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10 SEO Myths to watch out for in 2010

Jan5

Written by:
2010/01/05 10:19 AM RssIcon

In order to be found on search engines like Google you need to understand some basic SEO principals. Especially if you want to be found regularly within the top few results of the first or second page.

Many webmasters, bloggers, and companies will either hire or consult with an SEO professional. Who will in turn give them some advice as to how to achieve this.

The question though, is this advice good advice? or should we submit them to the Mythbusters to be busted.

You will hear many things from SEO professionals. However a lot of these methods and practices do not hold water nor would they make any significant contribution to your SEO efforts. In fact we might even regard them as myths.

Here are my list of 10 top SEO myths. See if you agree or disagree.

1. MYTH: We guarantee no. 1 on Google.

No one can guarantee top 10 results let alone no 1 on Google. Not even me, and I am not afraid to say so. This is largely a hard sell tactic to win over clients. Google states in it’s Webmaster Help Centre: “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.” Google has over 200 rules and algorithms to determine page rank and search engine results. It is a closely guarded secret. As a result, only Google knows how a web page is ranked and placed. Therefore they are the only one who can guarantee.

2. MYTH: Meta tags are the key to high rankings.

While meta tags are helpful, they no longer carry the weight they once had as far as SEO is concerned. It is advisable to have correct and necessary meta tags. But Good quality content is far more important to SEO than meta tags.

In fact, as far as keyword tags go, they are largely a waste of time, according to Danny Sullivan, and may even lead to penalties if the keywords in the tags don't match the content of the webpage.

3. MYTH: Submit to as many search engines as you can as often as you can.

Most search engines like Google have the ability to crawl sites and find relevant pages. Other smaller search engines mostly rely on the Google database, so it’s pointless submitting to them. Any other search engine’s traffic would be so miniscule that it isn't worth the effort.

Submitting a sitemap to Google via Google’s Webmasters page is a good thing. But you only need to do this once. Submitting your site map to the top three search engines, Google, Bing, Yahoo, is really an effort to help the bots to crawl your sites more than anything else.

4. MYTH: Use as many keywords as you can. The more the better.

Keywords are important, there is no argument there. But “keyword stuffing”, as it has come to be known, is what is considered “Black Hat” practices, and is illegal to Google. It might even get you banned.

Use your selected keywords and key phrases in a natural way. A 4%-8% density is sufficient and no more. Stuffing your page title and your copy with loads of keywords looks just like spam to Google.

5. MYTH: Links, links, links, and more links. The more the better.

Links certainly don't hurt, especially inbound links. But there are guidelines, and more isn't always better. Outbound links to related and unrelated sites are factored into PageRank. In fact outbound links to “Bad neighbourhoods” can get you banned.

Outbound and inbound links should look natural. Links should be part of a  natural vote of confidence. The more quality inbound links to your site, the higher the PR, but nobody knows exactly how Google factors their PR and their algorithm is constantly adjusted. A million links to and from unrelated sites could drop your PR and if your site is found linking to obvious FFA or link farms, your site could be penalized as being 'guilty by association'," says Big Oak

6. MYTH: Submitting your links to directories is the best way to improve your ranking.

Google frequently penalizes sites that get listed in shady directories. Since it can be hard to determine the legitimacy of a site, it is best to find a better way to increase rankings. Writing good quality relevant content is by far the best way.  If you’re publishing great stuff and interacting with other people online, getting back links is only a matter of time.

Not all directories are bad. DMOZ, Yahoo Directory for example are very much sought after. There are other really good directories, just do your research.

7. MYTH: Dynamic URLs are bad for the site.

This used to be a huge concern, but not any more. Google has matured a lot. With so many CMS and dynamic websites out there, dynamic URLs are more frequent.

Trimming them to a much more understandable format is better and saves a lot of time. It also helps us humans as it is  a lot easier to read.

The most commonly used and avoidable parameters are “known” to Google and there is no extra effort required to convert them to an SEO friendly format, especially when the content is optimized and SE friendly.

8. MYTH: SEO is a one-time event

The notion that you can improve your search ranking by just changing a few website components is false. SEO is like eating and exercise. You have to do it consistently and correctly to grow and reach your potential You have to eat and exercise continually to stay there.

Today, search engines look at dozens of factors to determine how relevant and useful your content is. You search engine results and page ranking can and do change often.

Yes, SEO is a long term effort. Get used to it.

9. MYTH: Nofollow incoming links from other sites are no good.

Technically, nofollow links do not offer link juice from Google. But Google has its own signals to find out whether a nofollow link from a high authority site is relevant or not. So nofollow from high authority sites are always good If anything else, you get referral traffic and authority. Remember that NoFollow links are not supported by other search engines like Yahoo and Bing the way Google supports them. So I can’t say that they are useless

10. MYTH: It’s all about PageRank.

If you believe this then you have missed the boat completely and you are a bigger fool than many. It’s actually all about how many loyal readers and potential clients you bring to your website or blog.

High page rank is worthless if it does not convert into sales, returning visits, loyal readers. If there is no ROI, then your efforts and money are all wasted.

Conclusion

SEO is not a means to an end. It is not a sure fire way to get recognised. It is not a ROI. SEO should be just one part of your over all site building and business strategy.

 

Related Reading:

The top SEO myth of all time.

The four pillars of SEO

5 Simple SEO tips for Bloggers

Do you really need a SEO Consultant?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for Absolute Beginners

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for the Absolute Beginners II

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