SEO Myths

 

Ah, SEO Myths. They’ve been with us forever. Chances are that 50% of the SEO facts that many people hold dear are myths. Almost all of these have been debunked by now (but also subject to change). So what’s the problem? Well, myths are myths and they’re fine if you’re putting a baby to sleep. But when you start running an online marketing campaign – they’re just downright dangerous. While many of these myths are innocent and malign, at least 10 of them on their own, gotten wrong, could destroy a site’s ability to get search traffic.

I keep these as a veritable cheat sheet – if I’m listening to someone about SEO and they tick more than 3, I just start to zone out! So if you find yourself in a meeting and somebody is trying to push snake oil over the table, feel free to pass this on :)

Here is my list of my favourite top SEO Myths:

  1. Companies who claim to be Google Certified SEO firms – this my number #1 pet peeve. There is no such thing. All those logo’s you see – completely fake!
  2. Editing Page Titles, Descriptions and Keywords is SEO. This is about 1%
  3. You have to be listed  in the DMOZ Open Directory. No you don’t. At all. In fact, it’s a hindrance, because Google might take your page title and description from there and chances are you can’t edit it!
  4. SEO is something you do after a website is built – rubbish, you need to start SEO before you start design
  5. The Duplicate content myth – the oldest and the best. It’s 2013 and this myth still pervades!
  6. Adding more content is great for SEO! Probably not – especially if it’s not being indexed or read, adding content may do nothing
  7. Your domain name needs the keywords in it. Google has been killing exact match domains (EMD) for years
  8. You need 250 words in a page. This was an arbitrary number made up on the spot over 14 years ago – but it’s absolutely stood the test of time.
  9. Good HTML is important for SEO / HTML Errors are bad for SEO. I don’t know how many arguments have raged on forums but this one refuses to die. Thank you Google for waiting until 2013 to put this baby to bed!
  10. More inbound links = better. This was never true but now its a case of too many = too bad!
  11. H1 tags are important – I’d say they have little or no value. Actually I’d devalue most of on-site SEO theories
  12. XML Sitemaps boost your ranking. They don’t – they help you work out whats being indexed and what isn’t
  13. You can put in text and links in small text
  14. SEO can replace or displace AdWords or PPC. It can’t really. If you think about it, people go for the first results – so any good and commercially viable search marketing programme should include Google AdWords PPC as part of the mix.
  15. Google AdWords helps your SEO. In no way. If anything, it has been shown to cannibalise branded traffic
  16. You need to know somebody in Google. In absolutely no way will this help
  17. Keyword Density – please, this one is done to death!
  18. More clicks = better SEO – Google doesn’t know who’s clicking on your site!
  19. Keywords make your site rank. No, they absolutely don’t
  20. You need to register your site with 100′s of search engines. You don’t need to do this at all
  21. Great Content means Great Ranking – there are thousands of great blog posts that don’t rank. Just look at all the “SEO is Dead” ones! Content needs SEO Context to be valuable.
  22. Owning lots of domains without content and linking them helps. Oh dear :-(
  23. You shouldn’t link out – absolutely dangerous is this one!
  24. Google loves new content. No it doesn’t – old content can perma-rank for years. Only queries that deserve freshness help (QDF)
  25. Doorway pages are great for SEO. Please read up on this.
  26. Page Descriptions help SEO – Ample Google retorts to this
  27. Video aids SEO. I don’t know even know how this is possible
  28. Links are dead – a new one but a wrong one!
  29. Social Sharing is the new SEO. In theory Social Media could help but not with nofollow, big boy ego’s and private accounts. Factor in Social Spam and it’s got to be a big no-no
  30. Fixed Price SEO packages – personally this is one of the worst of established myths but so many website owners are getting caught that this is probably the most destructive as well.
  31. Your Google PageRank Score means something. No, size doesn’t really matter!
  32. Domain Age as a factor. It is a factor, but not a biggy. After 6 months, age is almost a non-factor
  33. PageRank is dead. It’s in no way dead. It’s just not the #1 thing. PageRank value doesn’t = rank value.
  34. The best links are bought links. You should avoid this at all costs
  35. My competitors don’t do SEO. You don’t know – you probably can’t see what they’re doing
  36. SEO is dead. Not with over 3 billion search users it’s not!
  37. A .com is better – it really depends on the case. Actually, a .co is as good as a .com

2 Responses to “My favourite SEO Myths”

  1. Janine Beattie (@OptimumBizSup) says:

    Great article David, so much on there that really is just noise, yet I hear it all the time! SEO is just a creature I can’t even begin to image trying to understand! What IS really important for SEO to work well? Janine

  2. David Quaid says:

    Thank you Janine, so pleased you found it helpful.

    What’s good for SEO? That’s a really good question.

    I normally start here:
    Understanding how people look for things in a search engine is a great starting point. So, if I have a business problem – am I going to search for the solution – probably not at the start. I’m more likely to try to describe the symptoms.

    Many bloggers and business writers and site owners start with the solution. They describe it using technical terms, acronyms and specific terminology that only comes as a benefit of education or experience.

    That’s why web forums far so well.

    If you can describe the problem from the symptoms, that’s a good point.

    The next be is to broaden out from one page into more than one.

    Thirdly, its a good idea to look at site architecture from a sitemap pov not a design pov. Not just because a search engine doesn’t “see” the design but because search engines look at a website as a bunch of files and it uses that inter-connectivity.

    Some technical appreciation does help – in saying that I don’t think I’ve every personally built a website myself, but understanding some parts of how websites are structured is usually very handy!

    We’ll probably move into more “Here’s what will help type blogging” in the near future!

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