Friday, April 11, 2008
Here is an example: Let's assume you make a change to your website content. Maybe after a few days you notice that your Google ranking for a certain keyword has altered. Now, it would be natural for you to assume that your content change had led to change in ranking. However, it may not be true. Your ranking could have changed due to several reasons, and may have absolutely nothing to do with the changes made to the content.
Of course, this action of mixing up the cause and effect is a common error on the part of new SEOs. Well, if it were limited to just their work, I wouldn't really mind it. But these guys are clueless and many a times spread their ignorance to other newbies on blogs and forums and create a ripple effect of newer myths. Here, I am making an attempt to discuss and clear the top 10 organic SEO myths:
Myth 1: You must submit your website URL to search engines. Once upon a time, this could have been the "in" thing. But since the past 5-6 years it has become unnecessary.
Myth 2: In order to get better ranking, you absolutely need a Google Sitemap. It's partially correct. However, if you have built your site properly (ensured its crawler-friendly) you don't require a Google Sitemap. That being said, having one won't hurt you and you can even use other Webmaster Central tools offered by Google, but this doesn't guarantee higher ranking.
Myth 3: For higher rankings, update your website regularly. Regular updating of your content pages may certainly increase the crawl rate for search engines, but not your website rankings. Only update your website content if it is necessary and not because search engines will like it any better. As a matter of fact, the highest ranked websites on Google are those that haven't been updated in years!
Myth 4: PPC (pay per click) ads can help or hurt rankings. What amuses me most is that many people believe that participating in Google AdWords campaigns will hurt their organic SEO ranking, while many others believe that PPC will spike the traffic and up the ranking. All I can say is that neither of this is true!
Myth 5: Not following guidelines on Google will ban your website. Google's guidelines are common sense but not mandatory. It's advisable to read them, however just don't do anything purely for search engines and you'll be fine.
Myth 6: Buying links can lead to banning of your website. It is partially true again. Google doesn't like to count paid links as votes for a website page. Mostly Google is unable to find out if the links are paid for, but even if it does, it won't count the links. Google won't ban your website in any case. A quick update - Google has made it easier to report paid links in sites that are unrelated to your site. Though the reasoning is yet unclear and best practice should tell you don't buy links in unrelated sites to your theme.
Myth 7: Header tags or H1 should be used to ensure high ranking. There is no evidence to prove this. However, this is one of the most common myths. You can reach top Google positioning without H1 but they certainly don't hurt so use H1 tags correctly.
Myth 9: The SEO copy should be 250 words in length. 250 words is not really an optimal number nor is it specific for SEO rankings. Easily, 250 words allows one to write good marketing copy and can be optimized for 3-5 main key phrases. However, shorter SEO copy works just as well.
Myth 10: Your pages should be optimized for the long tail keywords. This is not true. Nowadays, long-tail keyword phrases are no longer effective as not many pages use them and not many people search using long tails. You can include these keywords in blogs or even an article, but that is not really optimization.
Remember don't go spreading any SEO myths that you believe may be true. Test it yourself several times on different websites before reaching any conclusion as there are other factors involved as well.