Top 10 SEO MythsBy Howard Farmer • Oct 1st, 2008 • Category: Lead Story, SEO Advice
There are so many myths about SEO Advice that we hope to elucidate and clarify so called SEO myths below …..
1. SEO is about secret strategies
There is a SEO myth that there are secret strategies and methods employed by SEO experts that result in top SERPs (search engine result pages). Of course, this is bunkum although there are “consultants” who might like to suggest otherwise. There are rigorous methods and techniques that need to be followed but the information is widely available. “Secrets” tend to be used by “Black Hat” webmasters who by necessity need to maintain a wall of silence!
2. Keyword Density is critical
In the early days of “SEO” there was some truth in a magic keyword density formula. The search engines have evolved and are well aware of pages stuffed with keywords. Although it is essential to add keyword phrases to a page, there is no magic percentage. The page should be natural and be designed for the reader rather than the search engine.
3. Content, Content, Content
Although content is essential for a website, content alone will not achieve high SERPs. There are other factors at work that must be considered. Bear in mind that there are over 100 factors in the Google algorithm (and other search engines will also have equally complex formulae for working out rankings). ONE of the pre-requisites is good unique content – but NOT the ONLY factor.
4. Submitting Sites to Search Engines
This myth is probably a hangover from the past when this technique did have some effect. Do not bother to submit to search engines, instead concentrate on getting a good quality link(s) from a relevant website. This “recommendation” will not only alert the Search engines of the new site but also help in getting higher SERPs. Top Tip: Do not keep submitting your site to the search engines – this is unnecessary and some “gurus” suggest that you can get penalised.
5. Guaranteed Rankings / SERPs
“We can guarantee you top SERPs” – this is just not true for competitive keyword phrases. Yes, it is possible to suggest you can get top rankings for “large fat blue monkeys are rare” (on an exact match) as there is NO competition. It is important to choose keyword phrases that you want to rank for carefully – for example, will they bring the type of enquiries you want? Are they “info” related enquiries or “buy” enquiries? This is a topic on its own!
Whilst talking about this myth – also bear in mind it is impossible to guarantee that SERPs will remain constant. So a #1 ranking today cannot be guaranteed tomorrow!
6. Links for top SERPs
Links WILL help but it is just ONE of those 100 factors. A link from any site may NOT be a good link. A link from what Google defines as a “bad neighborhood” can adversely affect your site. Google does not clarify a “bad neighborhood” but perhaps they are referring to adult, gambling, racist, etc. sites. Links should be from sites that share your theme; do not accept links from link or resource pages – they have little value especially if the external links on the page are to all different themes. Do you really think Google cannot spot a link or resource page?
Do NOT use services that will provide instant linking to 100s of sites. It will raise a flag with Google. Your linking strategy should be planned and be naturally progressive. Check all sites carefully before linking to them – remember your link is perceived as a recommendation. If you start recommending bad sites what does that say about YOUR site?
What is Important: Be extremely careful NOT to link from your site to BAD neighborhoods. Google encourages you to link (recommend) to other sites providing the content is relevant.
Concentrate on getting quality links from Authority sites on your theme!
7. WSC Validation required
In an ideal world it would be nice to have every page on your site validated by WSC. However, unless you have a very diligent webmaster it is an impossible task! It is not essential that every page is validated from a SEO perspective. However, what IS important is that the search engine robots can parse your page(s). If they cannot read a page, then the page will not be included in the index – worse still links on that page may not be followed. The Lynx viewer and search engine simulator are useful tools for checking what is seen by the search bots.
8. Search Engines prefer static to dynamic pages
In the bad old days dynamic pages that were accessed with urls such as www.mydomain.com/link.php?action=view&var=new&country=europe were bad news as the search spiders did not know how to follow these links with “?” in them. The result was that dynamic pages were not accessed and indexed. However, those days are gone. Google says “We can crawl dynamic URLs and interpret the different parameters. We might have problems crawling and ranking your dynamic URLs if you try to make your urls look static and in the process hide parameters which offer the Googlebot valuable information. One recommendation is to avoid reformatting a dynamic URL to make it look static.”
9. Meta Tags are important
Meta tags were used extensively in the past but again search engines have evolved. It is the content and structure of the page that is important for SEO purposes. A common technique was to stuff the “keyword” tag with an endless list of keywords and phrases – do this at your peril! The title is relatively important as Google uses it to display in their SERPs (and the description is often used too). So the “title” and “description” should sell your website. Get the user to click! Google likes your titles and descriptions to be unique. Use your main keywords in <title> and H1.
10. High Page Rank required for good SERPs
Google publishes a historic version (up to 3 to 4 months old typically) of your page rank for every page on your site. This is NOT necessarily the current page rank of the page – it is re-calculated on a frequent basis (daily?). It is perfectly possible for pages with low page rank to get top SERPs as there are other factors deciding the SERPs.