17 SEO Myths

myths-medusaThere are many myths in SEO some more persistant than others, here are a few that I still hear from time to time. Argue if you wish through the comment form below!

1. Keywords in domains are a sure fire way to get to the top of the SE’s.

No they’re not, they can certainly help but there is no automatic ride to the top of the pile. The sites content must still be worthy of listing and the off-site factors will still be important.

2. Meta Keywords Tags must be used correctly.

No, Google does not use meta keywords from the keywords tag at all and Yahoo / Bing make such little use of them that they are pretty much obsolete now.

3. Putting invisible text on a web page will help it rank.

The old white text on a white background ‘trick’ still gets a mention occasionally but the SE’s have been aware of that attempt to fool them since about the time it was first tried!

4. Using Adwords helps natural rankings in Google.

No, it does not, natural rankings and Adwords rankings are two different algorithms and nobody is tampering with the natural listings just because you buy some Adwords ads.

5. Getting good ranks depends on having keywords at X% density in text.

Keyword density is not used in the simple sense of a word or phrase appearing X% of the words in your text. You can actually get ranked for a phrase without it being on your page!

6. Google Pagerank dictates rankings in the search results.

There are many results pages with PR2 pages outranking PR4 ones. Pagerank certainly is one factor involved in the ranking calculation but only one. In any case the pagerank we see from the Google toolbar is not the same measure as Google uses.

7. W3C Validation helps ranking.

Not so, there are many websites not W3C compliant including Google’s many sites but SE’s do not need sites to be validated to index them.

8. Sitemaps will get a site to a higher ranking.

Not really, nice clean site navigation will be just fine for most sites. Sitemaps are handy for helping to get large sites fully indexed.

9. Duplicate content will get a site penalised.

No, it’s not a penalty, Google is just not interested in showing the same material multiple times (e.g. retail sites using supplied text descriptions of products) but it does not actually penalise your site.

10. Clicking your own websites listings repeatedly helps your SEO.

If only it was that simple, we could all make millions by getting friends to click our listings every day.

11. Fresh content or having a blog is essential for good rankings.

No, just not so, the SERPs are full of pages that have not changed in years. Having good content is more important that having fresh content.

12. Having great content will automatically attract great ranking.

Yes, you absolutely should have great content but it does not magically get great ranks. It has to get noticed first, then if it attracts quality backlinks it should start to get better rankings.

13. Using Flash on your website is bad for SEO.

Not unless your site is all flash or heavily so! Sites which use Flash for cool effects and slideshows etc are usually fine, it all depends on whether your site can be read by the crawlers or not.

14. Getting ranked for high traffic keywords is best.

It depends on your aims. In most cases small business site owners are looking for sales not visitors so it is usually makes more sense to get ranked for the searches that lead to the best conversions which are usually not the higher volume head terms.

15. Bounce rate affects your rankings.

Bounce rate is unlikely to have a significant effect on your rankings as bounce rate can vary wildly from niche to niche and can in fact be a measure of a successful search as well as a poor one!

16. Best results come from targeting one keyword per page.

It is often easier for beginners to SEO to think like that but it can actually be difficult to optimise for just one keyword on a page simply because you will naturally have to use others to write the content for the page.

17. Reciprocal Links are a must for good rankings.

Links pages, where you list related websites while getting those other websites to also link to you, have passed their use-by date.