Top 10 SEO Myths V2

This is an answer to the article “Top Search Engine Optimization Myths” by United Worx a popular article which just show written a few years ago.

It wasn’t valid anymore in some cases and thus I decided to update or rather “remix” the article and republish my version of the top 10 SEO myths.

While I think that there are bigger myths out there like “SEO is spam” or “you can’t optimize for highly competitive terms without paid links” I nonetheless will follow the more down to earth points made by the original article.

1. “Your top ten search engine ranking can be guaranteed.”
Some SEO firms will advertise a “guarantee” to have you listed in the top ten rankings. No one other than the search engines themselves can guarantee any ranking. Don’t believe it. Trust their results for other clients and make your decision from actual client successes, not empty promises and guarantees.

Google states in it’s Webmaster Help Center: No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.”
What can be
guaranteed though is that when a top 10 or #1 ranking is achieved the payment or rather bonus payment is due. Then it’s so called “performance based payment“. PBP based on rankings is not recommended though, as rankings themselves do not guarantee sales or overall profits.

2. “My in-house webmaster/web designer/programmer can do the SEO cheaper.”
Most SEO professionals can get higher rankings faster because search engine optimization and Marketing is complex, technical and has a steep learning curve. SEO companies also place a team at your disposal, including copywriters, web developers and link builders and unless you have a room full of marketing staff dedicated to SEO it is hard to keep up.

3. “Search engine traffic is not as good as other kinds of targeted traffic”
Search engine traffic is probably the most qualified traffic, because it comes from people searching for the exact products and services which the search engines have you indexed. They are looking for you, not the other way around. Keep in mind you must be targeting the right keywords, but that is the job of your SEO firm, to help you choose the right keywords.

4. “Websites are optimized for search engines out of the box”
A minority of designers and developers actually optimize pages for the search engines while they are building them. Most search engine optimization is done afterwards, if at all. You can lower the cost of SEO substantially if you include SEO from the start, even before the design part.

5. “Simply inserting keywords in the keyword meta tag will help list your site for that keyword”
Most major search engines do not use the meta keywords tag as a ranking factor and those that do, if the keyword is not also in the copy of the same page, it’s considered a factor which could lower your rankings, not raise it. At best the keyword tag is used by directories or social bookmarking sites when submitting your site. The only really important meta tag is the description as it is displayed in the search results by Google.

6. “The more times you repeat the keyword in the page, the higher it will rank”
So called “keyword density” does not matter as a major ranking factor outside the requirement that the actual keyword is present on the page in the way of natural language. Depending on where on the page and how the keyword is displayed the ranking can be positively or negatively affected. A keyword density that is too high will get you listed lower or penalized.

7. “Hidden links or text in a page can get your page ranked higher”
Keyword stuffing and hidden links in the page can get your site penalized or banned if detected. It is considered spamming by search engines. Most people think it’s not worth the risk. Google states in it’s Webmaster Guidelines: “Avoid hidden text or hidden links.”

8. “You don’t need to update your site to keep your rankings”
By routine maintenance (removing outdated material, fixing broken links, queries, etc.) and updating your pages regularly, you are signaling the bots and crawlers to come back and re-crawl your site for changes to their listings. To maintain high rankings, you need to keep at it and tweak the pages for better results if necessary. Also content freshness is one of the more important ranking factors. If neglected, your pages could easily slip out of the top rankings as new competing sites get indexed and optimized.

9. “You can achieve higher rankings on a keyword without changing the code or content of the pages in your site”
After Google introduced the Google bombing filter getting a higher ranking solely based on links pointing to your site does not work anymore as already mentioned at 6). If you want to steadily improve your rankings, you must make changes to your site that help the search engines spider it. Steady results are dependent on your willingness to optimize and tweak the code and content of your pages. A simple thing like fixing broken links can contribute to elevating your listings. It’s one of the most overlooked search engine tweaks.

10. “Google PageRank is the single most important ranking factor for your site in Google”
While PageRank was never the only factor in ranking sites, it was in the early days of Google the most important one. Google added more and more ranking factors to their overall algorithm while devaluing PagRank more and more. Nowadays ranking is based on more than 200 so called “signals” among others.


Do you know other frequently encountered SEO myths? Tell me!

Last updated: February 12th, 2012.