There are a lot of myths about seo flying around. Wherever you go for information about seo you are probably just as likely to find misinformation. I think one of the major plateaus you can ascend to in your seo knowledge is seeing some of these myths for what they are and realizing that not everything you hear about seo is true.
Here are 7 seo in myths in no particular order. They aren’t necessarily the top 7 myths or the only 7 myths. They’re just a few that came to mind while writing this. The list could easily go on so feel free to add a comment with your own myths about seo. Feel free too to let me know if you agree or disagree with anything on my list.
Meta Tags Are The Key To SEO
Once upon a time meta keywords were important to achieve a good rank. Those days are long since gone. Meta tags were far too easy to spam and today just about all search engines and certainly the ones you really care about ignore your meta keywords. Most seo experts ignore them and those that still use them do so just for the sake of completeness. I never use them anymore unless a client insists on them and even then generally won’t spend more than 15 minutes to write them for the entire site. I’ve even seen suggestions that they can do more harm than good.
You should still however write a meta description. Not so much to rank better, but as a call to action to get searchers to click on your links should they appear in search results. It’s even more important to write a good meta description now that Google seems to be showing them more often.
There’s A Perfect Keyword Density
A lot of people seem to think there is a perfect keyword density for a page and if you find it you’ll jump right to the top of the search engine results pages. There is no perfect keyword density so stop looking for one and stop tweaking your pages to get in your keywords one more or one less time. Sure you should use your keywords on your page, but all you really need to do is write a focused page about something and it will most likely contain enough keywords for that page. Write the page for your human visitors and not search engine spiders.
Want proof? Go to Google and type in the single word ‘computer’ and look at the results. Go now. I’ll still be here when you get back. Ok maybe go in a separate tab or a new window so you can continue reading here. You should find the Apple site at the top of the results page. It was #1 when I looked. Now click on the Apple link. It’s ok I promise it’s safe. Are you on the Apple home page. Good. Now count the number of times you see the word computer on the page. Remember ‘computer’ is the keyword. I counted one occurrence of ‘computer’ on the page, four when I looked at the source code. Hmm? Must have a lot of links pointing to the page. And speaking of links…
All Links Are Good Links
Yes links are important if you want to rank for competitive keywords. But all links are not created equal. And I’m not talking about page rank here. There are actually a lot of bad links that can at best be meaningless for your site and at worst get you banned. Free for all (FFA) links pages won’t do anything for you. You know those pages that are titled ‘links page’ or something similar with several hundred links on them. They won’t get you banned, but they won’t help. Again it’s the spam factor like with the meta tags.
Similarly for link exchangers. Search engines and Google especially are looking for natural or organic links. There’s nothing natural about mass link exchanges, which only exist to manipulate search engines. I’m not talking about reciprical links with partner site. That’s still fine, though probably not as good as they once were. I’m talking about those sites that for a few dollars promise to get you thousands of links. Many of those sites will only put you in a bad neighborhood and one that can possibly see your site banned. Relevant one way links are what you really want for your site.
You Have To Submit Your Site To Search Engines
We’ve all seen those sites and those ads that promise to submit your site to 1000′s of search engines. I think I have a few emails waiting for me to delete them right now. First of all how many search engines can you name? I’m betting it’s not thousands. You do not need to submit your site to any search engines. Just get yourself a few backlinks (the good kind) and wait for the search engines to find you. A link in a forum signature or in a directory will do the trick.
Google has this to say about submitting to your site to their engine:
Submission isn’t necessary and does not guarantee inclusion in our index.
The best way to ensure that Google finds your site is to have pages on other relevant sites to link to yours.
There’s that word relevant again. So if Google recommends getting links instead of submitting do you think it’s really necessary to submit?
Top Ranks Can Be Guaranteed
When looking for an seo firm if they guarantee you they can place your site somewhere in the search ranks run. Run fast and run far. No one can guarantee anything when it comes to search engines. Ok maybe they can guarantee they can help, but get your site to #1, absolutely not. While we may know a lot about improving the ranking of your site and getting you more traffic it’s the search engines that control which sites appear on their pages. They can and do change their algorithms all the time. What works today may not work exactly the same tomorrow.
Beyond the fact that the search engine algorithms are out of your control so is your competition. Just because you do get a #1 rank doesn’t mean your competition is going to let you keep it. Chances are they’ll be working hard to knock you off the top spot and get their own site there. Seo is constant and ongoing and nothing about it is really guaranteed. You may notice that most of those guaranteeing top placement will never mention for which keywords. I can get you ranked #1 too for the term “dhadnpiafpoiajd” if you want. I won’t charge much either.
Alt Tags Are The Way To Get A Good Rank.
Let me begin by saying there is no such thing as an alt tag. Alt is a property or attribute of an image tag. Sorry had to get that out of the way. Now back to our show. For awhile now people have been stuffing alt ta…umm…I mean alt attributes with keywords. Keyword stuffing is spam and guess what the search engines do with spam. Actually the search engines probably still do look at alt attributes, but if anything they’re only going to be a minor part of the algorithm. It’s that spam thing again. They won’t take you to the top of the search result pages.
Alt attributes are meant for visitors to your site who aren’t seeing your images either because of a disability or simply because they’ve turned images off in their browser. The only thing you should place in an alt attribute is something that will be useful for them. Keyword stuffing isn’t going to be useful. If anything it will just slow down their browsing experience. If the image is a link then by all means mention that. If your image is just for aesthetics then describing it isn’t really useful. Most of the time your alt attributes should be alt=”" and that’s it.
Here’s an excellent article on proper use of The alt and title attributes.
DMOZ Is Everything
I had a couple more myths, but I’ll close with this one. A link from the DMOZ (Open Directory) is a great link to have. It’s going to be relevant and it will come from a trusted authority site. It can also be quite difficult to get. While it might help it’s not the only link or directory out there and a DMOZ link alone will not make or break your site.
By all means submit your site to the directory. I know it was one of the first things I did after I took my site live. When you submit make sure to find the best category and read the guidelines for submission. Then forget about it. You either will get in or you won’t. It may be a few weeks, it may be a few years, it may be never. No matter your site can do fine without the link and can do poorly with it. It’s just one link among many. Far from everything, so don’t blame the DMOZ editors if your site isn’t being found as often as you like in search engines. That has more to do with you and your site than it has to do with them.
Well those are 7 seo myths. At least I think that’s 7. I didn’t really count. Again they’re not the top 7 seo myths or even the only 7 seo myths. Just the ones that came to mind as I sat down to write. I’m sure you have some of your own or even disagree with mine. Please share. I’d be happy to hear and discuss some more.