You are about to discover the top ten search engine marketing (optimization) myths. Prepare yourself, as a lot of misconceptions around search engine optimization will be cleared.
1- Building a website means that people will find it.
Search engines are just like phone book directories (but with a twist). For a mere $150 anyone can get a telephone biz listing in their area, but if you want to have a stand out high visibility ad such as “Marbury & Madison: Justice For All”, you need to put extra work on your site. Unlike phone directories where you simply buy your way in, with search engines you need to spend some time and effort to correctly optimize your website. Search engine optimization does NOT include the simple editing of meta tags. That technique worked back at the time Bill Clinton was a president. Today, other techniques are involved.
2- All search engines are equal.
There are only three top search engines: Google, Google, and… Google. This is either through their website or affiliated websites (Yahoo! and AOL). Over 80% of ALL search engine results are served by Google. Sites like: Yahoo, AOL, MSN, Netscape and the rest are just portals, and not database companies that provide search engine results. Nearly all of these portals share search engine results provided through third parties, that own the database and search engine technologies, such as: Google, Overture, Open Directory, Inktomi, Teoma and FAST. All of the secondary search engines, total for the other 20% of search engine results.
3- Submitting my website to search engines should be enough.
Huh.. It ISN’T. Maybe your webdesigner submitted your site to Yahoo, Google or/and MSN, but where is it ranked? Are you in the critical top ten results page, or are you no. 195 for “Newyork Attorney”? Infact, having a website a year or several months old, will make search engines automatically include it, but we are talking about search engine optimization. Searc engine marketing or optimization (SEO) will help you rank high for the keyword/s you are targeting for your site, instead of remaining buried under the pile of higher ranked sites on top of you, and not being noticed.
4- You can optimize your site for all search engines.
Nope. There is no holy grail. However, there is “Google”. Given that it serves over 80% of the results, optimizing your site for it, will be essentially optimizing for nearly all of the results. The techniques that work well for google, will work well with other search engines too.
5- Practices like cloaking, jump pages or hiding content will increase my ranking.
Search engines view and treat such unethical tactics, like weapons of mass destruction. Search engines have their own teams of inspectors that regularly ban the websites that use these spam strategies and techniques. Use these techniques at your own risk. They might help you in the short run, but eventually you’ll get your website into trouble and possibly a bann.
6- I don’t need a SEO specialist.
If you act alone, you can probably achieve decent search engine results for a few keyword phrases. However, you have to keep in mind that your competitors are trying the same. A SEO specialist already knows the little quirks and tricks that make a big diff. and give you the edge. If you pay them a one-time fee of say: $2000 to $5000 to correctly optimize your website pages, and that optimization leads to a new client each month, is that not worth it?
7- Software can automatically optimize my website
You need to work and hand code each page of your website, to achieve the optimal and desired results. If your Honda Accord’s cruise control can drive you to Atlanta, then a software would do the work, but I don’t think it can. Do you? You will have to edit the title meta tag, description meta tag, keyword meta tag, and include the same keyword phrases several times in your context body (text body of that webpage)
8- A Good SEO Specialist will guarantee me top 3 results.
No company or firm can do this. If a search engine firm guarantees top listing, then what they are doing is actually selling you advertising. SEO is the work of optimizing your site to rank high, without the need of advertisment.
9- Link popularity is the key at all costs.
I personally encourage reciprocal links with related sites. I don’t recommend creating spam links to artificially boost your website’s rating. You should also never link your site to spam sites, or sites that have thousand of websites in their database.
10- I should submit my site to 1000+ search engines.
Maybe you’ve come across one of these emails, claiming to submit your site to all search engines. These companies simply register your website using automated software. This doesn’t achieve desired results and can actually hurt your ranking as the search engine may reject your listing viewing it as spam. Furthermore, there really is no need to submit your website to 1,000 plus search engines as almost all web-traffic comes from only a handful of search engines (80% from Google).