SEO myths are everywhere, and many of them never seem to die down. You probably know a few of them, such as the supposed importance of meta keyword tags for search engine rankings. Yes, that is a myth, and a very popular one at that. And there are many more…in fact, new SEO myths are born all the time. And there’s nothing we can do to stop them, only to be wary of new SEO tricks and aware of common SEO myths. So I have put together a list of the top 10 SEO myths I hear the most, that desperately need to be debunked. And alas, here they are:
1. Having meta tags will boost your rankings.
Meta keywords do nothing for your rankings, and haven’t for years. Search engines stopped giving any real weight to meta keyword tags after being constantly abused by spammers. Meta descriptions, meta authors, meta robots, etc also have little weight in your search engine rankings.
2. Stuffing your pages with keywords will improve your rankings for those keywords.
No! This won’t only be bad for your users but VERY bad for your SEO. If Google catches you keyword stuffing then you may very well be penalized.
3. Trading links helps build your rankings.
Reciprocal links with mass amounts of irrelevant sites are almost completely discounted, and have no value in building PR or search engine rankings.
4. Since personalized Google results, there is no point in trying to achieve top rankings because everyone sees different results.
Google does personalize results according to a user’s search history, but the difference between personalized and non-personalized results is usually very minor. See for yourself by adding &pws=0 to the end of the Google SERP URL a second time while doing a search.
5. Your PageRank score reported by Google’s Toolbar Server determines your Google rankings.
This is not true. Low-PR URLs often outrank high-PR URLs. Google’s algorithms for ranking are not highly related to PR reports on the Toolbar Server.
6. Don’t use Google Analytics because Google will use your information against you.
Google does not use your analytics information against you in any way, and your traffic and conversions are not being scoured to determine if you are a spammer.
7. GoogleBots don’t read CSS.
Hiding black-hat SEO practices in your CSS can most definitely be found by GoogleBots and used to penalize you.
8. Putting keywords into the anchor text of your internal homepage links will boost your rankings.
The anchor text of your homepage, whether it’s “Home” or “Los Angeles Hair Salon”, is often ignored and either way will not have an effect on your rankings. A test done by SEOMoz further shows this.
9. You should end your URLs in “.html”.
This doesn’t make any difference in your search engine rankings. Who said it ever did?
10. SEO is a one-time task you do for your site.
No! SEO is an ongoing activity that you must always be doing for your site. You should always be optimizing, testing, improving–it’s a never ending cycle.
The last one I mentioned is among the very most important of SEO myths that needs to be debunked. SEO is not a one-time, stand-alone activity. There is so much more to it than learning a few tricks and applying them to your site. SEO is not only a science but an art, and is an ongoing project that will constantly need changing and improving. And when you learn about a new SEO tip at a conference, research and test this finding before spending a large amount of time applying it to your site. Many aspects of SEO are both objective and subjective, and there are MANY myths, constantly spread around the blogosphere, at conferences, seminars, etc. So be wary, be wise, and most of all, be willing to put forth a lot of time and effort when it comes to SEO!