Almost every profession and niche market has its own myths. Certainly, not all police officers fill up on donuts and not all kindergarten teachers are covered in glitter glue. The same is true of SEO: there are myths and misunderstandings galore. Stephan Spencer has had his hands full the last little while, writing articles about just these myths with “”36 SEO Myths That Won’t Die But Need To” and “36 More SEO Myths That Won’t Die But Need To”. Although I would love to talk about all 72 of the myths that Spencer has uncovered, I’m just going to cover a few of them.
So, here are a few SEO myths and the correct information to go with them:
• Having an XML Sitemap will boost your Google rankings. Google uses sitemaps files for discovery and potentially as canonicalization hints, if a site has duplicate content. However, sitemaps do not give a URL a boost on Google rankings.
• Since the advent of personalization, there is no such thing as being ranked #1 anymore because everyone sees different results. Yes, Google does personalize search results based on the user’s search history, but the differences between personalized results and non-personalized results are minor. Check for yourself by re-running your query — the second time adding &pws=0 to the end of Google SERP URL — and observing the results.
• SEO is a black art. This one made me actually laugh. Because, I imagined how much more interesting my life would be if it was as Spencer said, “it’s done, usually in a dark room, by some rogue SEO consultant, without requiring the involvement of the client/rest of the company. If SEO were like that, our lives would read like spy novels.” SEO fun, interesting and challenging, but nothing that mysterious, for sure.
• SEO is a one-time activity you complete and are then done with. There would be no need for me to write this blog at all, if that were the case, but many people and companies do believe this one. SEO is ongoing. Website development is ongoing. Your business changes and grows, so your website and SEO tactics should too.
• SEO is a subset of Social Media. Since we talk about social media and other tactics for marketing regularly, I wanted to broach this one. SEO is it’s own animal with its own concerns. While social media can also grow your business and provide linking for SEO purposes , SEO is not a subordinate to social media. They work in tandem.
• It’s either SEO or PPC. This is just not true. Both of these avenues can both be employed in your marketing plan.
There are a lot of myths about who is the best choice for SEO services, from IT departments to a person with one year’s experience to someone overseas in a faceless company. Remember that you get what you pay for and that a comprehensive marketing plan for your company, with experienced and knowledgeable people working with your business to create the best results will yield the most fruit.