DOT Report: SEO Oddities and Little Fixes

Tips and Best Practices

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is about a lot of little things coming together to get you ranked for that one big target you’ve set for your website. Here’s a quick rundown of five tips and tweaks that we at the Internet Marketing Association have put together for you to get the most from your website. These are focused on search engine best practices to help make sure you’re covered for common mistakes and are up to speed with changes on the SEO front.

Domains and Dashes. As a rule of thumb, stay away from dashes in domain names or sub-domains. When you use dashes for domain names, you give out mixed signals. For example, if your domain is, you probably chose it because the domain without dashes was not available. Google may think you’re just someone who is trying to con the original Magic Marker Mary out of her effort by squatting on another domain name that is similar to hers.

Files with Dashes. Although dashes are not a good idea in domains, it works otherwise for files and folders. With files, it is best to use dashes in the name vs. underscores. The reason this works well is that Google uses the “_” as a literal for search terms, in the sense that if you search for “some_term” vs. “some term,” you will see a difference in the search results.

Use of Lower Case. When it comes to file or folder names, use lower case. This will ensure that you have a uniform method of linking from within your website and externally. Capitals in file names are viewed completely differently on Linux. Some-File.html vs. some-file.html will refer to completely separate files.

Limiting Flash and Other Plugins. When you use content that is heavy with Flash or other plugins, search engines often don’t know what you have in the pages and will index your page accordingly. Use flash to enhance your website where you must, but stay away from excessive use and keep in mind that iOS devices don’t support it.

Crafty Content. When you have HTML markup that does not show up in the webpage, you are technically cloaking the content. In other words, you are showing one version to the search engine crawlers and another version to visitors. This is a big no-no for search engines and will result in your website getting kicked out of the index. You may be doing this without even realizing it. For example if you have a page with a white background where you have links in white text to other pages, your website could get caught for cloaking and kicked.

Visit the IMA Dot Report blog often, and get in touch with us if you need help with your website marketing!

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