Seven Myths about Search Engines Demystified

Search Engine OptimizationToday there is a lot of information available on the web about how to get good search engine rankings, some information is good and some information is bad. Over the few years search engines have been around, some myths have developed. Some of these myths are actually just out dated techniques and some are misunderstandings because the web is such a new medium. Below I have explained the top seven myths I have seen floating around the net.

$45 will get you #1 position
This is my number one pet peeve. The ads that say for $45 you can get a top page listing with Google, Msn and others. This is not a myth it is an out and out lie. It’s absolutely impossible to guarantee any rankings. All you can do is have someone optimize your pages, apply an Internet Marketing Plan to your website and hope for the best. It is also a lot more complicated then paying for your listing. If that’s the case the highest bidder would receive the highest listing.

Multiple submissions help your rank
The truth is submit your website once, if in a few months your website has not been indexed then submit it again. Chances are that your site will be indexed by Google (indexed pages are pages that a search engine has added to its list of pages it has already looked at and uses when a searcher performs a search) and Yahoo and many other search engines because the search engines want to supply as much relevant information to the searcher, therefore they need to have more indexed pages. That’s the bottom line. Also, if submitting your website to the search engines is something you are doing yourself, then think about only submitting to a few of the important ones that feed the other search engines, this cuts down the time.

It’s all about meta-tags
First I’ll explain meta-tags. They are HTML tags that can be used to define the HTML specifications a webpage follows, keywords and description of the page, etc..
The most common use of a meta-tag in online marketing is the keyword and description tags, which tell the search engines that index meta-tags what description to use in their SERP (search engine rankings page). Meta tags are good, they definitely can’t hurt. Unfortunately they are not everything the search engine uses to determine the topic of your site or it’s ranking. There are many other key factors you need to consider. The best thing to do is not to cram 50 keywords in your meta tags. The best practice is to put one or two per page with, each page having different keywords relevant to the page. The truth is that most meta-tags aren’t particularly important and aren’t used by search engines at all. Google has already stated it ignores most meta-tags. They can be useful to show the description that comes up after your listing in the SERP.

Page Rank is God
Page Rank is definitely not God. Although, it is a good tool. As a web designer, I like to use it determine whether I would like to trade links with another website. Again, there are many things search engines use to determine rankings. Page Rank is not the only thing used to determine your placement in the SERP. There are a load of other factors that come into play. Basically Page Rank is over rated by a lot of people. For example I searched Google for “purple monkey” and the first page on the SERP had a Page Rank of 5 and the second result has a Page Rank of 5 and the term “purple monkey” was in the url. The third page had a Page Rank of 7. Therefore higher Page Ranks do not necessarily mean higher listings but, it does help.

All website designers and developers understand search engines.
The answer is no, not all designers understand search engines. Just because they can create websites doesn’t mean they know how to optimize them. Some designers tend to show off what they can produce, such as a fully flash site with all kinds of “bells and whistles” and no text for the search engine to read. Before you hire a website designer/developer or SEO expert ask for some case studies of sites they have optimized.

The more links the better…
The truth is the more relevant links the better. You can add your site to a gazillion free directories and it’s not going to help your SERP ranking. What helps your rankings is relevant links. Links from sites on the same topic or a site that would be relevant to your visitors.

Search Engine Optimization is technical
Honestly, it’s boring and time consuming. It takes a lot of time in front of your computer and knowledge of how search engines work. It is something you can do yourself, but the easy and cost effective way would be to hire an expert. SEO is one of the most cost effective marketing strategies you can use for your business.

The bottom line in Search Engine Optimization is it’s time consuming, hard work and it has to be done by a human. If you are a small business and have a little knowledge you can do it yourself, as long you have a lot of time on your hands. If you don’t have a lot of time to waste, hire an expert.