Search Engine Optimization November 18th, 2009
If you read my earlier post detailing 7 of my top 13 SEO Myths, then you are probably ripe for my final 6 SEO Myths. I probably could have turned this into a top 100 SEO Myths, but for the sake of my sanity and to keep reader interest, I have narrowed it down to just 13. These are some of the more common Myths that are out there, so let’s keep it going.
Alas, my top 6 Myths of SEO
What a loaded comment this one is. From my own experience, most web designers do not know enough about SEO to compete aggressively with your competitors in the online marketplace.
Think about it; if they were fluent with SEO, why are there so many SEO specialists and companies?
When you are interviewing web designers to have your web site developed, don’t assume they will help with your search optimization, even if they say they will. Gather facts, case studies and some kind of proof of work from them. You might even consider asking them if they are willing to work with an SEO company like ours to help them build your web site for Internet Marketing success.
If you really evaluate the basic tasks relating to SEO, they really are in sharp contract to the creative skills needed from a web designer. Why would someone that specializes in building wonderful design work have the task oriented skills necessary to develop an ongoing SEO campaign. There are some designers that know there stuff. But from my own experience, the ones that truly care about the art of web design choose to specialize in just that.
There has always been two sides to this argument in the SEO world. Those that believe in keyword density and those that do not. I have always been in the “do not” category, and as time goes by this is becoming more evident.
There was a thought that you needed a certain percentage of keywords (commonly 4%) in your page copy in order to rank for those terms. Obviously, you will need a certain degree of keywords in your page content to help with your rankings of those terms, but with other factors, such as linking and content themes weighing heavier, you can safely put away your calculators.
We hear this all the time. SEO companies or individuals guaranteeing results as if they have some special connection with Google to offer their sites preferential treatment. I think you know where I am going here. SEO specialists cannot guarantee results simply because we are not the ones responsible for showing results. Those items are left to Google, Bing, Yahoo! and other search engines.
Google in fact issues strong warnings against any company that does make this claim. From the SEO guidelines page of Google itself:
"No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.
Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a "special relationship" with Google, or advertise a "priority submit" to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or by submitting a Sitemap and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever."
The job of an SEO practitioner is to make modifications to your on page and off page SEO campaign to aid how search engines see and index your web site. Companies that guarantee rankings often make these claims to get you in the door. After you have invested several months of both your time and money these are both items that you cannot get back once you realize how false these claims were.
There is a fairly recent suggestion that meta tags are dead and no longer needed to be integrated into web pages. So, to clarify all of this, I will explain further. There are 2 main meta tags with SEO importance, the keyword meta tag and the description meta tag.
Google has confirmed that they do not include the meta keywords as a ranking factor, due to abuse by webmasters many years ago. That said, there are still a few search engines that rely on this meta tag, and although it may represent a very small number of visitors, why would you want to potentially exclude any type of visitor search. Furthermore, Google has left the door open to potentially use the meta keyword tag in the future.
My recommendation with the meta keyword tag is to continue using it, if for nothing else it is good practice. In addition, keep the key phrases down to around 6 to 12 phrases, and highly focused to the specific page. Remember – good SEO means ensuring as many good standards are followed as possible. It certainly isn’t a bad thing to ensure you have relevant keywords in your tags.
There is plenty of debate over how much significance the meta description has in the algorithm of search engines. But one thing that is clear, is the meta description phrase is displayed at times in the search results pages under the clickable title of result listings. If nothing else, here’s your chance to increase your click-through rates by writing compelling and unique descriptions for each of your web pages.
Again – this is good practice in offering search engines the most relevant content possible for its audience.
I have seen a few ‘so-called’ SEO experts recently, during their presentations or seminars encourage attendees to write their content for Google. Nothing could be further from the truth and even Google, usually pretty low key when it comes to SEO recommendations, says to make sure you write content for visitors and not for search engines.
After all, who is going to buy your product or service? Google or a human searcher looking for you? The other aspect is conversion. Once a visitor hits your site, which page is more likely to turn this person into a lead? One that is short, to the point and has a call to action or lengthy newspaper style content that regurgitates the same words and phrases over and over?
Can I have a drum roll please – now we have come to what in my mind is the #1 SEO Myth. The myth that somehow you can attach SEO to your site like lego building blocks. One of the main reasons I rank this Myth #1 is simply the ramifications it can have for the owner of the web site.
Trust me when I say, that no one (and I mean no one!) likes to hear me say that the large sum of money they have spent on their beautiful web site needs to be spent again, to redevelop their web site from the ground up. I can’t think of anyone who would be happy to pay twice for what is essentially the same product.
All too many times, I hear web site owners when quoting for a web site, say they will worry about SEO after the site is designed. For the uninformed, SEO has the perception that it can somehow be added on to an any existing web site. In some cases, it can. But how do you know for sure? Now that you know the financial implications, why take the chance?
The best analogy I can think of is to look at SEO as the electrical wiring of a house. If you are having your new home built, would you tell your contractor to do the wiring AFTER the house is built? Of course not! Especially since it means ripping out holes in the walls and tearing down other parts of the house. Well guess what? You need to build your website with SEO in mind from the outset. You can’t add a plug in at a later date that suddenly makes a site search engine friendly.
So there you have it. My very own fast and brash list of my top 13 SEO Myths.
For those that want to learn more I highly recommend you take a read of Google’s very own SEO guidelines which they published as part of a PDF back in November 2008.