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January 25, 2008

Mythology In SEO Explained Away

Mythology is in essences a story that sounds like it could be true, but is not! Even today we have myths in different aspects of business including SEO. Ever wonder what the biggest SEO myths are? I have taken the most prevalent myths that seem to be constantly resurfacing and examined them for you. This is a must read for anyone looking to hire an Search engine optimisation firm or someone looking to do SEO for themselves.

Myth # 1: All Meta Tags Are Of Equal Importance

Some Meta tags are useful while others are not. I have stated this many times. Search engines are relying more and more about what is on the website than what the tags are telling them. The description tag is used by some (but not all) search engines. The same goes for the keyword tag. Keyword tags are used more by spammers and people using software to find you as a link partner than the search engines. In my opinion, the only tags you should concentrate your efforts on are the robot tag and the description tags.

Myth # 2: You Should Submit Your Site to Search Engines Weekly or Monthly

Honestly, I never submit any site more than 1 time and sometimes I don’t even do that. If you submit your site once, you’re good. The engines will come back on their own. You can sometimes speed up the process of getting your site indexed by linking it to a high traffic or high PR site. The search engines will find the URL to your site and index it automatically.

Myth # 3: SEO is Too Expensive

Actually, SEO is probably the most cost effective form of online marketing. Organic SEO is cheaper to set up and maintain than a PPC campaign or banner advertising. With PPC and banner advertising, you pay for clicks or impressions. With SEO, all clicks are Free. You simply pay for the set up and monitoring of your site’s pages.

Myth # 4: PPC Is More Effective Than Natural SEO

In the short term…true. In the long term…false. Why, you ask? Organic SEO is preferred by searchers over 5 to 1 to PPC. People trust organic searches to return relevant results. People also know that the ads to the right of the page are sponsored ads. They have long ago figured out that anyone can bid on any term they want, as many often do, without even a hint of relevance. So, long term SEO structuring can indeed be more effective than PPC, especially when considering the preferences of search traffïc. A top search rankings may take some time to get, but once you are there (and provided you can maintain it), you will get better results than from a PPC ad.

Myth # 5: Hiring an SEO Specialist “In House” is Cheaper

The problem with hiring someone in house is that they are paid hourly or by salary. Most SEO firms charge per item or project. It doesn’t matter how long it takes us, you pay a one tíme charge. When you hire a firm, it’s like having a team of SEO experts on your payroll. Paying a flat rate saves you monëy and speeds up the time it takes to complete a job. Additionally, most SEO firms have specialists who write, submit, redesign sites, post pages, etc… Hiring one person who can do all these things competently is highly unlikely.

Myth # 6: I Can Only Optimize My Homepage for Key Terms

You can and should optimize every page on your site. Each page should have its own key terms, with no more than three phrases per page (preferably one).

Myth # 7: All I Need to do is Write Content with the correct Keyword Density and My Site Will Rank Well

Wrong…especially if you want to rank on Google. You will need off-site SEO as well as on-site SEO. Keyword density may work on MSN (for now), but it will take more than that to rank well for all search engines.

Myth # 8: I Shouldn’t Aim for the Most Competitive Keywords and Phrases

If the keywords you are competing for are very competitive, should you optimize your site for them? Of Course! I would optimize for some high, medium and low competitive key terms. Cover all your bases. The worst case is that you won’t rank well for the high competitive key terms and that’s ok. You can always work to improve them. Don’t shy away from top key terms just because they are competitive. You may nevër know how close you could rank for them unless you try.

Myth # 9: Only Work With Companies That Give You A Guarantee

Guarantees would be nice if they were worth the paper they are printed on. In fact, most guarantees from SEO firms have the same stipulation in them. This stipulation usually states that as long as they get one of your key phrases to the top of any major search engines, they have fulfilled their end of the agreement. This is irrelevant to the competition of the term. In other words…it’s easy to be number one for terms no one is competing for. Don’t be deceived by high rankings listed on SEO sites as they can be misleading.

Myth # 10: SEO Requires a 1 Year Commitment on My Part

It certainly shouldn’t. Don’t lock yourself into a year contract with any company unless you already have an established, favourable business relationship. SEO, in most cases, should be performed on a month to month basis with a mutual understanding of the objectives and relative timetable. Often, both the long and short term maintenance contracts that many firms insist on including with each job are unnecessary. As an example…If you have a new site optimized, especially right after an update, you may not see results for three months. Why pay for maintenance in the interim time?

Additionally, you may not be happy with the results of an SEO firm or even the level of service. A long term contract may only ensure that you receive a full year of bad service. So, don’t lock yourself in with a year contract, at least until you are comfortable with whom you are dealing with.

Hopefully, I put a few common SEO myths to rest.

Author:  Andy MacDonald owns and runs his own website design company called Swift Media UK which also incorporates logo design & reliable web hosting. Also checkout our SEO Blog which is updated regularly with posts to help you achieve a top search engine ranking.

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