Debunking SEO Myths

The field of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is rife with myths and misunderstandings for two main reasons: it seems fairly complicated to the lay person, and the field is constantly changing. SEO doesn't have to seem so complex and challenging, however, and we'd like to take some time to debunk some of the most common SEO myths.

1. SEO is a one-time event; then you're done. We wish it were that simple, but the fact is, SEO work is an ongoing project. Your website should always be considered a "work-in-progress", and with the constant search engine updates, technology changes, and online competition, businesses can't afford to sit on their marketing laurels. A good SEO agency or in-house team will have plenty of work getting (and keeping) your site ranked to keep them busy month after month.

2. Keyword density or keyword loading will help get you ranked. Keyword density is an important factor in your website's usability and relevance (of which search engines do take account), but loading your web pages with your top keyword phrases in an overly-redundant fashion will not only be obvious to searchers, but will also make your site look spammy to search engine spiders. Best practices suggest using your keywords as often as you can while still making the content flow naturally. Long story short: make your pages user-friendly and helpful with readable and original content, and update your site as needed.

3. Meta tags boost rankings. This has not been the case for years. Search engines got wise to spammers trying to manipulate meta tags several years back and have not used them in ranking algorithms since. While maintaining good, relevant meta tags and descriptions will create a cleaner, more professional-looking site, it will not affect your rankings. It will, however, probably aid in getting better click-throughs for existing rankings, as search engines use them for the description text on search results.

4. The more links, the better rankings. This all depends on the kinds and quality of links you have on your website. It is the number of inbound links to your website that is key in promoting rankings. Your goal should be to create such a user-friendly and interesting website that other people naturally create links to your pages. This will indicate to search engines that you are relevant, and will help increase your rankings. Striking a deal with another company for reciprocal links is easy for search engines to catch on to, and you will probably get dinged for it. Also, paying for links will get you more links, but you should do this with caution, since you will have a high probability of getting poor quality links or worse: being connected to a "bad neighborhood" of sites such as those that install viruses, do cloaking, sell pills, porn, and the like.

There are many more SEO myths than the ones listed above, but these are some of the ones we hear about most frequently. If you have any questions about SEO, contact your SEO company, since most agencies enjoy educating their clients on the type of work they are doing on their site. SEO doesn't have to be a complicated, scary topic, and knowing the basics will always be beneficial for your marketing strategies.

Contributed by Amanda Finch, VP Operations

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