Six SEO Myths That Waste Your Time And Cost You Money

If your micro business has a website (and chances are it should) then it’s likely you’ve heard a lot about SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation.

If you have, then it’s just as likely you’ve also heard some of the myths around this process too.

Because the search engines hardly ever come out and categorically say that this is true, or that is false, it’s extremely easy for myths to start. And when they do, they spread like wildfire.

Not only are new myths being created, but SEO techniques which worked back in the 90s also seem to hang around like a bad smell for 10 or 20 years adding to the confusion.

If you’re a micro business owner operating on the web you need to be careful to avoid the myths, because they can cost your business significant time and money.

Let’s highlight and dispel a few of the common ones to look out for…

1.  Google partners with SEO agencies

This is one of the myths that annoys me the most as an SEO.

Agencies will often cold call business owners giving the impression that that are in some way partnered with the search engine giant. As a micro business owner you probably get these sorts of calls weekly, or even more frequently than that. Let me clarify. Google does not, under any circumstances partner, affiliate or certify any SEO agency, anywhere in the world.

Here’s what Google Says:

“Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google”

2.  You can guarantee 1st page results

Another extremely widespread myth is that SEO agencies are able to guarantee your site 1st page placement in the organic search results.

Again this is completely untrue. The only real way to guarantee your site’s inclusion on the search engine results page is by paying for an advert on the sidebar. This is not SEO.

3.  Meta keywords are an important ranking factor

Among business owners this is probably one of the most common SEO myths.

That the meta keywords tag is an important ranking factor and can help your website perform well in the search engines. Unfortunately even though all of the major engines have come out many times to dismiss this myth, it is still widely believed.

4.  Page Rank is important

Page Rank (PR) is a score from 0 – 10 assigned to every page in the index of Google. You may have seen it as a little green bar in your web browser if you have Google’s toolbar installed. The myth around page rank is that the higher your PR, the higher your site will be featured in Google’s result pages.

This idea that there is a direct correlation between PR and ranking has been disproved time and again and Google now uses over 200 factors in it’s ranking algorithm.

5.  Keyword Density is important

Keyword density is simply a calculation of the number of times a keyword (or phrase) appears on any given page, usually displayed as a percentage. There is no ideal keyword density number and there never has been, well, maybe back in the 90′s.

Each page needs to be judged on it’s own merit, with content written naturally for humans and not search engines….it’s as simple as that.

6.  PPC directly impacts your SEO

I’ve never really understood where this myth came from. My best guess is that somebody noticed a drop in rankings about the time they stopped PPC and a conspiracy theory evolved. SEO’s love a conspiracy theory.

Again here’s what Google has to say:

“Advertising with Google won’t have any effect on your site’s presence in our search results”

I hope that puts a few things straight. But what SEO myths have confused you? What SEO tactics do you have your doubts about? Please tell me in the comments below.

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Today’s Micro Action

Always do your own research from trusted sources before taking any SEO related information at face value. You can save yourself a huge amount of time, and money.

Gaz Copeland

Gaz Copeland is the owner and creator of “Stoked SEO” the Stoke-on-Trent based SEO and Internet Marketing blog. A passion for creative link building, eCommerce and local SEO Gaz has worked as a consultant with hundreds of sites, on all kinds or platforms in many industries since publishing his first site all the way back in 1999.

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  1. Good post, the only one I am not 100% sure I agree with is point 5. Whilst keyword density is not the be all and end all it is still something to be aware of when building content.

    • Thanks for the comment Shaun and for reading.

      I am really talking about those people who believe that there is a magic number to keyword density. Although, if you’re writting content naturally for your readers, not for the search engines then I would say that you don’t need to be aware of it it at all.
      Gaz Copeland recently posted..Pinterest Competitor Analysis BookmarkletMy Profile

      • I have to disagree with this completely. Panda and Penguin changed SEO for good, the old rules for keywords are gone. If you continue to use any kind of keywords unnaturally you will be penalized for spammy content. The future is (for now) is LSI.

        The more people that are still concerned with keyword density the better, less competition for me.

  2. I think what Gaz is getting at is there is no optimum keyword density i.e. 10-12% as some people spout.

    Google have clearly stated you only need to mention your keyword phrases just once or twice and one of the jobs for the Page Quality team is to look at over use of keywords when deciphering page quality.

  3. Just in fairness to my SEO colleagues, you might want to clarify in point 1 that Google does “certify” SEO’s PPC work through the AdWords Certification programme. They also have the agency engagement programs, Google Engage and Agency Edge. Obviously though, none of these confers any special or unique advantage in how well the companies’ clients may rank.

    This is obviously vastly different from the shocking “we have a special relationship with Google that guarantees a page 1 position for [Insert Random Long Tail Keyword]” hard-sell nonsense some cold-callers spout.

  4. Gaz:

    I run in to the SEO/Google relationship myth all the time when talking to new clients. I had one guy tell me he talked to a SEO company and he decided he was going to work with them instead because they “work with Google.” I about fell of my chair when I heard that. As hard as I tried to explain to him that we all work with Google in the sense that we all try to get our client’s sites ranked in Google, he wasn’t buying. He was convinced this other company had a direct relationship with Google that I didn’t have so he would get better results with them. Maybe I should put a “Google Endorsed” badge on my site:)

    Travis Van Slooten
    Travis Van Slooten recently posted..5 Basic Steps on How To Optimize Your WebsiteMy Profile

  5. Useful information, thanks for sharing..
    Mach1 Corporation recently posted..What is SEO?My Profile

  6. Use a lot of keywords in the file names and URLs that you use. Make sure not to use too many hyphens because it will look like it is leading to a spam site and people will not be too sure about whether or not they want to take a chance and click on it.

  7. There are many SEO myths and mistakes around the Web and often it is difficult to determine whether certain technique really does work or it is just one of many common myths. Some of these myths are at least partially based in reality but there is a lot of crazy ones that are just plain fantasy.

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