In a time where Google and Bing are the prime search engines for people to find websites for anything they need, the content, or words, used in your website can make or break it. SEO, or search engine optimization, has become a necessity for websites to perform to gain attention in the web.
But before you begin to do all the work and research for how to perfect this tactic, here are 10 common myths about SEO:
01It should be done only after a site is produced. Good and proper development should always integrate how a person will find the site, so that must include optimizing your pages for content and keywords. It's not just enough to try to bombard the page with keywords like "web design," "web development," "web work," ad nausea; you have to have proper information architecture to make it work.
02It takes thousands of dollars a month to get good SEO. Couldn't be any more false. However, SEO does take a lot of time. SEO is a continuous process that you need to work on a regular basis, and if spending a lot of time is the same as spending money to you, then yes, it does take money. It just shouldn't cost you an arm and a leg to get it.
03SEO providers can guarantee first page position. This is absolutely false! It can kill you spending money buying what you think is a guarantee...then when you take the time to read the Terms of Service you'll notice a lot of disclosures saying that "we can't really guarantee" you success. Let's look at this from a logical perspective. Coca-Cola doesn't just give out its formula; McDonalds doesn't give you their special sauce recipe; KFC's chicken recipe is a trade secret. So is Google's algorithm for determining search rankings. Unless you work for Google, no one on earth can guarantee you the 1st position unless they are also selling snake oil. Buyer beware? Indeed!
04Buying back links is good business. This is false because Google penalizes backlinks from malware ridden sites or those of poor quality. Linking pages is good for your site, but if you get any messages says, “Link my site and I'll link yours”, get rid of it.
05You need to have a ton of H1 tags on your main page. There have been tests done that show H1 tags are not as important as they portray them to be. Where possible using H1 tags is still a good idea. However if it takes longer than an hour to implement H1 tags on all pages and they already have some large descriptive text on the page, then it is probably not worth the time required. You should only have a max of 2.
06Flash is awesome to look at, and it's okay for search engines. If your goal is to be ranked higher on search engines, then overloading your page with Flash isn't the way to go. Search engines are currently working on parsing Flash to read the text that matters, and unless you set this up properly, chances are the Flash will end up hurting your rankings. Computers cannot interpret the content of pictures. There are alt tags for a reason. This tag is an attribute added to pictures that describes what they portray in words. Keyword rich alt text can also raise the relevance of a page for the keywords used, but not more than normal html text. Don't stuff keywords in though; it will not help you. Image file names, where page your image is on, and even the image size are all components that are used in SEO, so use this to your advantage
07Over describing your meta tags are okay. The fact of the matter is meta tags don't really matter anymore. Google's Webmaster blog even has a post with the title, “Google does not use keyword meta tag in web ranking”. This doesn't mean you should ignore meta tags entirely though. Google does support several meta tags, like the description meta tag.
08Social media & SEO aren't related at all. “Social search” is the intersection of SEO and social media. Search engines have developed a relationship with social media over time, and have created software that supports it like Google . Having a social media strategy and using it as part of your search engine optimization efforts wouldn't be a bad idea. Social media has been trending more and more over the past few years, and it doesn't seem to stop. Just like using images for SEO, use social media to your advantage!
09More links is better than more content. Like I said earlier, the content is the bread and butter of your website and SEO, but don't underestimate the traffic links can bring you. Links can be helpful, but if you have too many, it won't do you any good. Ask yourself in your content some questions Are you writing with a purpose? Who is your target audience? Have you analyzed your traffic sources and top performing posts? What keywords are you targeting? If all of these questions seem new to you, then links should be used in your site. The content will hint towards the links you need to include in your site.
10We have to be on the 1st page. Studies have shown that click-through rates that people favor the top search results -- particularly the top three listings. However, it’s also been shown that on subsequent pages, being listed toward the top of the page shows similar click behavior. So making the cut isn't as important as it used to be. And, search engines know that this is a big game and are committed to showing relevant results despite all the tricks that Black-Hat SEO operators try to pull. So they often will randomize or change the algorithm to put in the possibility of chance--this keeps sites rotating in and out of the 1st position. It also keeps one SEO operator from hogging the top slot without having relevant content.
So, what other myths do you know about SEO? How do you plan on using these tips to your company's advantage?