We’ve heard many SEO myths in our time. The field of search engine optimization is one where misinformation abounds. It seems as if every one and their mothers are dishing out SEO advice.
Some yarns we’ve heard are just harmless wishful thinking (‘Just put in meta keywords SEO already la‘) while others can really can destroy your website (‘Yes, you should trade links with as many people as you can‘).
Let’s clear some of the smoke today.
We are a big, established company. We don’t need SEO to rank well.
We can buy our way into good organic rankings.
SEO is a ‘Paint by Numbers’ solution. Let’s just choose the cheapest package.
SEO is a one-time activity.
SEO is easy. I’ll get my web design company to do it.
Keyword density is the secret sauce to SEO.
My supplier has a lot of good content already. I just have to copy and paste them on my website.
My industry doesn’t lend itself to the creation of good content.
We don’t need good content.
Our SEO firm is endorsed/approved by Google.
We’ll submit your site to 100 search engines.
We just need to build links to your website.
- Keying in www.yourdomain.com in the URL bar
- Now key in yourdomain.com (without the www)
We’ll just submit your site to 1,000 directories.
Your reported PageRank is the most important determinant of your rankings.
Trading links helps boost PageRank and rankings.
You shouldn’t link out so as not to lose any link juice.
We can do SEO without any input from you.
It’s great that you already have an established business that’s doing well. But good rankings depend on how established you are online.
If you have just created your website, or haven’t done any significant digital marketing so far, then it doesn’t matter if you’ve just opened your third factory – you’re probably not going to rank well. Google doesn’t know what you’re doing offline.
No matter what anyone tells you, good organic rankings cannot be bought.
Think about it. If it could be bought, we would be getting increasingly bad search results paid by those with the deepest pockets. This goes against the exact reason Google and other search engines exist – to help users find relevant and useful information.
An SEO campaign is anything but a standard solution.
It’s not like making spaghetti; you can’t just throw links at a page and see what sticks.
This is especially true in the post-Penguin era where cavalier link building is not only ineffective, but can get your website penalized. The relevancy of those links, and the authority of the website linking to you are important factors.
Each business has its own strengths, strategy and business goals. And your digital strategy should help you achieve those goals.
CLOUDROCK doesn’t offer SEO packages blindly for this reason.
In 2012 alone, Google made more than 600 changes to their search algorithm. That’s more than one change a day.
And every once so often, they’ll send a rampaging zoo animal barreling down your way that could harm your search rankings. Now more than ever, it is more important for you to keep track of what’s going on in SEO.
Besides, your competitors aren’t going to sit still while you’re killing them in the SERPs.
Some designers like to build in an SEO ‘module’ or ‘upgrade’ into their web design packages. This usually involves nothing more than changing the page title and stuffing the meta keywords tag (which by the way, Bing uses as a spam signal).
Asking your web designer to do SEO just because he’s already working on your website is like asking the plumber to install the electrical wiring just because he’s already working on your house.
There have been many instances where we’ve had to come in and undo some of the ‘SEO’ work that a web designer has done. An SEO campaign takes specialized knowledge and a lot of work to get done right, and it’s unfair to expect the same level of expertise from your designer as your SEO consultant.
It’s surprising to hear so many SEOs in Asia still agonizing about the proper keyword density. While it is important to drop a few keywords on your page to let Google know what it’s about, doing so excessively leads to keyword stuffing, a black hat tactic. Keywords should be used naturally and only when it makes sense.
Google uses over 200 factors – both on and off-page – to determine how it displays search results. Claiming that pure repetition is the key to SEO is a gross oversimplification.
Matt Ridout from SEO Unique Blog has this to say about keyword density – “ (worrying about keyword density is) like saying to an artist you have too much red on your canvas, use a calculator to work out how much more to add or subtract from the painting.”
Every other dealer probably had the same thought. Simply copying and pasting your manufacturer’s or principal’s product descriptions leads to duplicate content issues.
This is a very common problem, especially for E-commerce websites. You still have to ensure that your content is unique and does not get flagged as duplicated content.
CLOUDROCK deals with many B2B companies and most of them are in the manufacturing or industrial sectors. This is a common objection we hear. But I assure you, it’s not all that hard to find content for your website.
You could create a white paper that helps provide actionable solutions to your customers’ common problems. Or you could create a video of your product being used. Or how about a maintenance guide?
Hey, if a video about a blender can get 15,000,000 views, we’re sure you can get at least a few links back.
Then why do you deserve to rank on the first page of Google or Yahoo? When people search, they are looking for answers to their questions – good answers. How can a website fill that need without any good content?
SEO Myths Propagated by SEO Firms
Or another variation of it, ‘We have a friend/lover/relative in Google’.
Google does not, has not, and will never endorse any SEO firm. Any firm that claims to be endorsed by Google is unethical in both CLOUDROCK’s and Google’s book.
I actually still hear about this. In fact, I’ve even seen this as a line item on some invoices.
Firstly, the crawlers that search engines use now are sophisticated enough to be able to find and index new websites. So while manual submission is useful, it isn’t necessary most of the time.
Secondly, how many search engines do you want to submit to anyway? If your customers are like most people, they typically use one or maybe two search engines at most. There’s no point submitting to more than the major players, or whichever ones you’re targeting (such as Baidu for China or Yandex for Russia).
Link building is an essential part of SEO. But as we’ve mentioned before, Google uses over 200 factors to determine your ranking. It surprises me how many SEO companies in Asia go straight into link building without taking even a quick look at the most basic on-page factors.
Have you had SEO done on your website lately? Quick, check your website by
Is your website showing on both URLs? Did you know that Google treats the www version of your website differently from your non-www version? And that if you don’t redirect it to one or the other, you’re diluting your link juice? Well, now you do. Go teach your SEO firm.
Directory submissions used to be a big part of a SEO’s arsenal. This is because of the relative ease of getting listed. In fact, it’s a favoured tactic by many SEO firms in Asia (who have created their own directories for SEO).
But such directory submissions have become less effective in the post-Penguin world. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t submit to any directories, but you have to ensure that those directories are of good quality. You also have to ensure that you’re getting links from a variety of sources and not only from directories.
Even though some SEOs still kneel before the altar of PageRank, it isn’t as important as it once once. Google has improved on the original algorithm and have added many other factors into the mix. Now, they’re even looking at co-citations and co-occurrences as factors.
When any client starts harping on PageRank, I (or any other CLOUDROCK rep) will point them to this SEOmoz’s study. It suggests that the correlation between PageRank and rankings is 0.18. How much effort are you going to place on something that accounts for 0.18% of your success?
No. Just no. And run away now.
After the whole nofollow fiasco of 2009, some SEOs suggest that you don’t link out at all so that you don’t leak any PageRank.
Link hoarding seems unnatural to Google and Matt Cutts states they encourage webmasters to link to other relevant and trustworthy sites.
A lot of businesses are under the impression that SEO can be done in a vacuum, probably by some guy sitting in his underwear in the basement. Just pay the SEO company, and wait for your site to show up on the first page of Google.
That’s not what a good SEO company should do.
SEO is interlinked to many other marketing activities, and the responsibilities placed on the ever-broadening shoulders of a SEO specialist are even greater now.
SEO specialists are now required to be content creators, link builders, social media specialists etc.
Your SEO company should be as plugged into your company as your in-house marketing team so that they can leverage on all the other good work you’re doing.
What other so-called ‘facts’ about SEO have you heard before that you think is a myth? Let us know.