Search Engine Optimization can be compared easily to a religion. There are rules, there are expectations, there are practices and there are teachings. Like a new convert there are myths that should be dispelled about your new found faith that you thought was truth, but in fact are just not true. Now SEO is a funny practice, in general, because it is through testing and observing that we can draw conclusions of how the Great Algorithm behaves.
There are a few things that SEO companies or experts hold as fact because at one time they may have been fact – but now, in my experience, no longer true. Here are 3 of these that I now consider myths.
1. “The Meta Keywords Tag is important”
This was one of those items that I suspected as being false, but I was too chicken to test it. It wasn’t until I was messing with one client’s new CMS that I discovered how the keyword meta tag is not needed. My experience happened when the CMS actually didn’t put the meta tags in for the searchbots to find. Despite that, the site debuted on page 7 of Google and then jumped to page 2 in one week. I realized that I didn’t really need a keyword tag as much as I needed the keywords themselves. Am I going to ditch the keyword tag? Well, old habits die hard and it will take me a bit to completely ditch it, but I know not to freak out if I can’t get my keywords in there. It’s kind of like still reacting when a black cat crosses your path – there is no power in it, but you can’t help but flinch.
2. “The description meta tag is worthless, don’t bother with it.”
Oh, how the world is a funny place. I still have ebooks lying around that treat the meta description as a worthless laughable excuse of HTML. In all honesty, I never fully believed them because there had to be something useful about it. Today, the meta description can be crawled on the keywords and serves as a huge marketing tactic on the SERPs. Use it wisely!
3. “Page Rank is important to start ranking high”
Don’t tell devout link builders! I’m kidding actually. Link building is essential, but I couldn’t help but notice that the same site I was building started ranking higher in the SERPs than sites with higher page ranks. Granted, these sites had page ranks of 1 or 2, but the site I had still had a rank of 0. The power of the placement of effective keywords has carried it this far. Link building and authority is what drives a site’s potential, but in some testing I’ve seen that page rank is relative in its help and a site with no page rank can still rank well. Does that mean to ignore page rank? Heavens, no!! I can’t ignore the “honeymoon” period of some sites that I’ve seen. That is, a site ranked very well at the beginning and then after not doing anything with it for a month, it dropped it’s place and got buried. So the moral is “if you start strong, keep strong.”
Keep in mind that when you are doing SEO related activities, your own experience is what is most important. Keep track of your own sites, measure your own data and repeat what works. Experience is the best teacher and when you see improvements that need to be made, go ahead and make the call yourself and see if the improvements help.
What other “myths” have you seen out there in the blogosphere? Let me know and let’s do some eye-rolling together.