The SEO atmosphere has changed drastically since the early days of the internet (circa mid-1990s). What worked like a champ in those days to promote your website will probably cause you to be penalized by Google today. SEO myths and realities change regularly.
Unfortunately, not everyone knows this. Many websites still practice outdated methods that are considered unethical by Google, and they remain in the dark as to why their website isn’t better ranked. The following represent practices that at the least won’t help you, or at the worst, will cause Google to drop your ranking:
Search Engine Submission
In the 1990s, submission forms could be used to tag sites with keyword information. Those forms would then be submitted to the search engine. Once that happened, a bot would crawl the site and those resources would be included in their index. Ah, so simple… and so easy to abuse if someone was trying to generate spam! Today, search engines usually ignore search engine submission forms completely since they rely totally on a webmaster’s honesty and integrity.
In the past, you could include meta tags containing keywords that you wanted your site to rank for. It didn’t matter if the meta tags (not to be confused with meta descriptions) contained keywords that were actually in the content or not. Needless to say, this practice was abused extensively and is no longer considered a ranking factor by search engines.
You have no doubt come across pages that read very strangely. Those pages are probably keyword stuffing. Here’s a good example:
“Al’s fast Portland auto mechanic is the best fast Portland auto mechanic for your auto repair needs. Contact a fast Portland auto mechanic today.”
This is a deceptive practice, and, as it turns out, it doesn’t even work. It’s not difficult for search engines to locate this kind of dishonest practice and punish perpetrators for doing it. Keyword density isn’t a major factor in SEO, even though many people still think it is, making this one of the most popular SEO myths. You’re much better off using keywords in ways that are organic and add to quality content.
Paid Search as a Means to Bolster Organic Results
A lot of people want to believe search engine advertising (aka: pay per click, PPC) will make your SEO ranking go up. Unfortunately, there’s no solid evidence to back that up. Unbeknownst to many, the major search engines have structures in place to prevent such a crossover. Unless they change that, pay per click isn’t really going to bolster your ranking.
Manipulative linking relies on the idea that search engines’ use of link popularity can be cynically exploited. Methods to do this include the following:
- Reciprocal link exchange programs: Websites collude with one another by linking pages back and forth between their sites to artificially build link popularity. This behavior is easy to spot by search engines and websites doing this are quickly devalued.
- Link schemes: Usually includes entire link networks or directories comprised of fake or low-value websites that exist only as link sources in order to artificially increase their popularity. Once again, today’s search engines can usually spot this activity quickly and take punitive action.
- Paid Links: buying links from sites willing to place a link in exchange for money in the hope of earning higher rankings. Google is always on the lookout for this activity.
A search engine wants its crawlers to see the content that users do. Therefore, they don’t like it when they see you’re hiding text in the HTML code. That’s called cloaking. Cloaking isn’t necessarily being used for unethical reasons. However, the search engines don’t always know that. If you have a legitimate reason for cloaking, proceed with caution.
Low Value Pages
Low value pages aren’t necessarily spam but in many cases they are. Remember that search engines are looking for pages with unique content and genuine value. When they see things like duplicate content and keyword stuffing, they will likely devalue the site using them.
Google’s Panda updates have proven especially effective in seeking out this type of content. In fact, Panda is responsible for nearly 20% of website content having its rankings changed in recent years.
How Do You Make Sure Your Website Doesn’t Fall Prey to SEO Myths?
It’s easy to do the wrong thing when building your website. Unfortunately, following the wrong practices can cause all of your hard work to be wasted if Google penalizes you for doing things it considers unethical. It’s always best to work with experts to build your website to avoid falling prey to classic SEO myths.
Dreamscape Marketing, a Google Partner, is ready to take your website to the next level of effectiveness. Are you? Call us today at 800-571-8553 and let’s talk about your unique website needs.