The Many Myths of SEO

SEO Myths

Writing about SEO isn’t easy, especially when there are so many different views of optimization; “views” includes some of the awful shenanigans being passed off as… drum roll please… the all mighty Search Engine Optimization.

It’s almost the end of 2010. What used to be myths have been tried and tested. They failed. Many are just plain lies now. I’m sure many of you have seen the spammy emails… We get at least ten a week, and anywhere from three to ten SEO sales calls per month. To them, I say, at least research the people you’re contacting will you?

So it’s not easy to learn about SEO. I get that; it’s constantly changing. How can you learn about something that’s so elusive? You read, listen, test and, ultimately, make mistakes that teach you a thing or two. However, the biggest thing to walk away with from any information on SEO is that Content + Links + Activity equal PERPETUAL ACTIVITY. Fresh content, strong links and human activity will get you results.

Spam is the worst enemy of the search engines. Because there’s so much of it, most engines will continue to update their algorithms in order to fight an uphill battle. You have to grow and change with the search engines to get the reach you need.

With that in mind, let’s discuss some of the things “everyone” believes about SEO.

  • Getting free Google traffic is a complex process. It takes tons of time, manual labor and infinite patience. You’d have to be a Buddhist monk for this kind of work.
  • Google’s algorithms can’t possibly be understood by anyone short of God – and even he has problems.
  • Google ranking is better left to those who spend ten hours a day researching and studying optimization. Ranking on your own is beyond your ability.

Now, it may be over simplistic, but SEO falls into three areas: content, links and activity. What’s on your site, who’s linking to your site (and who are you linking to), and what kind of activity is happening.

SEO Myths

As you step into the world of DIY SEO, keep these things in mind. Likewise, remember the following list of SEO myths. They aren’t true. Period.

Proper headings can get your page ranked…

Getting high rankings doesn’t depend on your use of headings. Do proper headings help? Yes – especially for readers. However, if you just have your headings done, but don’t do anything else, your rankings will tank. You can trust me or test it, but if you test it, please do yourself a favor. Test it on an insignificant page.

Submit your URL to thousands of search engines for better ranking…

Search engines don’t need your input. They don’t need you to go to their site, put in your URL and tell them the site is there. They’ll get around to indexing your site on their own. In fact, listing with the search engines can actually slow the process. A better use of your time is to be listed on a few popular, relevant sites.

Optimize for one keyword per page…

This is a waste of space and can ruin your content quality. Think about it. If you’re only using one keyword, your content will look spammy.

Instead, you choose your keyword or phrase and then choose supporting phrases. We’ve found for us that three to five key terms per page have the best effect. The number one point to take away from this is “supporting” terms. Target the phrases you can, so that page can be found for several searches rather than just one term.

Again, test a page on your site. Optimize for a high number of keywords and watch the results. Cut down on the number of key terms until you get strong, relevant results. Testing each page this way may seem tedious, but your site will do much better in the SERPs.

Search engine is a way to trick the search engines…

Listen. If you’re tricking the search engines, then you’re also tricking your visitors. If you’re tricking your visitors, they won’t convert. True SEO is relevant content, quality backlinks and a busy site.

SEO can get your site banned…

Believe it or not, this is “somewhat” of a myth as well. Careful SEO won’t get your site banned. It’s only when your site sets up red “spam” flags that it becomes a worry.

You don’t need SEO…

This is one of my favorite ones; I argue about it with my editor. The truth is, it doesn’t matter if you’re in a niche market or not. Consider how many millions use search engines. Even if you get conversions from other areas, not targeting search engines can lose thousands of visitors and potential customers.

There’s no cookie-cutter method to learning SEO. The Internet is so fluid; what worked yesterday may not work today. This is one of the biggest reasons we constantly pushing testing. How do you know something will or will not work if you don’t test it first?

Don’t just look at an article and put things into action throughout your site. Try what you read on a page, first. If it works, great, try it on another page. Three times is the charm, as they say. However, if you haven’t tested before site-wide implementation, you may very well end up watching your website crash and burn.

In conclusion please, stop your nonsense if you don’t know something don’t spew what you have heard others say. Read from the experts, don’t be afraid to ask questions after all we are here to answer them.

About Gabriella Sannino

International SEO consultant is my title...but who cares about those? What I love is, writing about marketing, social, SEO, relevance, ruffling feathers and starting revolutions. What you read on this blog, will hopefully inspire you to continue the conversation. When I'm not multitasking around Level343 I sneak away and go sailing. I'm crazy about pistachios, and of course Nutella.


  1. SEO agency I would like to nominate you as the POSTER child of what a SPAM comment looks like. Let me add you were allowed to comment to show our readers a fine example of what they SHOULDN’T do :-)

  2. lol well, it seems that you just went on record with that, Michael. We’ll make sure not to spread it around … too much ;)

    thanks much for your comments – it always amazes me how many people think testing is a waste of time. “Well, so n so said it worked, so I just put it up there,” is a comment that always makes me shake my head.

    You bring up an important point with the comment about social conversion. So many think ranking = traffic = conversion = money. Yet, as marketers know, conversion just means people doing what you want them to do – which isn’t always buying. Conversion could mean clicking on that little Twitter link and following.

    Thanks again for your comments!

  3. I must say you not only properly listed the several working parts of SEO – content & links /activity is a working subset IMHO AND left out tactics sure to cease in importance ( twitter ppc in footer link for social conversion, etc…), but further implied TESTING is an important element. Well done.

    BTW, my twitter profile link is a test. And, automated scraping still has it’s place, but who the hell is going on record with THAT?


  4. Ohhhh….. It is something so interesting! Topics about SEO fascinates me as I always got lots of information that benefits me. Thanks for sharing this great article.


  1. @simonecinelli Volevo aggiungere qualche altri SEO Miti in più | ho anche permesso un commento "spam" ;)

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