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Top 50 SEO Myths Everyone Should Know About


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Daily as Web marketers or online business owners we read tons of information about Search Engine Optimization. One expert say’s one thing, another expert states totally different facts. Thus everyone is getting confused about what really is going on in SEO industry. We decided to conduct a comprehensive research and show you what really works and what not. Read thoroughly these 50 SEO myths and stop getting fooled by so called “SEO experts” that simply creating empty buzz. Search Engine Optimization was-is-and will be as a vital part of online marketing strategy, no matter what!

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Top 50 SEO Myths Everyone Should Know About

  1. 1. Top 50 SEO Myths Everyone ShouldKnow AboutDaily as Web marketers or online business owners we read tons of information about SearchEngine Optimization. One expert say’s one thing, another expert states totally different facts. Thuseveryone is getting confused about what really is going on in SEO industry. We decided to conducta comprehensive research and show you what really works and what not. Read thoroughly these50 SEO myths and stop getting fooled by so called “SEO experts” that simply creating empty buzz.Search Engine Optimization was-is-and will be as a vital part of online marketing strategy, nomatter what!Myth #1: Only the first rank mattersMany ebooks and other resources that business owners use will place an important emphasis onthe need to be at the top of search results, whether that be on Google Search, other engines, oreven in places like social media. But surveys have shown that people quite often will look at otherresults and they will scroll down through the page. Being on top of a second page, for example, canbe quite beneficial for traffic. Also, search ranking is only one part of the puzzle. Now Googleplaces other results on the page like social recommendations and local results as well, whichmeans there are many more avenues open to you, and being first place is no longer as crucial as itonce was.Myth #2: You can do SEO with no outside helpDoing SEO simply means that you follow a set of techniques and procedures to increase thechance that web users will go to your site. It is true that anybody can learn these techniques, and ifyou are a web site owner and you want to do your own SEO then you can spend the time to learnand apply those techniques. But SEO can be complex and touches many areas such as onlinemarketing, coding, technical aspects along with PR skills. Most business owners simply do nothave everything required to do a great job at SEO, and that is why so many agencies exist thatoffer help. A simple IT worker or online marker is often not enough if you want truly good results.Myth #3: META tags are very importantIt used to be that every page on your site needed META tags in order to rank well. Those are smallpieces of code that would give Google a list of keywords and a description. The search enginewould base itself on those to find out what your web site was about. Now however, those do notaffect your ranking at all. Both Google and Bing stopped caring about META tags in order to indexsites. However, they are not useless. For example, your description tag will be the text that oftenappears next to the link that shows up on the search result, so its still a useful piece of the action.Myth #4: Keyword-rich domain names are ranked higherBack in the dotcom days, it used to be that the URL you used was very important. Google placed alot of importance on the domain name, and if you could get a name that had your keyword in it, youwould gain a big advantage over other sites. This is why a lot of companies in the late 90s boughtdomain names for a lot of money. But now, the indexing process only looks at the actual content of
  2. 2. your pages, and not the domain name. That name is still important, because people still get to seeit, but it will not make you rank higher.Myth #5: You have to submit your site to Google or other search enginesAll search engines used to have URL submission forms where you could send your site to Googleand others. In fact, they still do, but that process is unnecessary. The crawlers that these enginesuse now are sophisticated enough that any new site will be found in a matter of days, if not hours.The only time you would have to worry about submitting your site is if for some reason it was notindexed automatically after a couple of days.Myth #6: Submitting a sitemap will boost your rankingsGoogle offers a webmasters interface and from there, you can submit a sitemap, which is an XMLfile containing links to every page on your site. Some site owners take the time to submit such a fileevery time they make a change, but that is not necessary. Submitting a sitemap does not changeyour rankings, all it does is add pages which may not have been indexed already. If your site istypical and has links to all of the pages, then it will not be needed.Myth #7: SEO has nothing to do with social mediaBefore the advent of Facebook and Twitter, SEO was the one and only technique to get traffic froman organic way. But now, social media is everywhere, and the line is quickly blurring between thetwo. While some marketers still consider SEO and social media to be different beasts, the truth isthat they are very closely linked. For example, Google now places their own social network, GooglePlus, into its search results. If you can get enough influential people to talk about your product andlink to your site, then their recommendations will show up in any Google search result that theirfriends does. This clearly affects SEO. On the reverse side, Facebook has started going aftersearch as well, by recently introducing their Open Graph engine, which searches based on friendsand interests. So the two domains are closely linked, and they are becoming closer all the time.Myth #8: Google does not read CSS filesThe Google bot used to be fairly primitive and only saw text, which is why many peopleconcentrated on the text part of their web site. But now that engine is very sophisticated and itreads JavaScript, CSS, and more. The crawler can definitely see whether your sites presentation isappealing for users or not. For example, if someone searches on a mobile device and you have nomobile layout on your site, you may be missing out.Myth #9: You need to update your home page all the timeSome people think that by updating their home page content all the time they will rank higher, or bynot updating it their ranking will drop. In most cases that is not the case, because if you have asales page that offers a product, then there would be no reason to update that page unlesssomething about the product changes, and Google expects that.Myth #10: The H1 header has greater value than the rest of your textThe structure of your page is seen by Google and other engines, but you have to realize that manysites are structured very differently. As such, no one specific tag has more value than another. AnH1 tag is simply a header that corresponds to a CSS entry in order for the user to see your page a
  3. 3. certain way. It does not make Google rank your page any differently if you use H2 tags instead, or ifyour keywords are mostly in the text and not in a specific CSS tag.Myth #11: Linking to other highly ranked sites helps your rankingSome sites try to link to many other high authority sites in order to help their rankings, but that doesnot help at all. Google uses PageRank to decide how your site will rank, and that algorithm is basedon how useful your site is to others, and as such it will only look at how many other people link toyou. Whether you link back to them is of no importance. Otherwise, any site could raise to the topsimply by linking to millions of sites, which is not the case.Myth #12: Using automated SEO methods is always black hat or spamMany people use automated SEO methods that do not fall into the black hat area. Many companieshave very big sites and they use automated scripts to do a lot of the grunt work of SEO. Whether ornot a method is black hat or spammy is based on what the result is, not on how automated it is.Myth #13: PageRank is the only factor that mattersThe algorithm that Google uses to rank sites is PageRank, which determines how useful a site is toothers. But the result also takes indications from hundreds of other inputs as well, according towhat Google says. Some of these inputs are easy to see, like having your site being recommendedby others on Google Plus. This proves that not only PageRank matters. The company is stayingtight-lipped on how many inputs there are, and how important each gets weighed, but it is clear thatthere is more going on than just PageRank. With that said however, it is still widely believed thatPageRank is the most important factor, and a PR1 page is always better than a PR3 one.Myth #14: SEO is spamMany people who dont deal directly with SEO think that this is spam, that SEO is dead or even badin some way. The truth is that SEO is used by every large company, and every brand out there.This term includes a large array of methods and techniques, and those techniques have to be donein order to rank well online. Some methods however can be spam, and those are called black hatSEO. The problem is that many marketers resort to black hat SEO, and as such it has given a badreputation to the word itself, so it can be hard to convince newcomers that it is not spam ordangerous. All you need to be careful is not go against the terms of services that Google, Bing andthe other search engines publish.Myth #15: The title tag is hidden from search enginesMost of what Google sees on your site is the text that is visible to users, such as what appears onthe screen and is rendered in a web browser. As such, it would be easy to think that the title is notpicked up. However, your title is very important for SEO, because that is the text that appears onthe link people will click on. Not only is Google using it to help your ranking, but people will see it aswell when they go to click on your site.Myth #16: Usability does not affect SEOThe whole point of SEO is to gain traffic and get people to stay on your site so they can beentertained or buy your products and services. As such, SEO very much goes hand in hand withusability, because this is what will make a difference in whether or not someone stays on your sitefor long. If your site is hard to use or navigate, it is very easy for people to go to the next search
  4. 4. result. Also, the search engines themselves will look at layout and usability. If your site is hard tonavigate for your viewers, it will be hard for the crawler as well, and having a bad usability candefinitely affect your rankings.Myth #17: The .edu and .gov backlinks are the bestIt is true that most .edu and .gov sites are well ranked and have a high authority, because those aretypically official sites that are well maintained and contain no spam. However, this is just abyproduct of how they are maintained, it is no guarantee. The simple fact that they have a domainwhich ends with .gov or .edu does not help your ranking at all. If you have a backlink on one ofthese sites, it will only be as good as how much authority that site has. You gain nothing by the factthat it is an educational or government site. Posting a backlink on an obscure .edu site will not helpyou any more than posting it on an obscure blog.Myth #18: SEO is based on the quantity of links a site hasBelieving that the success of a SEO campaign is to have the most possible backlinks ismisunderstanding how ranking works. Any ranking algorithm, whether it is Google, Bing, Facebook,etc will rank sites based on many different factor. To do successful SEO, you have to address all ofthese factors, and having a lot of links is just one small piece of the puzzle. Also, each link has itsown quality value. Often, a single link from a popular news site talking about your product will bemuch more valuable than spamming hundreds of links to unknown blog sites.Myth #19: Backlinks are more important than contentSEO usually costs time and money, and as such it is unrealistic to think you can do everythingpossible in every facet of online marketing. So often you have to make choices, and some may betempted to focus on link building instead of content. However, the goal of SEO is to bring goodtraffic to your site. Quality is very important, not only quantity. Not having good content means yoursite has no value to anyone, and as such it will quickly lose any benefit that the extra links gaveyou. In fact, the most useful backlinks are usually not those you have direct access to. They arereviews from celebrities in your niche, news sites, and anyone who already is an authority talkingabout your product. By having good content, those links can actually come by themselves, simplythrough PR or word of mouth. But a bunch of backlinks on low authority blogs will not help youmuch at all, and the ranking you may get from them will not last long as those sites clean up thoselinks. Instead, focus on your audience and try to know who you are writing for. By producing goodcontent you are helping your site more over the long run.Myth #20: Paid links will get you banned from GoogleThere are many ways to get links, and some of them includes some type of payment. But not allpaid links are always bad, it depends on how that payment occurs. For example, many sites,including Google, offer advertising services. You can buy an ad on Adword, you could go to anotherad network, and many sites offer their own ad services. While some of them will not give you anyranking, others might, and those are completely legitimate. Paying a site that focuses on your nicheto have a link in a strategic location will likely not get you banned, however you have to rememberthat there are methods that will. Buying low quality links in bulk is one of the best way to get yoursite removed from the index.
  5. 5. Myth #21: Good content is all you needJust like building an army of links will not help you keep traffic for very long, having good contentand nothing else is also not enough. Most people agree that good content is the cornerstone ofhaving a successful site. By having engaging, useful posts for your visitors, you can ensure thatthey will want to visit your site and stay there for a long time. However, simply building it does notmake it known. Even a very good site has to do some SEO in order to bring traffic. Branding isincredibly important for any site, and getting your brand out there through SEO is the only way youwill get those eyes onto that content. Your articles and posts have to be paired with good incomingsignals, and that includes doing a lot of the typical SEO methods which can get you ranked insearch engines so that people can find your content.Myth #22: Google actively penalizes certain sitesAnyone who has done some work in SEO has been puzzled at some point when seeing strangedrops in ranking. It may seem as if you did nothing wrong, you increased all of your marketingefforts, yet somehow Google decided to rank you lower. It may be easy to think that your site waspenalized in some way, but most often that is not the case. Google clearly states that they onlypenalize sites that break their terms of use by actively going after black hat methods like spammingusers. In most cases, the problem is elsewhere. One potential cause may be things that other siteshave done, and not you. For example, maybe your competitor received a large influx of linksbecause they appeared on a popular TV show. Another reason is if Google changed some part oftheir internal algorithm, which happens fairly often and can be disastrous for some sites. Manypeople remember the Panda update which changed the ranking of millions of sites. Unfortunately inthese cases it can be very hard to find the root cause and fix it, and you may have to simply workharder at SEO in order to gain your ranking back. Resist the temptation to go to black hat methodsor to blame Google for it.Myth #23: Google AdWords will give you preferential treatmentAdWords is a very useful program by Google where you can place an ad on other sites to advertiseyour own. It should be part of any online marketing campaign. However, AdWords by itself does nothelp boost your rankings. Some think that because a company pays Google, then they will givethem preferential treatment in organic search, but that is not the case. On any typical search page,you can easily see that organic results are separated from paid advertisements. A PPC adcampaign will give you a ranking in the sense that it will allow you to be seen on the ads side of thepage, but it does not affect your ranking on the organic side in any way.Myth #24: SEO is something done once onlyA lot of sites do this mistake. When the site is new and it has just been created, the owners willinvest in doing some SEO, and then think that everything is done. But just like marketing in the realworld, SEO is not something you can do once and then forget. Instead, it is a continual processwhich has to be done over a long period of time, often the entire life of the site. This is because theweb is not a written encyclopedia, it is a medium that changes constantly. New competitors appear,search engines change their algorithms, new opportunity for marketing appear, and links that usedto be good can become stale and not that important anymore. By constantly keeping an eye onyour SEO efforts you ensure that your ranking does not drop, and you can keep focusing on newtechniques that may prove to work better.
  6. 6. Myth #25: SEO companies can get guaranteed resultsThis is a very common yet completely bogus claim which some marketing firms like to use. Theyclaim that by using their methods, your results will be guaranteed. But the truth is that no one canclaim a certain method is foolproof for the same reason that SEO is not something you do oncethen forget. Everything changes online and you never know when something that used to work wellwill stop working. Some tactics are clearly better than others, but none is guaranteed. Also, if therewas a magical way to get a high ranking, you can be sure that it would leak out at some point, andthen everyone would be using that same tactic, making it worthless.Myth #26: Placing too many links per page can penalize youSome people have been told that a certain amount of links on a page can be bad for your rankings.For example, placing more than a hundred links on your landing page will be bad for Google andyou will get penalized in some way. While it is true that spamming links on a page is something youshould not do, and the Google bot has ways to detect when a page is a link bait one, you shouldnot be afraid to create pages with lots of links. As long as they are relevant and part of the normalnavigation of your site, then there will be no penalty. The worse that could happen in these cases isthat Google may decide to ignore links part a hundred, but thats all.Myth #27: Internal links dont matter for SEOMany people think of linking only as far as backlinks go, and only focus on having other sites link totheir own pages. But internal linking is also important, just like your site layout is important, becausethe search crawlers try to act as much like a normal web viewer as they can. If your site has badinternal navigation, Google will be able to detect that, and this could penalize you. Take the timeneeded to create good internal links and an easy to use navigation system for your site. This issomething that is easy to do and you should not skip this step.Myth #28: Facebook likes or tweets are the number one factor in SEOSocial media has taken a central role in how people find information on the web today, and thesignals sent by these sites are fed into search engines in real time. No modern business shouldignore social media, simply because of the amount of time people spend on Facebook or Twitter.However, no one social site is the holy grail of SEO. Even if getting Facebook likes can beimportant, is is not any more so than the many other techniques that can be used. Also, there arearguments that point to the fact that while many people spend a lot of time on social networkingsites, they do so to talk to friends, not to buy products, so the benefit of a like is still not asunderstood as the benefit of ranking well on Google. You should not ignore the traditional SEO andfocus solely on social media.Myth #29: Keywords are no longer relevantSites used to be created with a paragraph at the bottom filled with keywords in order to attract moretraffic using something called keyword stuffing. In recent years, knowledgable marketers haverealized that this is no longer needed, in fact it is a practice that is heavily discouraged by searchengines. However, this does not mean that keywords are not still very important. While you shouldnot do keyword stuffing on a page, getting a good percentage of your keywords in your actual textis still crucial. When someone looks for a specific term on Google, the amount of time this keywordcomes up on your page is still heavily weighed in.
  7. 7. Myth #30: Using bigger headers will improve your rankingHeader tags such as H1 or H2 do matter because search engines look at the layout of your site, soyou need to have headers that make sense and that contain your keywords so that the searchengine knows what the content is about. However, the size or style of these headers, such aswhich CSS arguments you use, do not matter since Google and other search engines areinterested in the content and usability, not the artistic style.Myth #31: Keywords have to be exact matchesIts true that words have to match what people type into a search engine, however there arearguments for using words other than your selected keywords. For example, most words have a lotof synonyms, and people type in those synonyms all the time. By using a larger selection ofkeywords, you can be sure to catch those searches as well. Also, while keywords will bring yoursite up in the results, whether or not someone will click on your link depends on what the title of thatlink says. By having a clever title, something that people would want to click on, you gain more thanby simply repeating a list of keywords.Myth #32: PageRank does not matter anymoreWhen Google first started to be the top search engine and everyone focused on ranking well,PageRank became the number one criteria every marketer would go after. It used to be, and maystill be, the input metric that affects a ranking the most, but the company has been clear manytimes that sites are ranked on hundreds of different metrics, not just PageRank. As a result, somehave stopped caring so much about the PR ranking. However, that is not to say PageRank has norelevance at all anymore. While it is true you should focus on other things, you need to keep an eyeon your PageRank as well.Myth #33: Google Analytics can spy on peopleGoogle Analytics is the most popular analytics software used by sites around the web, and as aresult some people think that they are being spied on. But the company has said many times thatno personal data is being transmitted using Google Analytics. Indeed, if you actually use thisservice on your own site, you can see that the data you have access to are all anonymized, andyou only see numbers, not individuals.Myth #34: You should finish your site before starting to worry about SEOSEO can be thought of as a form of marketing, and most marketing efforts are made after a site iscompleted, but there are steps that you should take before. For example, you should make sureyou have a good layout, good navigation, META tags, titles, and so on. All of these are part of SEOand should be done while you are building the site. Also remember that search engines can findyour site as soon as it is live, so you want your SEO to be ready whenever Google first crawls it.Myth #35: Buying links, likes or tweets will help your site rank betterThere are a lot of sites selling Facebook likes, followers, and so on. Often, those services seemquite cheap, such as 10,000 likes for $10. However, in most cases these are not worth the money.First, they are usually fake accounts, bots that simply mass follow for a price. They are not realpeople, which means no one will see those social signals, and as a result they will not increaseyour ranking. Worse, many sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google forbid these types of acts,and if you get discovered, you could be delisted.
  8. 8. Myth #36: Paid links always come from shady sitesIn the case of bulk services, it is true that a lot of those paid links will come from shady sources,including bots or proxies. However, many reputable sites sell links as well, in the form of advertisingor even preferential treatment. In those cases, you may have very legitimate links on high authoritysites, and those can help your site rank better on search engines.Myth #37: Google wont find bad or spammy linksSome of the people who buy bulk links or who use automated methods to spam blog posts thinkthat Google will not find them, and that they will gain from their black hat practices. In many cases,that may actually be true, since Google and other search engines are not part of the secret police.But while individual bad links may not be discovered, the bigger risk is that the sites on which yourlinks have been placed will be found and removed from the index, or that the actual algorithm willbe modified to make those backlinks irrelevant. When that happens you may find a drastic changein your ranking.Myth #38: You should not place too many outbound linksSome people think that they should only link to a small number of outbound sites. There is only onecase where linking to other sites can hurt you, and that is if you become part of a backlinks networkfor the sole purpose of raising your ranking. In that case, when one site is discovered, all of themmay be hit. But in any other case, Google and other search engines do not care at all how manyoutbound link you have, and there is no limit to how often you can link to other sites.Myth #39: With good SEO you do not need PPC marketingSome sites will spend a lot of time doing SEO and get great organic results, but even then PPCcampaigns can be useful. Surveys should that it often is not the same people who click on adsversus those who click on organic links, so it can be worthwhile to do both, if you have the moneyfor it. Also, PPC links are guaranteed to cost you only when someone clicks, and do not suffer fromchanges in algorithms like the Panda update.Myth #40: You can manipulate search rankingsThis is a myth many marketing sites attempt to promote, the fact that they can somehowmanipulate search rankings in a way that is outside traditional SEO. The whole point of SEO is totry and rank your site better. If there was another method that actually worked, then by definition itwould be part of SEO. The truth is that there is no magical way to manipulate search rankings, andusually when someone says that they can, what they mean is that they will use black hat ways tospeed up your ranking. But using spam and other black hat strategies mean your site is put at risk.You may have a boost now but pay for it later on.Myth #41: A long domain name will rank easierBack when search engines used to look at the actual domain name for keywords, it was true thatusing a long domain name would help your site rank. However this has not been true in manyyears, and now your domain name should be chosen so that users will recognize your brand, butnot for SEO purposes.
  9. 9. Myth #42: Blog comment backlinks are always usefulThere are many techniques that talk about leaving blog and forum comments as a way to increaseyour ranking. Several software tools also exist to do this automatically because this is the type oftask that can be done by a bot very easily. There are two problems however. First, these backlinkswill usually end up on low authority sites, and even if you add a lot of them, they will not give youmuch. Worse, many blogs and forums add a tag called nofollow which means any link you leavebehind will not be taken into account at all by search engines. What this means is that you maywork for no reason at all.Myth #43: .COM ranks always better than .NET or .ORGJust like leaving a link on a .edu or .gov site does not automatically raise your ranking, using a .comdoes not help either, and is certainly not better than a .net or .org. Search engines do not take thedomain extension into account when they rank sites. Instead, what matters is how much authoritythe site you leave a link on has. If you get a backlink from an important site, then it does not matterwhat domain extension it has.Myth #44: Directory links dont work anymoreBack before search engines were very sophisticated, most people would use directories to findsites. Yahoo had one of the most popular ones, and it is still used by a few people. Now however,most marketers do not bother with directory links because they figure search engines are enough.But you have to remember that these directories can count as links as well. While the opendirectories are not very useful anymore, there are private or restricted directories that still operate inparticular niches. If you find one and manage to get on it, this can be very powerful.Myth #45: PageRank is the golden rule for SEOWhen Google came out with PageRank, it instantly became the go-to metric for web site owners.Since then however, the search engine has varied the input signals that it uses. While PageRank isstill very important, it is far from the only metric. If you only focus on it, you will miss many goodopportunities to get traffic. Instead, you need to use all of the facets of SEO.Myth #46: More content is always betterHaving good, quality content is one of the most important part of having a successful site. If youcan add content on a regular basis, then it helps you since you get more indexed content for peopleto find. However, adding more words for your articles just to have a better chance at appearing inrankings can be misleading. At some point you run out of keywords, and if your content is long andboring to read, then you may alienate your readers.Myth #47: Articles are the best type of contentArticles are often seen as the best way to attract traffic, whether that be blog posts on your own siteor article marketing. But remember that your content will not be seen if no one knows it exist. Whilesearch engines will crawl your site, you still need to do basic SEO techniques to increase yourtraffic. While you should start with content, you cannot stop there.Myth #48: Nofollow links are worthlessIf youve experienced leaving backlinks on blogs or forums you may have found that many of themdo not help your ranking at all because of the nofollow attribute. This is true, but that doesnt mean
  10. 10. all links that are nofollow are worthless. Remember that links have two utility, gaining ranking insearch engines but also leading people to your page. If you have a link in a prominent position on apopular site, then many people may see it and click on it, regardless of the fact that it has thishidden nofollow tag.Myth #49: Google doesnt like SEOBecause of how strict Google is and how they monitor SEO practices, some think that the companydoesnt like SEO, or wishes it would go away. But Google said that this is not the case. Allcompanies, big and small, optimize their sites. SEO is good because it helps people find relevantcontent. What search engines frown upon are black hat techniques.Myth #50: SEO is deadJust like there are people who automatically assume that SEO is evil because of a few bad apples,others assume SEO is simply dead. It can be damaging to any online marketer, but it can also beeasy to prove false. Simply looking at how large brands advertise, it can be seen that SEO is usedeverywhere. Companies spend millions of dollars tweaking their sites and online advertisingcampaigns because of SEO. So no, SEO is not dead and probably never will be as long as thereare search engines.Autor: Mikhail Tuknov is a President & Founder of Internet marketing company,focused on helping businesses increase online sales, strengthen their overall brand, anddramatically boost website traffic through proven online marketing concepts, such as viralmarketing, SEO, PPC and social media.