Common SEO Myths

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It is interesting how much bad information is out there when it comes to techniques and tactics which can have an impact on your site’s search engine optimization & marketing efforts.

For example, there’s the myth that link building is bad, or the myth that Google’s recent Panda and Penguin updates killed the SEO industry.  But I’m here to tell you that neither of these myths are correct.  I will also address some others that I have come across over the previous few months.

Myth #1:  Having multiple domain names is bad

I recently had a client ask me this question.  He owned the .com version of his domain and he wanted to buy the .ca, .org and .info versions of the domain. He also wanted to buy some other similar domain names and even a couple keyword domains.

He had heard from another SEO that having all these domain names was bad for his SEO efforts.

So I told him the truth – owning multiple domain names will not affect his SEO efforts as long as he stays within certain guidelines:

1)      Don’t mirror the same website on all your domain names.  If you want multiple sites that is fine, just ensure that they are all unique.

2)      If you want to use all your company named domain names and have them point to the same site, that is fine too, just ensure they are properly redirected so that the search engines only see 1 version of the site.  In this case, to be perfectly safe, use 301 permanent redirects on all other domains, redirecting to your main domain.

As long as you follow these guidelines, ensuring that either proper redirection is in place, or that each site hosts unique content with unique designs, then you won’t run into problems.

CMS Systems like WordPress and Joomla are bad for SEO

This is one of my favorite myths and I love busting it.  One of the most common things I hear is “Wordpress is bad for SEO” and that simply is not the case.  WordPress is one of the most (if not THE most) well known and well used content management system out there.  I know of dozens of well ranking sites using WordPress or other CMS systems.

While I say that these systems aren’t bad for SEO, there is a caveat I want to point out.  An out-of-the-box vanilla installation of WordPress isn’t bad for SEO but it won’t help your efforts either.

That is because the basic WordPress installation lacks the ability to implement custom meta tags per page.  The vanilla installation really reuses your page/post title as the title tag, and a generic description tag pulled elsewhere from the system.  Wordpress also defaults to non-static page names.  To get the most out of your SEO efforts you should have static appearing page names.

For a WordPress (or any other CMS) site to perform well in the search engines, you have to be sure that you have some sort of optimization plugin or addition installed that allows you to add custom title and meta description tags.

Over optimization penalty

Another one of my favorite myths.  Let me start by saying yes over optimization is real. I’ve seen horribly optimized sites that have over-stuffed the main optimization areas (title, description and keywords), but unless they are doing some sort of black hat thing (IE cloaking, using hidden text etc) a site that is merely over optimized is not going to be penalized.

That being said, when you do see a penalty associated with “over optimization” it is usually because of one (or more) of the things I mentioned above – cloaking, hidden text, or anything done to purposefully  fool the search engine crawler.

So it’s not over optimization that will get you in trouble – it is black hat techniques.  As long as you stay away from these Google and the other search engines are smart enough to realize that having too many keywords in your meta keywords tag will not get you banned from the index.

Panda / Penguin killed SEO

Another great myth – that SEO is dead or dying because of the recent Google updates.  But you want to know who spreads this rumor?  The SEO firms that haven’t been able to make the adjustment to the “new” Google.  These are also likely the same firms that apply those aforementioned black hat techniques.

Sure there were a lot of sites that were lost due to these updates.  But in my opinion most of those reasons were valid.  For example, a lot of directories were lost to the updates.  This is because they are so template driven, so repetitive that they offered no real value to users.

If you follow the “tried and true” methods – good content, relevant links, well optimized website, your site can be successful in this new era of Pandas and Penguins.

Links are bad

I thought I’d end this article by debunking one of the biggest myths and rumors out there – that link building of any kind will get your site penalized by Google.

This just isn’t the case.  And while you may have heard or read somewhere that Google frowns on link building (Because let’s face it, they don’t want anyone doing anything to manipulate the search results) the fact is that Google is built on a foundation of links.  It’s how they became so big.

So to think that Google is walking away from its foundation any time soon is just preposterous.

For one thing, they’d need to find another indicator that helps measure the worth of a website.  But there’s nothing out there to do that.  Not social media, not local listings, not on page SEO.  Nothing.  This is because all of these avenues can be (And in many cases are already) being gamed by SEO firms and their clients to inflate rankings.

So until Google finds a way to replace the link as a ranking factor with something as good or better, link building is not dead.

Summary

There you have it – my brief look at some common myths and why I call them myth and not fact.

You may disagree with me, and may even have examples of sites that have suffered because of one or many of the above “myths” but I can give you just as many examples of other sites that have not only survived but flourished because of using a CMS, or link building or the Panda/Penguin updates.

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