If you are always optimizing pages then you probably know how easy it is to overlook small, but important things. The big stuff like keyword research, good copy and links, are all the easy stuff to remember because that's what SEO is all about. But it's the small things that, when over looked, can often throw the biggest wrenches in the works for an otherwise well-optimized site. Here are the three most commonly overlooked tasks when uploaded new or changed content to your website:

Spell Check: Many times I've been on my site and only made a couple of small sentence changes. I type it, I read it and I save it and upload it. Only later do I realize that that small change contains one (or more) spelling or grammatical errors. It was such a small change and my quick review didn't spot anything wrong, but sure enough, it was there. Large changes or small changes, inevitably, errors are bound to occur.

Nothing wreaks of unprofessionalism more than spelling or grammatical errors on your site. Sure, most people will give you a pass on one or two, but any more than that and you're in trouble. Take the time to spell check EVERY time you make a change to a page. Doing so will save embarrassment from having someone else point it out to you, or worse, not tell you, allowing it to stay on your site for weeks, months or even years!

HTML Validation: Validating your code is not entirely important for optimization, but it will ensure that there are no coding errors that will prevent search engine spiders from downloading the full content of your pages. If you've ever gone through the process of validating your code you have likely encountered many "errors" that really have no effect on how a page displays or the search engine's ability to decipher the page content. Is it really worth it to add alt attributes to every image on your site? The answer to that (along with all the other validation errors that pop up) is: absolutely. It might take some time the first pass in validating each page, but getting those errors down to zero (or as few as possible) is worthwhile in the long run.

We validate (as much as possible) all our clients’ sites. This way, whenever we or the client goes back in and makes a change, we run a validation check and know right away if a crucial validation error pops up. With an unvalidated page or pages left with dozens of validation errors, it’s much more difficult to pinpoint that one error that may be a problem. Keeping pages validated allows you to immediately know when something is truly wrong, no guesswork.

Check Broken Links: Like spell check, broken links happen quite easily. Sometimes a page may accidentally be deleted, or even purposefully and you didn't remove all the references to that page. Or maybe an external site which you have linked to has moved or gone defunct. As long as those broken links are in place both visitors and search engines are likely to follow them. When they are, you're making a pretty significant announcement about your ability to keep your information current and up to date! You should check for broken links at least once every couple of months, if not every month. Find them and fix them!

Once each of these checks are performed and issues fixed, upkeep from that point doesn’t take much time at all, but the benefit of performing these checks can be substantial. Website marketing is all about establishing your credibility. Lose credibility with your visitors; you'll also lose credibility with the search engines... and vice versa.

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September 19, 2006

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.

Search Engine Guide > Stoney deGeyter > Three Final Checks for Your Optimized Pages