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Ten Search Engine Optimisation Myths Debunked

Apr 14, 2008
The world of search engine optimisation can be sometimes be seen as an industry that is part science, part art form. Not all realise the consequences of their actions and a certain amount of guesswork can be involved in the process. That said there are those in the optimisation industry that know exactly what they are doing; but for the lay reader, here are ten of the most common myths concerned with search engine optimisation.

The first myth is that when you are involved in the process of optimisation it is a necessity to submit your website URL directly to search engines. Whilst this had been true in the past, when the search engine technology was not very advanced; in the last five or so years it has rapidly become an outdated technique. Fundamentally, carrying out this task will be a waste of time and energy, not to mention money.

The second optimisation myth is that your site must have a Google sitemap. Whilst this may be partially advisable it is not an essential component of your site. A well constructed site that is spider friendly and welcomes the search engines with open arms should negate the need for a sitemap. It is not always a waste of time putting a site map in place however, it will not hurt to put one in place, but it will not however guarantee success.

Constant updating of websites has rapidly become fashionable in the search engine optimisation industry. While updating content regularly may increase the rate at which spiders crawl through your site, it does not always ensure higher rankings. Once again however this does not hurt your site, so if you feel you would like fresh content on a regular basis it is advisable to update frequently.

An ongoing myth in the optimisation industry is that a dedicated pay per click campaign will in fact harm your organic search listings. This is a common misconception amongst those who do not understand the optimisation process. Others even believe that the increased traffic from PPC will in fact benefit your rankings, unfortunately this is also untrue.

There is large amount of fear in the industry that your optimisation efforts should follow search engine guidelines to the letter. Whilst it will not harm your knowledge base to read the guidelines to get an idea of what is and is not allowed, there is no cast iron rule that says these regulations must be gospel. A general rule is that if you optimise a website in a way that benefits both the human user and the search engine spiders, success will be forthcoming. Try not to focus your efforts purely into attracting the spiders and penalties should not occur.

Link buying has long been viewed as a 'black hat' optimisation technique that should be avoided unless you want your website to be de-listed. There is little truth in this belief and while the engines do not approve of link buying it is in fact difficult for them to trace a bought link. To remain safe it is advisable not to buy links at all but if you do want to undertake the process, only link to sights that are related yours, otherwise they will simply not be counted by the spiders due to irrelevance.

Headers are becoming increasingly important within the industry. The header tag or H1 can bring good rankings but it is not necessarily foolproof. It is clearly possible to achieve good rankings without an H1 tag, but common practise is to include one anyway. If they are used correctly they will almost certainly benefit your sites' rankings.

The keyword tag in the Meta information; it has been believed, should contain words used on the page. This is an increasingly obsolete perspective as optimisation specialists are realising that the importance of keywords tags is becoming less and less. While other Meta information is important, this particular tag is usually ignored anyway.

The amount of copy you need on your site does not have to be extremely lengthy; a common myth has been the importance of long paragraphs of content that provide information for both the search engines and human users. Shorter copy can work just as well however; just make sure it's legible.

The use of long tail keywords is becoming increasingly outdated, especially in the copy of your site. While using these long tail keywords is still used in other optimisation techniques it should be practically ignored for certain aspects of design and optimisation.

These myths are of course conjecture until they have been proved. It is important in the world of SEO to learn on your own merits and not rely too heavily on the findings of others. As stated before it is just as much and art from as it is a science, so trial and error can be an extremely effective method to finding the right path.
About the Author
Internet marketing expert Thomas Pretty looks at the common search engine optimisation myths and ways to achieve good rankings.
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