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The Top 5 Search Engine Optimization Myths
Originally Published: June 17, 2003
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Many things have been written about search engine optimization techniques by many different search engine experts, so some tenacious myths occur at regular intervals:
Submitting my web site to search engines will bring me visitors.
Submitting your web site to search engines doesn't automatically bring visitors to your site. If your web site isn't optimized for the search engines, chances are that your web site will not be listed at all or somewhere at position 3,739 and beyond.
You must make sure that your web site is optimized for your important keywords before submitting it to search engines. Otherwise, you're wasting your time and your money.
I must submit my web site to 1,500 search engines.
There are only about 5 important international search engines and the same amount of country specific search engines that will bring you 99% of your search engine visitors. Therefore, it's pointless to submit your site to 1,500 "search engines".
Most of these sites are no search engines at all but FFA (free for all) link pages that do nothing else but adding your email address to a spam list. Focus on the most important search engines that are really used by web surfers.
Apart from that, if your web site has many incoming links, you don't have to submit your web site at all. Search engines are able to find your web site automatically through the links and they will give it a higher value than a directly submitted page because other people link to your site.
META tags will improve my search engine ranking.
Most search engines don't use the META Keywords tag anymore to determine the ranking of a web site because they have been abused too often in the past to trick search engines. Inktomi is the last major crawler-based search engine that supports the META Keywords tag.
"The META Keywords value is just one of many factors in our ranking equation, and we've never given too much weight to it." said Ken Norton, director of product marketing for Inktomi's web search division.
The META Description tag is still useful because its description will be displayed on the query result page of some search engines.
Adding any other META tags (besides the META Robots tag) such as the META Author tag, the META Copyright tag, the META Language tag or the Dublin Core tags means nothing to the major search engines and seems little worth your time.
Cloaking or doorway pages will get me a high ranking.
Techniques such as using hidden content, cloaking or doorway pages used to work for some time and some techniques might still work on some search engines.
Sooner or later, all major search engines will recognize these techniques as spam. As soon as they find out that you're trying to trick them, your web site will get in trouble and maybe it will be even banned for a long time.
Search engine optimization is not as good as traditional advertising.
This is the opposite of reality. People who find your web site through search engines are active and ready to buy. Search engine traffic is very qualified because your visitors performed searches with a purpose when they found your site.
Search engine leads can be more targeted and more valuable than traditional media advertising methods.
If done correctly, optimizing your web site for high search engine rankings is the most cost-effective advertising method for your business.
Therefore it's essential to make sure that your web site is optimized for search engines and that it has many incoming links.
If your web site is good in these two areas, you'll get many targeted visitors from search engines and other web sites without submitting your site to the search engines even once.
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