The SEO industry has its share of myths about what works and what doesn’t. Some put short-term gain, and getting their hands on your cash, before a long-term business partnership that works for you. Though far fewer in number than a few years ago, these are the people who have given SEO a bad name in the past.
How can to distinguish truth from fiction? Here are my top 10 favourite SEO myths to be wary of.
Myth #1: “If We Build It, They Will Come”
No they won’t. Build a store in the middle of a dark field, with no roads or lights and people won’t find you. It’s the same online. You still need to promote your website to qualified and relevant potential visitors, whether through search engines, social media, blogs or otherwise.
Myth #2: “Guaranteed Page 1 of Google or Your Money Back”
No SEO company can guarantee future results. No one can guarantee top organic positions for terms that your prospects are searching for, because nobody outside Google (and other search engines) knows the algorithms. Top of page 1 for irrelevant terms is easy and useless to you.
Myth #3: Search Engine Marketing Guarantees Permanent Positions
Wrong! Search engines constantly modify and improve their algorithms, sometimes daily. The same sites will not always appear in the same positions – fact.
Myth #4: The Goal of Search Engine Optimisation Is to Achieve Top Positions
The goal of SEO is to produce relevant, qualified traffic to your website, leading to greatly increased sales opportunities. If that means top positions, that’s a bonus and gives you bragging rights.
Myth #5: Search Engine Traffic Is Not as Good as Leads from Traditional Marketing Methods
Traffic from search engines is often of far higher quality than leads from traditional “push” marketing – advertising, PR, mailings, radio advertising, television, newspapers and magazines – because people who use search engines are actively looking for information about what you sell.
Myth #6 Search Engine Marketing Should Be Done In-House by the Webmaster
The IT department is a poor place for placing responsibility for search engine marketing. Search engine marketing requires expertise in website copywriting (an art in itself), website layout and usability, visitor psychology, site analysis and so on. This isn’t well suited to the IT department.
Myth #7: You Need to Submit Your Site to Thousands of Search Engines
Don’t do it. The vast majority of your site’s qualified traffic comes from the top 2 or 3 search engines, plus industry-specific websites that value your site’s quality and relevance enough to provide a link to your site for their visitors. Using automatic submission products, programs or suppliers is more likely to get your website blacklisted by the major search engines. Don’t do it.
Myth #8: You Don’t Have to Change Your Site to Achieve Top Positions
If you hear this, or similar tales, you may be dealing with a cloaking company. Cloaking is where a company designs one page for search engine spiders and one for customers to visit. Run a mile. All the major search engines consider cloaking to be spam and your site will be penalized or blacklisted for spamming.
Myth #9: Client Lists and Testimonials on a Website Prove Our SEO Credentials
An impressive client listing does not mean that the firm practices ethical search engine marketing. If a search engine marketing company is building “micro-sites” or buying domain names for search engine positioning (now punishable by Google Post-Penguin update), you’re probably not dealing with someone who’ll help you pursue a long-term, credible web marketing strategy without fear of penalty or punishment.
Myth #10: “Links are No Longer Important”
Not true at all. Linking your site with other related sites, preferably with these being as relevant as possible, and within the same business space, will affect your website’s reputation with the search engines. An effective search engine marketing campaign needs a link development program.
Image: Mythological Figures by Shutterstock