10 SEO Myths Busted and Explained

Posted by Robert Cerff in Search on 24 October 2014

Tags: google, google adwords, internet marketing, lead generation, meta tags, online marketing, seo

As with most myths, there is a grain of truth or they’ve originated from something that was once true.  As search engines become better at determining the intent of a searcher, SEO is no different. 

Certain things that were once true no longer work, while other things were never true to begin with.  Below are 10 myths or misconceptions that we encounter on a regular basis.

Meta tags:
We’ve covered many of the meta tags in the past.  Meta tags are for the most part disregarded by the search engines.  The description tag may still have some use to helping to increase traffic, but it certainly won’t help your rankings.

Truth: Meta tags do still have some use, but not in terms of rankings.

Adding keywords:
Putting keywords on a page won’t guarantee that the page will rank accordingly.  Even with flawless on-page formatting, there are many other factors that contribute to your SEOSEO is more than simply adding keywords to a page it’s about creating a website that is understood by search engines at a page level to convey an overall theme or idea.

Truth:  Simply ensuring the keyword is on a page won’t guarantee your page will rank for that keyword. 

Keyword density:
There is no ideal number of times a keyword should appear on a page.  Your content should include the keywords that you would like searchers to find you for.  The goal here is really to make your content clear and should meet the expectations of the searcher, not to bombard them with a keyword phrase over and over.

Truth:  There is no ideal density of keywords, but your content should read naturally.

Search engine submissions:
The idea that you need to submit your website to Google (or hundreds of other search engines) in order to rank is simply not true.  Even if you do submit your website to Google there is no guarantee that your website will be indexed, let alone ranked.  There are a handful of directories or private search engines that may require you to request that you are crawled, but these are usually industry specific and won’t help rankings, they’ll simply request your inclusion in their indexes.

It is still recommended that you submit your sitemaps to Google but this is really for tracking the indexing of your website.  If your SEO has been done correctly, Google will find your website without you having to ever submit it.

Truth:  Search engines have means of crawling and discovering websites and their pages without requiring you to submit your website to them.

Guaranteed first place:
Simply put, nobody can guarantee you a first place ranking on Google.

Search engine rankings are inherently unstable.  These may fluctuate drastically based on unseen factors such as which data centre you’re accessing, location, search history or even current trends.  Because these factors can’t be controlled by any one person (or even any defined group) nobody can guarantee rankings, not even Google employees.

Truth: You can’t guarantee something that fluctuates on factors outside of your control.

There’s a plug-in for SEO:
While it is very true that many plug-ins exist to make SEO easier or just quicker, there is no single automated process to SEO.  SEO is an implementation of creative and technical knowledge.  Tools simply make these tasks easier, but can’t automate your SEO for you.

Truth:  Many facets of SEO can be automated but the overall process is organic and requires regular intervention.

Link farms:
Links remain an important part of SEO, but the quality of links are more important than the quantity.  Often in the past someone would promise a multitude of links only to be part of some link farm (or other mass linking scheme).  These links are at best useless, but with recent Google updates, whereas the risk of being penalised and losing rankings is high.

Truth: Links influence SEO.  Quality links are better than many links.  Poor links can negatively affect your SEO.

Buying ads will help my rankings:
No amount of ad buying will get you organically ranked higher.  Organic search results are entirely independent of paid search results, using different “engines” entirely to display these ads.  Paying for ads will not change the algorithmic evaluation of your website and subsequently has no effect on your rankings.

Truth:  Paid advertising will get you to the top of the search results, but only the paid search results.

Authorship will improve rankings:
Much like the description tag, this may have helped generate traffic to your website by profiling a particular author in the search results pages, this never did aid SEO.  It would seem that like many other meta tags this has been dropped by Google and was never adopted by other search engines.

Truth:  Yet more meta data that’s depreciated over time to have little to no effect on your websites SEO.

SEO is about rankings:
While there will always be a strong correlation between your search results placement and traffic, ranking is not the end goal.  Besides the fact that rankings fluctuate so regularly that it is nearly impossible to track, the real goal behind SEO has always been, and will always be, about generating quality traffic.

Truth:  SEO is about increasing your organic search traffic in a way that it benefits your business.

People promoting these myths, often doing so unintentionally, can quickly promote bad practices.  While often these practices may not have an effect on your SEO, or your website’s performance in general, occasionally they may have a negative effect.

SEO if done correctly can be a great tool when promoting your website and ultimately your business.  By avoiding the myths and focusing on the facts you’ll see a positive return time and again.