I wanted to call on a few wise words from some respected SEO voices to help tackle some common SEO myths.
1. Satisfaction, guaranteed
"There are one or two hundred factors that influence your ranking with the search engines - no company or individual can control all of these." Matt McGee
How many SEO companies offer to guarantee your satisfaction? They offer guaranteed results, to get you to number one or get you 100,000 page views a month. Sadly they are often suffering from an honesty deficit.
2. A high Google PageRank = high ranking
"For certain keywords a lower PR page might outrank a higher PR page, but the rankings don't specifically go in exact PR order" Matt McGee
Your PageRank is a not your position on a page of Goolge search results. The name is a little confusing, and the two are often mixed up. A high PageRank is nice but is still only one block in your house of SEO!
McGee adds: "It's still often seen as the number one factor in Google's algorithm when it's actually one of a couple of hundred factors. It's a very visible symbol for a lot of webmasters and business owners, but the more time you spend in the search world, the sooner you realise it's not the be-all and end-all."
3. Endorsed by Google
"Google definitely does not put their stamp of approval on any individual consultant or company", affirms Matt McGee.
While some form of accreditation would be a great idea in a market which is ever harder to identify the good from the bad.
Google's Webmaster Guidelines and its beginners guide to SEO are good places to gain an understanding of what the right track undertaking any SEO but it's arguably what they teach you is just one colour of the spectrum.
4. Meta tag keywords matter
Matt Cutts, says: "Google doesn't use the keywords meta tag in our scoring at all. It's just a waste of time to throw a lot of phrases into the keywords meta tag. It would be a better use of your effort to do things like speed up your website, because that can directly improve the usability of your site even independently of SEO."
Meta titles and Meta descriptions are great but keywords are an increasing waste of energy particularly as Matt points out Google don't use them anymore!
David Mihm, president of GetListed.org, agrees: "'Can you help me optimise my meta keywords?' This is probably the number one phrase I hear from small business owners who call and want me to help them with website optimisation. The fact is that no search engine uses them any more. Google, which rarely discloses ANYTHING important about its algorithm, formally declared it does not use meta keywords via its search quality guru Matt Cutts nearly two years ago. The two 'metas' that site owners should still worry about are, including keywords in the <title> tag (extremely important for optimisation), and the meta description, which, although it does not seem to affect ranking, can be used to increase clickthrough rates from the search result pages."
5. Cheat your way to the top
In the past and even currently, whilst short term black hat techniques might give you short term benefits, in the long term you just can't fool the search engines. Google and Bing aren't updated up by a guy in his shed.
6. Keywords? Cram 'em in
David Mihm: "It's a myth to say 'I will optimise your website’s Keyword Density'. It is important to include keywords on your pages but there is NO 'magic number' of times to use a keyword. Write your text for humans!"
There is no magic percentage. Write good copy and create good content consistently and as long as it doesn't get diluted or scraped across the web it is pretty certain your effort will be recognised.
Cramming bland copy with keywords isn't going to get you more readers and better search rankings.
7. Spending money on Google AdWords boosts your rankings
As Ebay have dramatically proved over the years, blind spending on Adwords campaigns does not necessarily improve your organic search ranking (or in fact directly impoved sales).
Search expert Matt McGee, says: "I've seen studies over the years that suggest that when you have good visibility on both your paid and organic it increases click through on your pages, and thus traffic, increasing awareness, which leads more to links, etc, etc. So I certainly think there's nothing wrong with spending money on AdWords. But it's a definitely a myth that there's a direct impact on your rankings."
8. Land here
You spend all your time carefully adding unique meta titles and descriptions, writing and re-writing top content and introductions text to your pages, adding 'alt' tags to your images so you have to expect every page of your site would be the first page a new visitor see. Every page is a landing page so consider your journeys from all angles.
9. Set it and forget it
Optimising a site for search is not a one off thing. Experience shows it can be a really bad idea. On the other hand, it is often a hard, relatively fruitless task to constantly tweek a site. The best place to be is somewhere in the middle!
It can always be better, Goolge algorithyms are constantly on the move. It is even more important if you only have a limited resource or somuch time to give a project adding a opermising a new page once a month is relativly little drag on your time and can make the difference between your site sliding into obscurity or staying ahead of the compertition.
10. Rankings aren't everything
"If a number one ranking for a certain keyword isn't making you money, it's worthless. If a number three or number four ranking is getting you clicks, you're converting your traffic into customers, then that ranking is much more valuable," says Matt McGee.
Have you ever clicked on the top result for a seach and found yourself in completely the wrong place? Being at the top does mean a site is the most relevant source of information out there. Without good content, a clear journey for users and solid conversion goals, all that time and effort poured into an SEO campaign is a waste of time.
Rankings are a means to an end not the end itself or a sign that a site is the best it can be or what users are looking for!