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Top 40 SEO Myths You Should Know About – Part 1

globe-and-seoMyth #1: Only the First Rank Matters

Many ebooks and other resources that business owners use will place an important emphasis on the need to be at the top of search results, whether that be on Google Search, other engines, or even in places like social media. But surveys have shown that people quite often will look at other results and they will scroll down through the page. Being on top of a second page, for example, can be quite beneficial for traffic. Also, search ranking is only one part of the puzzle. Now Google places other results on the page like social recommendations and local results as well, which means there are many more avenues open to you, and being in first place is no longer as crucial as it once was.

Myth #2: You can do SEO Without Outside Help

Doing SEO simply means that you follow a set of techniques and procedures to improve the chance that web users will go to your site. It is true that anybody can learn these techniques, and, if you are a web site owner and you want to do your own SEO, then you can spend the time to learn and apply those techniques. But SEO can be complex and touches many areas such as marketing online, coding, technical aspects and PR skills. Most business owners simply do not have everything required to do a great job at SEO, and that is why so many agencies exist that offer help. An IT worker or online marketer is often not enough if you want truly good results.

Myth #3: META Tags are Very Important

It used to be that every page on your site needed Meta tags in order to rank well. Those are small pieces of code that would give Google a list of keywords and a description. The search engine would use those to find out what your web site was about. Now however, those do not affect your ranking at all. Both Google and Bing stopped caring about META tags awhile back. However, Meta tags are not useless. For example, the description tag is the text that often appears next to the link that shows up in the search results, so it still serves a useful function.

Myth #4: Keyword-Rich Domain Names are Ranked Higher

Back in the dotcom days, it used to be that the URL you used was very important. Google placed a lot of importance on the domain name, and if you could get a name that had your keyword in it, you would gain a big advantage over other sites. This is why a lot of companies in the late 90’s bought domain names for a lot of money. But now, the indexing process only looks at the actual content of your pages, and not the domain name. The domain name is still important, because people still get to see it, but it will not give you a higher rank.

Myth #5: You have to Submit Your Site to Google or Other Search Engines

All search engines used to have URL submission forms where you could send your site to Google and others. In fact, they still do, but that process is unnecessary. The crawlers that these engines use now are sophisticated enough that any new site will be found in a matter of days, if not hours. The only time you would have to worry about submitting your site is if for some reason it was not indexed automatically after a couple of days.

Myth #6: Submitting a Sitemap will Boost Your Rankings

Google offers a webmaster interface and from there, you can submit a sitemap, which is a XML file containing links to every page on your site. Some site owners take the time to submit such a file every time they make a change, but that is not necessary. Submitting a sitemap does not change your rankings. All it does is add pages which may not have been indexed already. If your site is typical and has links to all your pages, then it is not needed.

Myth #7: SEO has Nothing to do with Social Media

Before the advent of Facebook and Twitter, SEO was the one and only technique to get traffic in an organic way. But now, social media is everywhere, and the line is quickly blurring between the two. While some marketers still consider SEO and social media to be different beasts, the truth is that they are very closely linked. For example, Google now places their own social network, Google Plus, into its search results. If you can get enough influential people to talk about your product and link to your site, then their recommendations will show up in any Google search result that their friends do. This clearly affects SEO. On the flip side, Facebook has also entered search, by recently introducing their Open Graph engine, which searches based on friends and interests. So the two spheres are closely linked, and they are becoming closer all the time.

Myth #8: Google does not read CSS Files

The Google bot used to be fairly primitive and only saw text, which is why many people concentrated on the text part of their web site. But now that engine is very sophisticated and reads JavaScript, CSS, and more. The crawler can definitely see whether your site’s presentation is appealing to users or not. For example, if someone searches on a mobile device and you have no mobile layout on your site, you may be missing out.

Myth #9: You Need to Update Your Home Page All the Time

Some people think that by updating their home page content all the time they will rank higher, or by not updating it their ranking will drop. In most cases that is not the case, because if you have a sales page that offers a product, then there would be no reason to update that page unless something about the product changes, and Google expects that.

Myth #10: The H1 Header has Greater Value than the Rest of Your Text

The structure of your page is seen by Google and other engines, but you have to realize that many sites are structured very differently. As such, no one specific tag has more value than another. An H1 tag is simply a header that corresponds to a CSS entry in order for the user to see your page a certain way. It does not make Google rank your page any differently if you use H2 tags instead, or if your keywords are mostly in the text and not in a specific CSS tag.

Myth #11: Linking to Other Highly Ranked Sites Helps Your Ranking

Some sites try to link to many other high authority sites in order to help their rankings, but that does not help at all. Google uses PageRank to decide how your site will rank, and that algorithm is based on how useful your site is to others, and as such it will only look at how many other people link to you. Whether you link back to them is of no importance. Otherwise, any site could rise to the top simply by linking to millions of sites, which is simply not the case.

Myth #12: Using Automated SEO Methods is Always Spam

Many people use automated SEO methods that do not fall into the spam area. Many companies have very big sites and they use automated scripts to do a lot of the grunt work of SEO. Whether or not a method is spammy is based on what the result is, not on how automated it is.

Myth #13: PageRank is the Only Factor that Matters

The algorithm that Google uses to rank sites is PageRank, which determines how useful a site is to others. But according to Google, search result rankings are also affected by hundreds of other inputs. Some of these inputs are easy to see, like having your site being recommended by others on Google Plus. This proves that not only PageRank matters. The company is staying tight-lipped on how many inputs there are and how important each is, but it is clear that there is more going on than just PageRank. With that said however, it is still widely believed that PageRank is the most important factor, and a PR10 page is always better than a PR3 page.

Myth #14: The Title Tag is Hidden from Search Engines

Most of what Google sees on your site is the text that is visible to users, such as what appears on the screen and is rendered in a web browser. As such, it would be easy to think that the title is not picked up. However, your title is very important for SEO, because it is the text that appears on the link people will click on. Not only is Google using it to help your ranking, but people will also see it when they go to click on your site.


Article by Mikhail Tuknov. Infatex.com – Internet marketing company specializing in Search Engine Optimization and responsive web design solutions.

About the author

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Mikhail Tuknov

Mikhail Tuknov is a president and founder of Internet marketing company Infatex.com, focused on helping businesses increase online sales, strengthening their overall brand and dramatically boosting website traffic through proven online marketing concepts, such as viral marketing, SEO, PPC and social media.

59 Comments

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  • What about the myth that a unique IP address does or doesn’t make any difference? I find having a unique IP address preferable for a number of different reasons including SEO.

    • Yeah, I heard that at least at one time, Google would penalize you for having a url that was also keywords for your site. Myth or not myth? Can’t be true today…is it?

  • Thanks for sharing these great tips what i feel is that creating quality content and sharing it all along really makes it a good platform for you to get good rankings.

  • True Mikhail Tuknov, these are most common Myths from long time and still people believe in it. Specially PR stories, Google treat equally all websites if we have good and researched content.

  • Great ideas,and advice about myths that we believed to be true…So how do we know if something is a myth or truth when it comes to SEO, everyone has a different opinion. All I know is what seems to work for me! Hopefully it keeps working!

  • I am not really certain if Myth #11 is true or not. Whether it is true or not, I always do as long as it is helpful for my readers to find more information closely related to my contents.

    This is a great list of myths, btw. Hopefully, this will serve as a wake up call for spammers out there who do keyword stuffing in almost every part of an article.

  • Hi,
    Can you suggest me some resolutions for my blog.
    Actually,my blog lost about 30,000 alexa rank in past 2-3 months. Earlier it was 50,000 but now it has dropped down to 82,000 in last 2-3 months.
    Can you please visit my blog and tell me what are the drawbacks and what seo techniques I need to adapt to increase mt alexa.
    Please visit http://www.enterwebhub.com/ and suggest me your findings. It will be really of great help.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Alexa is highly biased, as they count only visitors having Alexa toolbar on. Down here (in France) Alexa results are just nonsense (they report only 0,1% of the visits StatCounter does)

  • Thank you very much for thos articles. Is intresting to see how peoples got different mind about google and ranking. Intresting your point of view. Expecially about the headerline, i m fully agree. I even got enough examples where website without any kind of headline still ranking place 1 on google. The thing with the IP adress… any one else can give theyr experience? Is now important or not to have different IP’s?

  • Not only is a keyword rich domain (url) necessary it could be penalized by Google – for instance exact match domains used to be what everyone was striving for to get good search engine rankings but now they may harm you.
    An exact match domain is where you target keyword is the same as your domain name.

  • If reach keyword domain does not affect seo than why Google need to keyword match domain update?
    but rest of all tips are really very nice and informative.

  • The thing about a H1 header or any other header for that matter, is that they can be worded better for keyword phrases. Trying to get exact match in standard content text is more difficult and if done badly will alienate a human audience. Using the header you can get away with more in terms of grammar and flow. This can be useful if used appropriately.

  • First thanks Mikhail Tuknov for sharing such known but we don’t have close eyes as you described in the post. I am also a search engine optimizer and currently working on a project http://www.wallstech.com for the project, I am doing too many on-going off-page seo activities like: directory, bookmarking, article, Press release sites having different IP address.

    So, here I want to ask you, the submission on different IP address will help in getting high SERP visiblity or not?

    Right now, nothing is happening?

  • What I like about this article is that there are a number of things I have done repeatedly that seemed to have little effect – now I can stop bashing my head against a brick wall and concentrate on more effective measures.

  • I’m not sure about the meta data part. I’m sure Google is more relaxed about meta data but still wouldn’t like to leave off title tags and keywords. It only takes a few minutes and is better to be safe.

    Sitemaps can be automatically created and submitted with minimal effort also. Seems pointless to risk not having this process in place. It’s better to be safe!

  • Useful read, thanks. It’s always good to have a recap on these sorts of things. Great little resource you can forward on to clients as well, as we all know that some clients show a lot of interest in this sort of thing and ask lots of questions!
    Steve

  • This is an awesome read, learn a lot from this. Will forward this to my people, I hope part 2 will be posted soon. Thanks for sharing this Mikhail!

  • Hello,

    For everyone who’s leaving comments and asking questions about SEO — visit my blog. I am an SEO. I really don’t think this site is focused toward SEO. If you need free help, let me know. I don’t mind helping the fellow marketer!

  • Another interesting article. Thanks you. I have just completed a separate mobile site for my business: http://www.mobile.kinghams-driving-school.co.uk. What is the best SEO method for this mobile site? Should I concentrate on SEO for my main site only and just link to my mobile website so allow PR to trickle through, or should I carry out separate SEO for the mobile site? All suggestions appreciated. Any feedback on the mobile site display will be great too! So many screen sizes to cater for!

    Thanks Alot.

    Steve Kingham ADI

  • These articles are all well and good but most of this is common knowledge! How about 40 SEO tips that actually work instead of listing things we all know don’t work!

  • Myth #3: META Tags are Very Important. but last few years google doesn’t read meta description, its just for only user information . not for ranking ?

  • I see some points are to show the importance (if not the promotion) of SEO agencies. Yes, it is important, but let’s see the truth, some SEO agencies practice spamming on blog comments, social bookmarks, etc, they are STILL believing the “MYTHS”.

  • This is really an eye opener. There are things sometimes that we do too much in SEO only to know that it has a very little effect.

    SEO is really a daunting task. That’s why companies really need to hire SEO people to get their site to rankings.

  • Very useful article. There are a lot of myths on the so-called SEO forums. I could get pain in my head reading all that seo gurus.
    You mentioned h1 tag. When checked particular page in Bing webmaster tools, service “told” me that h1 tag is missing. It seems that, at least, Bing is still looking for h1 and h2 tags when crawling page.

  • Guys, i really glad you liked this article! To be continue 🙂

    Guys, here is an advice: Don’t go for easy links, something that is cheap. Don’t do directory submissions, social bookmarking, massive article distribution. Research an interesting topic. Create a content based on that research. Find blogs that are themed related to the article you’ve written. Contract the blogger, and ask them to be their guest post blogger. You share your knowledge, but you also getting a high quality link, plus increasing your own branding.

  • Definitely some great tips. I still optimize the meta information on every page. It only take a few extra seconds and you only really have to do it once per page. Google likes to change things all the time on the algorithm so keeping everything inline on your website is probably still a good rule of thumb.

  • As Dave mentioned on the 1st commnent. I think that IP address (DNC CName) has keyrolled that affect how health is your website. Spammy site in your neighborbood could harm your website.

    • Sorry, my previous comment removed by the system.
      As Dave mentioned on the 1st comment. I think your IP address highly affected by your neighborhood on the same DNS CName.
      It happened to my website, though.

  • You mentioned “The H1 Header has Greater Value than the Rest of Your Text” is also a myth, but is it a good practice to have at least one H1 header in your post – maybe the keyword that you are targeting? Another question… how about having your keyword in both H1 and H2? Is it the same with having your keyword in two H2?

  • I was surprised at how many of those I was still following. Although now I am really lost.

  • #11 is not correct. It does certainly make a difference if you link with the same number of links from sites with high rankings instead from sites with low rankings. Separately from that the number itself is also a variable of Google’s PageRank algorithm.

    Arnaud Kleinveld

  • Thank you for Sharing such a good article with beneficial tips for SEO. Our SEO Team@Summation IT has liked the article.

  • I’m a staunch believer of using the meta data to it’s fullest, including the keyword meta tag. I also believe not using them is why the search results are a mess.

    Many say the search engines don’t read the keyword meta tag anymore. I wouldn’t SEO a site without them.

  • This is a very good article. Just one negative though, Google is not the only search engine and some of the things you say don’t matter are considered important by those search engines.

    It is also important to note that most of the SEO techniques that the other search engines use are not negatives to Google.

    That said the concepts in this article are very important for anyone in SEO.

  • hi Mikhail Tuknov, thx for sharing such a good information. Every points is useful and every one have to follow above point to achieve good success in SEO. Great post

  • Am new at all the SEO stuff and I find it quite complicated. Article such as yours really help me to understand the process better. I need more of this type of information. Thanks

  • I just found out, it turns out some of these points is a myth and I have to implement these SEO myths. Thanks your article is very useful for me.

  • Great post. We found we had still been using several of these techniques. I feel still following some of these don’t hurt other than the time they take up. We’re still going to implement the meta-tags though.

  • Myth #1: Only the First Rank Matters: If your not first page you are losing out. That is a fact. Based on Google Analytics for over 100 clients we have in the service industry sector 95% of your traffic will come from Google. The higher they are ranked the more traffic these clients have received.

    Myth #3: META Tags are Very Important: They are still very important. While I seldomly use the keyword tag anymore it is a must to have titles and descriptions. Not only for the search engine placement but also to help with your click through rates.

    Myth #4: Keyword-Rich Domain Names are Ranked Higher: If you are not using the keyword rich domains as a spam page and create it as you would any normal website it can be very beneficial! I personally have several EMD ranking on the top spot of Google, Yahoo & Bing. These EMD’s are written to benefit the user and not filled with ads and spam. That is truly what the SE’s are targeting with the EMD algorithm.

    Myth #10: The H1 Header has Greater Value than the Rest of Your Text: Once again we have sites that say otherwise. Once again you have to make sure the tags are used correctly and correlates with the content that follows. Another words don’t use an h1-h6 tag saying Red Widgets and all the content following is about Viagra. The heading tags should be used like the newspaper uses their headline tags; sparingly and related. It is a myth to say not having h1 tags wouldn’t hurt your site. If you have one site about marketing who uses the tags correctly and one without the tags (considering all other on-page factors are very similar) 999 out of 1000 the one with the H tags would be listed about.

    Myth #11: Linking to Other Highly Ranked Sites Helps Your Ranking: This is still true to this day. You just need to make sure the authority page linking to you is related to the content on your site to generate the best benefit. Also, make sure to diversify your link profile. Mix no follow, do follow, keyword rich hyperlink, business name hyperlink, visit website etc.

    Myth #12: Using Automated SEO Methods is Always Spam: 99% of it is spam though. I would be very carful using any software that says it will generate 1st page positioning. A lot of these softwares only benefit the company who sold it to you, usually at the expense of your dollar and potential your website.

    Just my thoughts as a person who has been doing SEO for over 15 years (before it was the cool thing and the thing every unemployed person bought a book and barnes and noble and thought they could do).

    If you hire an SEO company make sure they have several references, preferably in the same market and business you are trying to market, and the client has been a client for a couple years or more.

    Ensure your SEO company has marketing experience. No one can do SEO if they do not know how to market a company.

    While I agree most companies should hire an SEO person to take that off the plate of the business owner. I believe the company should have complete transparency (reports: analytics, backlinks, keywords etc. Call Tracking: Make sure you know where your business is coming from; online and off. Reputation Management etc.)

  • Hi Mikhail,

    Well, although every first page position is great I still think it matters whether your #1 or #6, since the first results get’s almost half the clicks for a specific search queries while the other results get much much less.

    And yeah social media is so important these days, because of it’s human nature, and Google is always looking the please the people who are searching on their website.

    I noticed that a lot of people still ignore G+ and think it’s a waste of time, but I think it can affect search engine rankings a lot depending on the quality of the profile and the shared content.

    Awesome post Mikhail, really enjoyed reading it.

    Have a great week.Cheers.

    ~Philip

  • I am working as an SEO ANALYST in a company and I want to know weather link submission is useful to increase PR ,If I will submit each page URL of my website in that website will it be a correct procedure or not.

    Please provide some tips of correct procedure of link submission.

  • Great write up… I believe a lot of confusions has been sorted out here…even had to put it on my blog…but ofcourse linking back to this great site. thanks for the enlightenment….will do more to check it out….

  • Thank for the informative article, it can help me a lot.However I think the most big problem is about keyword density, I can’t decide percentage of it. Please share your words on that. Thanks in advance.

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