/phrase (such as your business name) or you will have a few weeks in the topten and then your site will disappear from the search engines.

Quick SEO generally uses a style of SEO called "Black Hat". Black Hat SEO uses strategies that violate the Guidelines set out by the search engines. When your site is caught using these techniques, the best case scenario you can expects is your site dropping  off in the rankings, the worst case scenario will see your site being banned from the search engines altogether, which  is difficult, time consuming and expensive to recover from.

These are the 5 main elements that you need to look at when you are wondering why your site is not ranking very well in the search engines. There are a number of other on-site factors that need to be taken into account such as headers, titles, alt-tags and out bound links to name just a few.

At KL Insight we have the experience and expertise to provide you with a comprehensive SEO strategy that will not compromise your web-presence.
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