Couldn’t help but put together a list of SEO myths to help dispel the rumors.
Myth #1: The goal is to be ranked number 1
Maybe for the CEO’s “ego-bidding”, but as a marketer your goal typically is a campaign that provides a return on investment. To do this well typically requires building a portfolio of hundreds or thousands of tareget keywords and phrases. Spending tons of resources and money getting to the number one position very likely will not maximize your profit, although it may help with branding. So, what’s your goal? Since we started search marketing after the dot com implosion, we haven’t found too many clients banking on branding.
Myth #2: SEO requires frequent submission to all of the search engines
This dog won’t hunt, anymore. Don’t know how many times spam has crossed my in box touting submission to 1,000’s of search engines, just $95/month. Making matters worse, the boss always finds delight in forwarding these emails to us. Truth is it’s no longer a factor; so don’t waste your time and effort. What does matter is that the SEO work on your site is optimized for search engines. Most major search engines use 100 to 200 factors to determine rank.
Myth #3: Your site will get banned if you buy links
This myth has some basis in reality, as Google won’t count paid links as a “vote” for your site; as long as they know it’s paid. Worse case, Google simply won’t count the link as a vote.
Myth #4: A frequently updated site gets higher rankings
Truth is frequent updates to your site may help with the “crawl rate” or how often search engine spiders check your site; but it doesn’t help your ranking. Again, that’s based on the content of your site and frequent updates won’t matter if the content isn’t more relevant to the search engines. Some of the highest ranking sites on the web are rarely if ever updated.
Myth #5: It’s important to use keyword rich Meta tags for ranking higher
This myth has been thoroughly trounced by now, but there are still some believers. The truth is that meta tag keywords were originally designed for keywords not on a web page, not the opposite. Search engines no longer give much credibility to meta tags, although you’ll probably still get a lot of advised to use them. Keywords and keyword phrases, on the other hand, are important for increasing your site’s rankings.
Myth #6: SEO copy must be 250 words in length
This one’s a total myth or better yet myth-communication. Sure, 250 words is a nice amount of words for a web page and probably will get your message across. However, it doesn’t mean a lick for search engine optimization. Optimizing a page for 3 to 5 keyword phrases on the other hand does make sense. Next!
Myth #7: You need to optimize for the long tail
This makes a lot of sense for PPC advertising, but not so for SEO. Most of the long tail terms are uncompetitive for a reason; not many people are searching on them. It’s easy to rank for those terms, but that’s not Search Engine Optimization. However, if your SEO gets paid for each listing on the first page of search results, well maybe then it makes a lot of sense to them L
The long tail advertising for PPC has proven to be a successful strategy for many advertisers; however still requires diligence, testing and analysis to maximize profits.
Myth #8: Do Pay Per Click (PPC) ads help your SEO rankings?
I still get asked if PPC ads help with SEO rankings. The funny thing is that just as many people are concerned that it will hurt vs. help. The answer is that one has nothing to do with the other. It’s like public relations vs. advertising. I would say however that a good search engine marketing campaign synchronizes your SEO and PPC efforts to take advantage of terms that you want to rank highly on, but can’t successfully with either one of these methods. Even if you do rank high with SEO, you may not be delivering the specific marketing message you want to your audience. With PPC, you can do that on the fly.
Myth #9: SEO is a function of IT
That used to be the thought back in the day. I consistently came across IT staff that managed SEO. Made sense right, SEO is the realm of programmers and geeks. Not! Since SEO typically requires web site development and modification it certainly requires support from IT; but as a critical marketing function should be driven by the goals, budgets and strategies of marketing. The Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization’s (SEMPO) research indicates that companies are no longer borrowing from non marketing budgets to fund their search efforts.
Myth #10: “Our site doesn’t get a lot of visitors, so SEO wouldn’t work for us”
This one never ceases to amaze me, but you’d be amazed at how many seemingly intelligent people utilize this thinking. Not really sure, but I guess it’s a way to rationalize the decision not to move forward with a marketing effort that requires some risk and investment. SEO is not instant gratification. We recommend a minimum of three to six months before you can truly evaluate the success of your SEO efforts. So, if you have a day trader philosophy, it may not be your cup of tea.
Just for fun, here are a few Bonus Myths:
- Flash is bad for SEO – No, it’s the lack of text and 100% reliance on flash that’s bad. A nice flash header on a landing page for instance is perfetly fine for SEO purposes.
- Database generated URL’s don’t get indexed – Not true. Search engines are pretty good at indexing complex URLs.
- Your site will be banned if not adhering to Google guidelines – You’ll be fine if you don’t try to manipulate the search engines with “black hat” techniques
- You need a google site map – Couldn’t hurt, but what’s important is that your site was built correctly and can be easiliy search by spiders.
- Multiple copies of a site helps rankings – Uh, not but it could get you banned from the search engines.
- H1 or header tags need to be used for rankings – Little evidence to support this. Use only if it makes sense for the content of your website.