Over the years SEO got more and more popular, and almost everyone who owns a website, and many of the people who don’t, have heard a thing or two about SEO. The problem is that there are a lot of misconceptions about SEO that are running around and are being spread by word of mouth. Anyone who once listened to a lecture about SEO or read an article in NY Times about it suddenly feels like a world class expert and running around advising people about SEO. Yet, they never do it themselves.
That’s of course the nature of many advice givers, so you should definitely watch out who you listen to. In the world of SEO, any small mistake could get your site penalized by Google and once that happen you can kiss your beloved traffic good-bye.
Well, we’re here to bust some SEO myths. Let’s get started:
“You need to add your keywords everywhere so Google would know to rank you on it”
Partly true but mostly false. Adding your keywords everywhere will just make your text very hard to read, or at the very least won’t make sense to a normal human being. Also called “keyword stuffing” and Google can penalize your site for it. Even if you try to be clever, and add those keywords where no one can see, like below the footer, or even make it in the same color as the background, you will only be making it worse. Google don’t like to be manipulated.
Try to make your headers and text sound normal. Don’t think about Google, think about your users. If the keywords you are trying to target are relevant to you, you will see they will pop up in the text when you naturally write about your topic.
With that said, it is better to have a keyword in your titles and headers but don’t over-do it and make it natural. If your text is relevant to that keyword it shouldn’t be hard.
“You need to get a lot of links to rank high on Google”
So false. I owned a few sites myself that got rankings with just 2-5 links. That won’t work everywhere, but the point is that it’s not about the quantity – it’s about the quality.
There is no real rule to it, but buying a lot of links, or getting links in any automatic method could eventually hurt your site. Even buying just a few links in the wrong placements could hurt your site. The links you want to focus on are links that look natural and are from high authority sites, or at least relevant sites in a relevant context.
Getting 100’s and even 1000’s of links in low quality and irrelevant sites will not get you rankings at all. It might work for a month or so, but Google will catch you.
For more examples about links you should avoid, go here.
“Wow..your PageRank is really low. You got to improve it”
PageRank is dead as Walkmans (remember that time?). It is something that used to matter back then where the amount of links was the main factor in search engine rankings and ‘black hat’ ruled the world.
PageRank used to be to rank that Google gives each web page, and this rank represented the links popularity of a page. While this factor is still available, it doesn’t mean anything anymore. Low PR sites could get tons of traffic and high PR sites could be as deserted as the moon.
“Of course you don’t have traffic, your ‘meta keywords’ is empty”
Meta tags are part of the code of your web page. While ‘meta title’ and ‘meta description’ still matter in some way, ‘meta keywords’ is irrelevant and has nothing to do with your rankings.
“Change the homepage link to a keyword”
I once worked in an SEO agency that thought it’s brilliant to change the link to your homepage from ‘home’ or ‘homepage’ to a keyword you want to target, so Google would think your homepage is relevant for that keyword. It was brilliant for about 2 months.
“Link to high authority websites”
Some people might advise you to link to Wikipedia or Google. I heard a few reasons to it. None of make sense. Links work only if they are relevant. Period.
“Use the bold function on important keywords”
Makes me laugh but this is Bullsh**. Search engines don’t care if you use Bolding, Underline or make it Italic. In fact, if you over-do it you might lose some points on it.
“Did you submit your site to Google yet?”
You don’t need to submit your site to anything. Once you get 1 link to your site, Google will find it. In fact, you don’t even need this 1 link. Google have so many ways to find your website. Did you hear about Chrome?
Overall, advises from inexperienced people could hurt you no matter what. In the SEO world, where you website is sometimes your main business it could really hurt your wallet.
If you hear about a clever SEO loop-hole by the time you hear about it it was probably already closed. In any case you should always Google about the advice you have been given. Google knows its job so I guarantee you will find answers.