Do you remember the day you stopped believing in Santa Claus? Well, mark this day on your calendar, because today’s the day you’re going to stop believing that you need to submit your site to search engines.
“What? Well, then why do they provide links for website submissions?” you ask. They do that for their own convenience, to bring you to their websites and to make you feel like you’re accomplishing something, I suppose.
Today we’re going to knock down a dozen—that’s 12, if you’re counting—SEO myths. We’ve already dealt with number one, so let’s hit the remaining 11 SEO myths.
Myth #11: H1 tags are critical for good SEO.
In HTML, H1 tags define the most important heading on your page. According to myth, these are critical for SEO. In reality they may provide a little SEO value, but they are far more important to your website visitors. They help you quickly communicate your primary message to people. Studies have shown that they have little if any influence on website search engine rankings.
Myth #10: Links in a tiny font size hidden on your pages is a good SEO tactic.
Gone are the days when sly tricks like these could influence search engine rankings. According to this myth, virtually hidden links to pages deep within your site would increase their rankings within search results. Fact is, the risk of penalty from such a tactic far outweighs any possible benefit.
Myth #9: Google always uses your meta description in your site’s snippet.
No. Sometimes Google uses the copy in your meta description tag and publishes it when your site is included on a page of search results. There are a variety of reasons Google may not use your meta description tag for the search snippet – including if you jam it full of keywords,
Myth #8: Don’t bother linking to all your pages.
According to this myth web crawlers will find your pages “no matter what” so they don’t all need to be linked to. Search engines most commonly discover new pages on sites through links discovered on pages that have already been indexed. Also, need we add that providing links to all your pages is simply good website usability practice?
Myth #7: Using a service to register your site with search engines is a smart idea.
We’ve all received the emails promising search engine submissions or high search engine rankings…(and if you believe that, the son of the President of Nigeria needs your help to get money out of his country). We’ve already established that you don’t need to submit your site to search engines, and if you did—perhaps to speed up the process a bit—you can do it yourself.
Myth #6: Mess up on your keyword density and you’re a dead duck.
The algorithms search engines use to analyze keywords within a site is very complex. There’s no magic number that is optimum for any single website. Don’t string together keywords one to the other so they become utter nonsense. Write to communicate to your audience. If what you write truly communicates what you want your visitors to know and includes your keywords a few times, your keywords and phrases have probably beeen used properly.
Myth #5: Use Google PageRank to measure your SEO success.
Don’t pay much attention to the PageRank score that pops up on Google’s toolbar server. If you do a little research you’ll find that very often pages with a low PageRank scores out perform pages with higher PageRank scores in actual search listings.
Myth #4: Search engine optimize your site once, and you’re done.
Don’t let someone sell you on the idea that a one time major SEO facelift project will solve all your problems. SEO is more of a process than a project. You need to stay on top of your site and your competition. Like rust, your competition never sleeps. You need to always have an eye on your site’s SEO, adding, tweaking and editing as needed.
Myth #3: The ideal length of articles is 250 words.
The problem with any “rule of thumb” is that it’s never completely true. Is 250 better than 275? It certainly isn’t if you need 275 words to properly communicate your ideas. And, if you don’t need 250 words, you’ll be boring your visitors. Write as long, or as short, as necessary. You won’t be messing up any web crawlers.
Myth #2: Site maps = better rankings.
Google uses XML site maps to discover new pages. They have no influence on how your site ranks within search results.
Myth #1: Meta tags are necessary for good rankings.
Search engines haven’t been using keyword or description meta tags as a component of rankings since the Internet Pleistocene Age. These tags were badly abused by spammers so now they’re virtually ignored by search engines.
Chris Turberville-Tully is the founder and owner of Inspiration Inc., a SEO Birmingham agency. He leverages his Masters Degree in Information Architecture, 10 years public relations experience, and extensive search experience to build strategies to deliver real value.