Mistakes of search engine marketing

Typically I reserve this SEO case study information for my Dan’s Notes, but I thought I’d turn it into today’s blog post. Mistakes of search engine marketing attempts will certainly lead to no traffic. So here’s some tips to help you for sure.

I met with a group who needed marketing help this week, but they said they didn’t need SEO help – they needed Social Media help. That sounded fun, but after meeting with them, I realized they needed something I don’t do.

They needed someone to start and manage their social media. I don’t think any company should have an outsider speaking for them in the social media sphere so I can help them with the structure, design and strategy but they’ll have to do the social media interactions on their own .

I did send them some tips about their website SEO though, and thought I’d include them here.


I stumbled around the site for a category page to see how it was optimized. This was the url of that page: (I changed the site name so that link shouldn’t work).


Category pages are great pages to optimize for the search engines  because they see new content when anything new is added to that category.  However, their page wasn’t optimized for anything so let’s take a look at some things you could do.

Let’s start with their URL (http://www.holydoly.com/categories/281). Their site is about Gourmet Foods so the keyword Gourmet Foods should be in the url. Try something like  http://www.holydoly.com/gourmetfoods/ or http://www.holydoly.com/category/gourmetfoods/


Secondly, the title tag (the words you see at the very top of the computer screen) reads: Gourmet Foods, by Holydoly – Your Source For Luxury Shops Online

Other than Gourmet Foods, none of those other terms are relevant to that category page. The title tag bar is more useful to search engines than buyers, so optimize it for the organic searchers. One of the mistakes of search engine marketing is to ignore how people search and assume you know what’s best.

And unfortunately, Gourmet Food and Gourmet Foods are really too difficult to compete in with a retail site. The other problem with the term Gourmet Foods is that it is a really broad term. Buyers start searching with wide terms and then narrow the search the closer they are to buying. Gourmet Foods is that “first search”.

Better, more targeted and easier to dominate keywords would include:

  • Gourmet food stores
  • Gourmet food retailers
  • Gourmet food gift basket(s)
  • Gourmet food online

These are the terms I’d focus on for this page. I’d then change the title tag to something like:

Gourmet Food Gift Basket | Gourmet Food Stores Online (you don’t need the name of your company in the title tag on a category page)


Now this is going to be a bit more advanced, but it is important. You really want to rank in the search engines for all four of those terms. So when you link to your site from other sites, use those terms as the text that links back. We call that anchor text.

[stextbox id=”info”]The words SEO Tips in this sentence are the anchor text links that lead back to this page.[/stextbox]

One other thing, they don’t have any meaningful text on the page, just pictures of the products they’re selling. If you add a description on the page at the top, you’ll be able to use your keywords on the page. And a description can help build a story and pre-sell these items. I’d suggest having between 350 – 500 words per page – even if that means the text is scattered amongst the photos.


Images need to be optimized. I right-clicked on a photo on the site and pressed “view photo”. The url at the top said:


If you found that photo on their computer, it has the name HomePagePhotoRetouched.jpg, but the photo itself was of gourmet wine. They need go back to the photo on their computer and rename it gourmet-foods-wine-online.jpg or something like that – and then upload that to their website. (there probably are better gourmet wine keywords than that).

Other than some additional information about the internal linking structure of their site, that’s pretty much what we discussed. If you can think of some other general SEO tips to look for onpage, leave a comment. Otherwise, sign up for Dan’s Notes (below) and read more about our meetings.

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