I am continually frustrated by how much misinformation there is out there regarding SEO. In many cases, the information is blatantly wrong and in other cases it is just being misapplied. Most business owners and executives are not savy SEO experts. They all know that this "SEO thing" is important to their business so most are open to learning more.
In an effort to improve our knowledge I thought I would review some common misconceptions.
- You must have Meta Keywords to boost your organic rankings. This is not true, Meta Keywords no longer have any real value in boosting your rankings. Google doesn't even consider them in their ranking algorithm that includes well over 100 different factors. Take Away: If someone is speaking to you about the value of meta keywords, this a red flag that they really do not know what they are talking about.
- Google Page Rank directly impacts your site's keyword rankings. There is evidence that Page Rank is positively correlated with rankings on Google.com. However, the degree of correlation is not overwhelming. Page Rank should simply be viewed as a benchmark indicator of Google's view of the importance of your site. I regularly see sites with lower Page Rank that rank higher than competing sites with a higher PR. Take Away: Don't get hung up on PR. It's a nice number to look at occasionally but focus your efforts on converting your site visitors to customers.
- "Our SEO is endorsed / approved by Google." Google clearly states that they do not endorse any SEO companies. Companies can be Google Certified in certain Google products, such as Adwords or Analytics. However, these certifications are NOT for SEO. Take Away: In Google's words "Beware of SEO's that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a "special relationship" with Google, or advertise a "priority submit" to Google. Read more from Google on SEO.
- Guaranteed Rankings. There really is no such thing as guaranteed search engine rankings when you're dealing with natural search results. Google states on their on site that "No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google." Read more from Google. Take Away: Any company or individual that promises 'Guaranteed Rankings' should treated with extreme caution.
- SEO is a one-time activity you complete and are then done with. How many times have you heard someone say “We actually just finished SEO'ing our site”? SEO is not a one-time event. It is an ongoing process that must be actively managed. Do you think your competitors are going to do a little work and then stop? As competition online becomes more heated, it is essential that companies engage in an ongoing SEO program. Take Away: If you're serious about promoting your business online, then SEO should be a standard component of your marketing plan.
- Spending money on Google Adwords boosts your natural results. It is understandable to believe that spending money on paid ads with Google will somehow affect your organic / natural rankings. However, it is not true. Google has stated repeatedly that paid ads have no bearing on organic search result, yet this myth continues to live on. Running paid ads in conjunction with an SEO program can certainly be a good thing. It can give you increased visibility which can lead to higher click through rates, more natural inbound links. etc. Take Away: Incorporate a PPC campaign as part your overall online marketing strategy but don't expect it to have any impact on your SEO efforts.
SEO can be a very confusing subject to the average business person. However, that doesn't mean that you should ignore it. My advice is to do some research and find a reputable SEO company to partner with...get a basic understanding of their approach to SEO, talk with their clients, and verify results they have achieved.