Ok, I’m kidding. It’s safe to believe what’s in this post! Because many of the things I will be discussing have not been involved in real SEO for awhile now (or never have been involved). I still see some of the same myths cropping up from time to time, spread by company salespeople who want to sell SEO but have no clue what they are talking about.
Or, they have some idea of what they’re talking about but have no conscience, so they just spout off ideas that have no place in terms of improving your site’s rankings in the search engines.
Unfortunately, there are also marketers that hope to use the latest industry jargon in an attempt to confuse you into buying their services, and have no interest in achieving long term solid results on Google for your website.
These marketers are dangerous, and can do more damage to your website. But don’t let that scare you. By keeping an eye out for the following myths and scams, you can make sure that you aren’t burned by someone that is peddling them.
Myth #1 – I can get your website to the top of Google in less than 24 Hours
Is this possible? Perhaps. That is, if you’re going for a junk keyword that has little or no competition and very little in terms of traffic. Sure, someone can claim that they can do that but your site will receive little to no value for the money you spent.
But, if you’re going for keywords that deliver value and want to build a steady stream of traffic from them, then you’re going to have to work for it. There is no way that anyone can make such a guarantee unless they have their hands physically stuffed into the Google algorithm and can manipulate its code directly.
Well, no way unless you’re a black hat and have built an automated script that has many thousands of links and URL resources already built into the script and can…well…I’ve already said too much. Which brings me to the next myth…
Myth #2 – We can guarantee ranking # (insert specific position here) using our fool proof method.
Really now? You can tell us exactly what’s in Google’s algorithm? Please, give me the script so I can build my own search engine and sell advertising and become the next Google.
Without being flippant, the truth is that it is difficult if not impossible to guarantee specific positions on Google because of the nature of Google’s algorithm. Plus, you can’t say exactly where Google will rank a site unless you work for them and have privileged access to the private technical matters of the algorithm.
Testing can be done to prove how certain website elements increase rankings, yes, but you will never be able to guarantee specific positions on Google based on that one assertion.
Google will rank your site where it sees fit based on how SEO methods are performed. The best anyone can provide is an educated guess, and many of those can be initially wrong.
Myth #3 – It takes months to get results.
It doesn’t have to take months. What takes months is the infrastructure you use and what methods you have in place.
If you need 500+ pages of quality content to get the links your site needs to rank on Google and it takes months to get those pages setup, then yes, it will take months. If, however, you launch your website on Google with 500 pages of content already, then it’s quite possible that rankings will take much less time.
That is still white hat, and not spammy. What turns content into black hat content is when you spam your content with hundreds of keywords, pound Google with content pages (think massive scale like 500 pages per day), is when Google’s going to take a negative look at your site.
The key is keeping under the radar and using methods that a human or a team of humans could potentially do. Not pound Google’s index with 500 pages of spammy content per day that was created with a content spinner program.
The truth is that it doesn’t take that long and with the right SEO and methods in place you can see your rankings steadily increase over time rather than waiting months to see those results, with totally white hat methods.
Myth #4 – LSI: Latent Semantic Indexing.
Can I roll my eyes for a minute? Even after starting professionally in SEO way back in 2007, when I first heard the term and realized it was bogus, I still see this term crop up from time to time.
Usually from companies and individuals trying to better market their SEO services. The truth is, LSI is currently not in place in any form on Google. How do I know this? I’ve personally coded many, many pages that have ranked in the top ten (and many #1) on Google without this myth.
Here is a lengthy article (from 2007, but still very relevant today) on this subject that explains how and why no SEO can use LSI, and why LSI does not exist: http://www.miislita.com/information-retrieval-tutorial/svd-lsi-tutorial-1-understanding.html
Myth #5 – Using the keywords Meta tag will help increase your rankings.
Yeah. No. The Meta Keywords tag has not been in use by Google for several years now. Yet I still hear people saying the Meta keywords tag helps. It doesn’t.
I have had my pages rank well with just a few keywords in the Meta Keyword tag – I don’t spend much time on it. It has made no difference in the performance of my coded pages whether my Meta keywords tag has had 60 or 6 keywords.
The difference is most likely attributed to a faster (albeit not noticeable at the human level) load time thanks to using less code in the file with less Meta keywords. Now, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t spend time on keywords in your copy or in other areas (like in your title + Meta Description) – absolutely you should follow those methods.
Just don’t worry too much about the Meta keywords tag. Instead, spend your time on more important SEO items.
Myth #6 – There are special Meta tags that make Google crawl your site faster.
Definitely a ‘no’ on this one. I still see this one popping up (a bit rarer than LSI, but I’ve seen it). There are no special Meta tags that make Google crawl your site faster.
What will help Google crawl your site faster is the frequency of your updates and how much more fresh your site is to them. That’s what matters.
Myth #7 – Including Flash on your website will hurt your rankings.
Not directly. If you haphazardly include Flash on your website in the form of a full Flash site that is not properly SEOed, then it can hurt your rankings.
Now, if you include Flash elements on a site that’s primarily an HTML website, then that’s just fine. Just pay attention to your website’s load time and the position of the elements as they relate to the conversion of your potential clients.
Should you totally stay away from Flash? It depends on the scope and goals of your project. Flash can be properly SEOed, however, so don’t dismiss the idea of Flash entirely.
Flash can be a dynamic asset to your website that can assist in converting clients when Flash is used properly. When used as a bolt on solution, however, as with anything, it tends to be less effective.
There you have it. Seven myths for your website to help keep you informed and up to date as you search for someone to perform your next SEO campaign. Make sure that your SEO is up to date and not using out of date techniques that will do nothing to help your rankings.
Nothing’s worse than finding out that you’ve been scammed several months after they’ve bolted and you find out they used methods that did nothing.