15 Jan 2009, Posted by admin in Featured,Whitehat, 39 Comments
SEO as an industry is still technically in it’s infancy. It’s a young area to work in, quite a lot of people are getting into it and the technology changes incredibly quickly. So quickly, in fact, that SEO techniques that used to work no longer do. There’s a lot of miscommunication about what does and doesn’t work with SEO, the search engines themselves are quite often guarded about what factors are taken into account, as you can expect with their billion dollar children, and it’s led to some pretty big myths. I got in contact with some of the biggest and brightest SEOs and asked them to dispell some SEO myths.
Rand Fishkin (SEOMoz)
I don’t know about top one, but top 3 (for the completely uninitiated) are:
1. Meta Keywords are still useful (they’re definitely not). See Meta Keywords Tag 101.
2. Keyword Density is a factor in rankings (it’s definitely not). See Keyword Usage.
3. Submitting your site to search engines is a critical part of SEO. It hasn’t been since the 1990’s, but like meta keywords, this one just won’t die.
For those who are generally smart about SEO, the ones I find most persistent are:
Click-through rate is a major part of search engine rankings. The engines have said publicly that CTR is a very noisy and un-useful signal, and not something they’d rely on.
2. The search engines penalize you if you do active/obvious SEO (they don’t). The engines themselves promote SEO best practices, and Google’s gone as far as to endorse and promote SEO events, a guide and an SEO toolset.
3. Participating in PPC campaigns (and spending more) will help you rank better in the engines (it doesn’t). The engines have very real Chinese walls between their business divisions and never let paid campaign spending affect organic rankings directly.
Rand Fishkin is the CEO of SEOMoz, a Seattle based SEO company.
Danny Sullivan (Calafia & Search Engine Land)
It’s not quite a myth, but I’d say one of the biggest problems SEOs struggle with is that it is all about rankings and traffic, rather than conversions. It’s easy to keep focusing on trying to work the extremes to bring in more visitors when the time might be better spent on ensuring you’re doing better to convert your existing visitors. If you want a real myth, though, it’s that the meta keywords tag matters. It makes so little difference. Only Yahoo takes any real look at it, and even there, it’s virtually useless. Yet still, some newbie SEOs still focus on it.
Dave Naylor (Bronco & DavidNaylor.co.uk)
Wow so many to choose from..
“£500 one off SEO fix and your website is good forever” – SEO and search engines move forward all the time, so should you website.
“Nothing that a competitor can’t do to harm you” – There are people that make a living destroying other peoples websites
“Link Bait won’t get you penalised” – Maybe not today 😉
Aaron Wall (SEOBook)
The biggest SEO myth is probably that of “quality content,” especially for new webmasters creating new sites. Some believe markets are won and lost based exclusively on quality of content and quality of service, but advertisers spend $100’s of billions advertising each year to influence consumers. As search incorporates more usage data that advertising keeps seeping its way into influencing the “organic” search results. Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt said that the web is fast becoming a cesspool and that brands are the solution. It is hard to create a brand without an ad budget. And most markets have cliques and are dominated by nepotism and little white lies. If you want to gain marketshare you have to be a push marketer until you are near the top and have momentum pushing you along. Re-invest heavily until you run out of things to invest in.
Patrick Altoft (Blogstorm, Branded3)
The biggest is the duplicate content penalty. People think that just because you publish the same content as somebody else you are going to get some kind of penalty, not the case at all.
Michael Gray (Graywolf)
The biggest myth of SEO is that everyone is treated equally by the search engines. Small, nimble, and aggressive publishers were able to build web properties extremely quickly, and as a result they were able to pollute Google with nonsense and garbage websites. As a result Google has made it more difficult to obtain the required trust for popular and commercial keywords. This higher trust prerequisite made it much harder for people to pollute Google with garbage. However smaller business, mom & pop shops, or people who don’t have the resources to compete with big brands have become collateral damage in Google’s war on spam. The irony of the whole situation is Google is responsible for much of the spam web pollution which is
monetized with Google’s adsense product.
Big thanks to the guys that contributed, and if you know of a myth in SEO feel free to share it in the comments.
(Flickr image from Der_Flo ☮)