Top 5 SEO Myths – Ignore Them At Your Peril!

Posted 22/11/2012

SEO Myths - Hallam Internet SEO

We reveal the top 5 SEO myths so you can be sure you’re not making any of these mistakes on your website.

Some people think SEO is a mysterious dark art and as a result, SEO myths are prevalent. Whatever your experience of SEO, you’re likely to have heard at least 1 of our top 5. Read on to make sure you know fact from fiction…

 1. Meta keywords help to improve my ranking!

Wrong! Matt Cutts, Head of Google Web Spam says: “Google doesn’t use the keywords meta tag in our scoring at all. It’s just a waste of time to throw a lot of phrases into the keywords meta tag. It would be a better use of your effort to do things like speed up your website, because that can directly improve the usability of your site even independently of SEO.”

Don’t get meta keywords confused with title tags, which is a ranking factor for Google. Just forget about adding keywords tags, it’s not going to help your rankings.

 

2. The more links my website has the better!

Nope! Not all links are equal, the name of the game is quality. You’re wasting time and money buying links or getting links from poor quality, irrelevant sites just to increase the number of links your website has. Google and other search engines will soon figure out your linking strategy and, even if it’s not immediate, you will see a drop in your rankings. Google is now putting more focus on link earning rather than link building. This means, among other things, creating great quality content that people want to link to. Yes, it’ll take longer than buying a few hundred links but, as my Mum says, “if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well!”

 

3. If my domain URL has my keywords in it, I’ll rank better!

Not quite! Buying a keyword rich domain name like brownleatherboots.com, for example, may previously have secured you a position on the first page for the keyword ‘brown leather boots’ but, due to a recent Google algorithm change that’s no longer the case.

 

Having an important keywords in your URL could still be a good idea but what the change means is that this alone will no loner allow you to outrank better quality websites just because of the words in your URL.

 

4. I can trick search engines into ranking my site higher!

Bad idea! There’s no trickery, quick fix or shortcut to get your website to rank well. You might of heard of techniques like hiding text on a web page using white text on  a white background so that you can cram in keywords and trick Google into thinking your page is about your chosen keywords. Don’t try it. Don’t try any ‘trick’ to rank better. It’s not helpful for users, and if you constantly use tricks to try and increase your rankings you’ll get found out by Google and then there’s only one way your rankings are going… and that’s down! Your site may even be removed from the search results altogether and that could have catastrophic consequences for your business.

 

 

5. Having a keyword rich Meta Description will help my site rank better!

Incorrect! A meta description is the two lines of text that appears beneath the hyperlink in search results as you can see below.

 

 

 

 

Google doesn’t use your meta description as a ranking factor. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use relevant keywords in your meta description though. As you can see in the example above, the keywords a person has searched for will be displayed in bold if they appear in your meta description. This is a positive signal to searchers that your webpage will contain the information they’re looking for and they’re more likely to click through to your website. Your meta descriptions are your chance to sell the content that is on your page, tell searchers why your information can be trusted and encourage them to click through with a strong call to action.

So now you know…

My advice? If in doubt about the best thing to do for your website, just create great quality content for humans that’s interesting, engaging and that you’d like to read, watch or share. Quality will always win.

I’m curious how many of the top 5 SEO myths you believed before reading this post? I’d love you to comment and let me know. If you knew all 5 were SEO myths then feel free to brag about it in the comments as well!

 

 
 

 
 
Comments
  1. I was aware of all of these myths – some to a greater extend than others. However – it is always to get a reminder of what we are striving to achieve when working on the website. For us that is quality content that is helpful to our readers. We are getting there….

    Sarah Courbet

  2. This is neither new, nor true. I’d discourage anyone from discounting one or another tactic because a blog post calls it a myth. For example, we did a major overhaul of meta keywords on one of our clients’ e-commerce site, just to reflect what it was really about – 20% increase in traffic driven specifically by this change. So keyword stuffing now, but if it is aligned with the client’s actual content – go for it!

    Michallo

  3. Thank you for the valuable information. I’ve noticed a few typing errors. Would you like me to send details of them?

    Barbara Hodgkinson

  4. I have recently noticed the appearance of a several sites in different sectors with word loaded domains. Not strictly keyword loaded just words seperated by – eg, stay-in-a-pub

    Its number 1 for the exact match, it’s come from nowhere so this doesn’t explain how google is penalising such poor content sites with purposefully registered domain names appear to outrank better quality sites.
    Really good points as usual though :)
    Andrew

    Andy Web

  5. There is a lot of useful information here and it helps clear up some of the more common misconceptions.

    Thanks
    Aadil

    Boss Web Design

  6. #3 is about the EDM algorithm change for "Exact Domain Matches"

    Mick Lehr

  7. Thanks for this top. #2 sure ??

    michael

  8. Well, as someone who thinks he produces great content and knows nothing about SEO that was truly wonderful to read. Thanks

    Mark Richards

  9. Useful article thanks very much, I didn’t realise about the meta description so will go and review mine now.

    Jayne Lloyd

  10. Nice article. I’ll endeavour to write better content although a well written and well researched article will surely take the best part of day if not longer! Any tips? What’s the optimum length of a blog post? Another task to add to the list. I found your site in .net magazine btw.

    Nick

    • Hi Nick! Thanks for finding us online.
      Blog posts shouldn’t take that long at all. My advice, write about what you know and you’ll be able to write quality content quickly. I personally wouldn’t say there is any optimum length for a blog post. The topic will dictate the length. Some will be 250 words, others might be 2000. Understand who your readers will be and make sure you write your post for them.
      Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter to so you don’t miss any of our future posts! The subscription box is at the top of this page.
      Sarah

      Sarah Dawes

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