The world of search engine optimisation or SEO for short is confusing to say the least. The main problem is that much of SEO knowledge is like a kind of religion. You can never truly know how the Google algorithm works at any one time. You can read up on forums and blogs and maybe do your own experiments to try to get an understanding, but at any one time a lot of what you know about SEO is based on faith.
The other really confusing thing about SEO is that we are always being told different stories. If you are not careful you may be reading blog posts for forums that are from the early years of 2000. By now these posts or comments are generally out of date and not applicable to current day SEO.
So to try to clear things up a bit, here is a list of the 10 most common SEO Myths that you will encounter when trying to figure out how to get thousands of visitors per day from natural search results.
- 1. As Many Links as Possible is the Answer
- 2. Reciprocal Linking is the Answer
- 3. Paying Someone for Guaranteed First Place Positions is the Answer
- 4. Directory Submission is the Answer
- 5. Keywords Everywhere is the Answer
- 6. Paid Links are the Answer
- 7. Do No Evil is the Answer
- 8. Pay Per Click is the Answer
- 9. Time is the Answer
- 10. Money is the Answer
Here is a breakdown of this list.
1. As Many Links as Possible is the Answer
From reading about SEO you may get the impression that links are one of the most important aspects of promoting a web site in the search engines. Whilst this is true, it does not follow that the more the better. In fact there are scenarios where you can easily have too many links. Furthermore there are scenarios where certain links can actually work against you.
2. Reciprocal Linking is the Answer
A reciprocal link is simply enough an “I’ll link to you if you link to me” scenario. There was a time when reciprocal linking was one of the main white hat SEO techniques. However the latest information from Google is that reciprocal links are being devalued. Reciprocal Links that are worth having are hard to come by and whilst I would not advise you to abandon any form of reciprocal linking, pouring hours and hours into it is most likely a waste of time.
3. Paying Someone for Guaranteed First Place Positions is the Answer
You might get the impression that being in the top of the first page results is all important to getting the most traffic to visit your site. It is true that the vast majority of people do not stray much beyond the first three results presented in the search engine results page. However there is a big difference between ranking number one for a search term that a lot of people are using, and ranking number one for a search term that no one is using.
4. Directory Submission is the Answer
One commonly supported way to build inbound links to your site is to submit it to a long list of directories. This is another technique that used to work well but has since dwindled to the point that it is hardly worth your time. There was a time when directory sites were actually a reasonable source of traffic but this day has long gone. Furthermore, the vast majority of directories these days are cookie cutter sites with little value and highly unlikely to enjoy any visitors other than those people who are still looking to submit to directories.
5. Keywords Everywhere is the Answer
You may get the impression that to rank for your chosen search term, you simply need to repeat that search term as many times as possible in as many places as possible on your page. This is referred to as keyword stuffing and is very much looked down upon by the search engines. In fact it is entirely possible to rank for a search term which does not exist on your page even once. I do not recommend that you test this theory out just yet, but conversely do not be tempted to put your search term on the page any more than is natural for that page.
6. Paid Links are the Answer
After reading about all the ways that people used to build links being closed up by the search engines, or being so labour intensive to be not worth the effort, many people looked towards simply paying a web site a monthly fee to display a link. This has worked well in the past but the search engines quickly became concerned about their algorithms being manipulated with sheer cash. The search engines now go to a lot of effort to devalue or even penalise sites that use paid links. This means that even if you can afford to pay the often huge monthly bills for links, you stand a good chance of gaining at best nothing and at worst a penalisation for your trouble.
7. Do No Evil is the Answer
Google famously stated as its mission statement that they intended to Do No Evil. So you might think that if you play exactly by the rules laid down by Google then the big G will reward you for your steadfast commitment to SEO as Google permits you with high rankings. Unfortunately this is not usually the case and in fact the people who are ranking at the top for competitive search terms are using one or more techniques that cross over into the slightly murkier side of search engine optimisation.
8. Pay Per Click is the Answer
Pay Per Click is the term used to describe the Google Adwords style of search engine marketing. This simply enough means that you set a price you are willing to pay and if you set a high enough price to beat your competitors, your advert will be placed on the search engine results page. Instant gratification! However a badly managed PPC campaign can literally break the bank. We highly discourage you from relying solely on PPC as your search engine marketing strategy. Its damn expensive!
9. Time is the Answer
So after everything you have learned, you might get the impression that you simply need to plug away and dutifully wait for the search engine spiders to come and gobble up your site and give you the rankings. Keep plugging away and putting in the hours for a few years and you will gradually rise to the top. No unfortunatley it is entirely possible that you will sink literally thousands of hours of employee time into your SEO strategy and never gain anything substantial back.
10. Money is the Answer
There aren’t many things in life that can not be sorted out by simply throwing unlimited bundles of cash at. That’s a sad fact that goes a long way to explaining why the rich get richer whilst the poor get poorer. Thankfully though in SEO terms this is not entirely true and it is definitely possible for a small operation to outrank huge coorporations with vastly larger budgets and resources.
So what is the answer?
That’s the rub. There is no definitive answer to what is going to work in SEO. And even if I was to start spilling the beans on some currently successful techniques, there is every chance that by the time you read this article they have already expired or become much less effective.