Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Myths

I did an exact phrase search on "SEO myths" and found 40k+ results. So who am I to tell you what the real SEO myths are?

All these published myths come from different plumage SEO experts who sometimes disagree on certain points (which is good, that keeps them sharp). But there are many common threads too, which leads me to a compilation of common agreed SEO myths and misconceptions.

Most myths are based on facts, some are interpretations and observations. But they can prevent you from using unethical SEO practices when optimizing your site.

Remember: SEO is a never ending practice, therefore you will never find the one-and-only SEO myths list (or one-and-only SEO do-list) on any website, blog or forum thread.

Like the other chapters, this one isn't going to tell you how to do proper SEO, but how to avoid improper SEO.
Therefore I like to publish some myths about SEO. Things that simply aren't true or which are misconceptions. These myths are not my personal opinions, but are based on common agreed facts which you can find all over the web.

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AdSense will boost your ranking

Wrong: Adsense is not related in any way to SEO ranking. Google will definitely not give you a ranking bonus. Adsense might raise your income but this has nothing to do with your search rankings.

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Adwords will boost your ranking

Wrong: Similarly to Adsense, Adwords has nothing to do with your search rankings. Adwords will bring more traffic to your site but this will not affect your organic rankings.

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Affiliate sites are considered as spam (Google)

Yes and no: Sites that only has some copied text snippets and only links to other websites, will be categorized as "Thin affiliate".

Original Google text from their (internal) quality Guidelines April 2007:

When trying to decide if a page is Spam, it is helpful to ask yourself this question: if I remove the scraped (copied) content, the ads, and the links to other pages, is there anything of value left? if the answer is no, the page is probably Spam.

 

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Applying a lot of inbound links in a short time will boost my ranking

Wrong: The opposite can happen (links filter). If you gain too much links in a short time, Google's link filter can be activated. Google will see you as some one who 'knows' (artificial) about SEO, while Google prefers to have sites that 'grow' (in popularity) in a natural way.


Read Google's Link Guidelines

 

 

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Guaranteed #1 (organic) position in Google

Wrong: Ever received a newsletter with this header? If yes, then don't do business with them. Nobody can guarantee a number one position in the organic SERPS.
These kind of firms often use obscure and long keyword phrases (which users never will type) that are easier to rank for. While they should focus on competitive keywords that are really important for your business. Some also requiring continuing payment to keep your position, which will reduce your ROI (Return Of Investment). Beside that, they sometimes use unethical practices too.
In short, the interests of firms that offer so-called guarantees are not in line with your best interests.

I quote Google: Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a "special relationship" with Google, or advertise a "priority submit" to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or through the Webmaster Tools and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever

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Hiring a SEO is totally unnecessary and expensive

Wrong: If a company decides to built a website, then they need a web developer. If they want publish this website online, they need a web hosting company or their own ICT department. If they want their website to be found by potential customers, then they need a SEO specialist. For every stage you need a specialist or expert. But you should know that SEO is not just one stage. You can SEO split into: keyword research, page optimization, specific copywriting, Ad campaigns, Link building campaigns etc. The question is, do you hire just one person, or do you hire a SEO firm that has all the necessary expertise.

But if you are a one-person firm, using a website for monetization, hiring a SEO firm can be very expensive. Therefore it's better to start with an (much cheaper) alternative, like an online SEO training school.

 

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Many keywords in the meta tags increase ranking

Wrong: There are two meta tags (do not confuse this with the <title> tag) where you used to put a description and keywords to identify yourself for the search engines: the description tag and the keyword tag. Both have no SE ranking value anymore. The description tag is often used as a snippet below the blue link on Google's results page. So use this tag with normal readable language, do not stuff it with only keywords. The keyword tag is completely ignored. But they do no harm if you use both meta tags in a natural way.

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Multiple domain names pointing to the same site increase rankings

Wrong: If you have multiple domain names pointing to the same site, the search engines call them "mirrors" and will penalize you (the mirrors won't get listed and your main site could get a devaluation penalty in ranking). So if you have multiple domain names and you want to remain in the SERPs, build sites to correspond to each separate domain name.

You better can focus your business to one website. If you have 5 domain names, then you have to do 5 times the updates, SEO, the link building, etc. While you get northing (extra ranking) in return. But if you have for example a domainname.com, and also a domainname.net, and a domainname.info then do a 301 redirect to the one you use as your main website. Another proper use of multiple domain names is when you have a large company, with one main product and 4 sub products, then you could consider to build one main website and use the other 4 for each sub product. But this depends on your main business plan and preferred business model.
As a general rule of thumb, (proper optimized) larger sites nearly always outrank smaller sites.

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Shared IP Address is risky, myth or reality?

Read my article: Banned Shared IP Address by Association

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SEO is only for SEO Consultants

Yes and no: This 'myth' causes daily a lot of discussions and different opinions (on SEO blogs and forums). A SEO Consultant will of course confirm this statement (it's his job). The question is, when can you call yourself (or some one else) a SEO Consultant or specialist or expert? If you can do the regular maintenance of your car by yourself, does that mean you are the same as a qualified car engineer? The results can be the same, or not?

My opinion is (for what it's worth for): if you have a successful business and use a website as your main business, then you should hire a professional SEO Consultant (he must be able to proof that with real live examples, based on only ethical SEO practices). But if you have a small online business (like a web shop, or a one-person business) and you know how to proper build a website and you are eager to learn (self training, reading books, visit SEO forums and blogs, etc.), have affinity with e-commerce, and above all have the time!, then you probably can do your own SEO practice too. But if you can't succeed to get a successful return of investment, then you probably need a professional SEO or SEM Consultant.

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SEO is very expensive

Yes and no: Most SEO Consultants doesn't show (on their websites) any fixed prices. It depends of the work they have to do. But hour rates can differ from 200 to 800 dollars. The problem is, SEO isn't a one-time job. It never stops. So if you have plans to outsource your SEO, you always need to pay a monthly (recurring) fee or a fee based on the worked hours (depending of the contract and depending of the work what is done). Especially these 'fixed' recurring fees can vary a lot. Again, this can be very expensive for small business owners (in relation with your ROI). For a multi national it's just a minor part of a large available IT or marketing budget.
It can be a simple calculation. If you currently aren't satisfied about the (financial) results of your website and you hire a SEO firm for (say) a recurring $2000 a month, and as a direct result of that your ROI will raise with $4000, well I think I just gave you the answer of this myth.

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SEO is the goal is to be at the top of page one

Wrong: This is often a wrong approach of many business website owners.
Your goal should be to optimize your return on investment (ROI) in optimization and search engine marketing. The goal of SEO and SEM is to engineer a diversified portfolio of hundreds (or more) of targeted keyword phrase combinations that, together, achieve maximum ROI. Your main weapon in this are your server (website) statistics. Your statistics will tell you from where your visitor is coming from, which keywords (phrases) he has used to find you, on which page he landed, which pages he visits, your bounce rate, which 'path' he follows to finally make that sale.
It happens a lot that users land on your site with keyword phrases you never have thought about. That's why it is not always good to focus on a high (top page) position with competitive keywords 'you' think that are important.

I have to admit that there are some people who disagree with me. That's fine. But remember, your ROI is the most important goal you should target for. And if you have found a better (money generating) goal than that, please tell me :-)

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Submitting my site every week to Google will cause faster indexing of my site

Wrong: In fact this can do you harm. Google (and other search engines) can consider this as spamming the search engines (submission spam). In fact, to get indexed you only need at least one link pointing to your site. After that the crawler will find you automatically. But if you still want to do a (one time) manual submission, then upload your (XML) sitemap through the webmaster tools of Google, Yahoo! and Live Search. It's the easiest way.

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Submitting my site to hundreds of search engines gives me a ranking boost.

Wrong: There are some (free) services that offer you to submit your site to hundreds or even thousands search engines. To be honest, there aren't that many search engines (isn't every one using Google?). And if you are using one of these services, you probably will have the risk to end up in bad neighborhoods (so-called free for all sites), which can give you some penalty risk.

If you have a new site, submit (one time) your site to Google, Yahoo! and Live Search (see links above). Try to get listed in DMOZ.org, consider some good paid directories, like business.com, Yahoo! directory and botw.org and you will have a good start. After that, start a good linking campaign with other directories, and relevant high ranking sites.

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You don't need to update your site to keep your rankings.

Wrong: By regular maintenance (removing outdated material, fix broken links, add new content, etc.) and updating your current pages regularly, you are signaling the bots and crawlers to come back and re-crawl your site for changes to their listings. To maintain current or higher rankings, you need to tweak the pages for better results if necessary. If neglected, your current positions could easily slip out of the top rankings as new competing sites get indexed and optimized.

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