Call it myths, bad advice or a conspiracy. More and more people are learning these idiotic rules. Sadly, more and more of them are turning around and training others on the same nonsense. Let’s put these 4 gems to rest.
1. Meta Keywords are the key to rankings.
Hey, 1995 is calling and they want their techniques back. The late 90s are when the search engines figured out that meta keywords were a spam haven. Spammers realized that all they had to do was stuff these boxes full of their favorite keywords to rank. If this method still worked, the first page of Google for any search term would be completely worthless. Google doesn’t want to worthless so they gave this technique the boot. Nowadays the search engines use this information to spot spammy sites.
You can still use meta keywords if you like. I personally find them useful as reminders of what term each page is being optimized for. Keep in mind that crazy repetition might affect crawlers view of your credibility. So use them, but be careful. Also, if you have meta keywords on your main page you are pretty much just telling your competition what you are trying to rank for. So if you feel like making your competition’s life easier than by all means, let them be all up in your busines
2. Secret Formula for keyword density
This particular myth takes the cake. And I will confess I propagated this nonsense a few times during my tenure. However it is all wrong. Just like the meta keywords above, this concept didn’t last very long after the spammers got a hold of it.
Let me be very clear: There is absolutely no magic formula for keyword density.
The reason this gem has stuck around so long is that it makes sense. If you write about something a bunch of times, it only makes sense that the search engines will
identify your page as a great resource about the topic.
In a perfect world this would be lovely. But we do not live in a perfect world. And as long as we have spammers and black hatters around trying to cut corners, things like this will go by the wayside.
The most entertaining thing about this myth is that it has been wrong for so long. Check out this post written in 2008, http://www.seomoz.org/ugc/seo-myths-that-persist-keyword-density.
3. Syndication is evil.
Not a day goes by that I don’t have a client with a duplicate content question. And with the panda update the fear is getting more and more palpable.
Here’s the deal. Duplication and syndication should not be put in the same conversation. There is a vast difference between them. Duplication is copy/pasting and being a jerk. Syndication is copy/pasting, adding an attribution and giving a thumbs up.
If you want to syndicate one of my site articles please feel free to do so. All you have to is write my name at the bottom and link directly to my post. That’s called attribution. That let’s site crawlers know that I am the originator of the content. It is imperative that you link directly to the page and not the domain for this to work.
A few caveats on syndication. One, there are instances that the originator will not be given the credit for the content. This happens when a much higher ranking site duplicates the content. For example, if the Mashable were to syndicate one of my articles (feel free to suggest that they do!) they would get the credit. The reason is that their website greatly outweighs mine in metrics. And it makes sense, if the content is valuable more people are likely to read it on a higher ranking site than my dinky blog.
Lastly, people worry about being completely booted from search engines for syndicated content. Though SEO is not an exact science (see #4) it is agreed by most experts that duplicate content issues affect the single page the duplicate content is found. It will simply keep that particular page from ranking. Only in instances where 80% or more of your pages contain duplicate content will you have issues at a domain level.
So unless you have tons and tons of syndicated material I wouldn’t worry about it. To prove I’m not feeding the conspiracy, here’s a post I syndicated from moomkin.com, I just added an attribution to the bottom:
4. SEO is an exact science.
Part of the problem with SEO is that there are no set rules. Well… there are rules but when you get down to the nitty gritty things change. And people are constantly testing new theories and trying new ways to beat the search engines to boost their content marketing. Couple that with thousands upon thousands of people building sites everyday that have neither the time nor the patience to learn SEO
When those things collide you have a great need for a list of simple rules. Something people can learn in 5 minutes and run with. And to a point this is super helpful. The problem is when people do this they miss the big picture. That SEO is not algebra, it isn’t full of cut and dry answers. SEO is like painting. There are some general guidelines, but creativity is what really skyrockets your success.
So go forth and learn more about SEO. Just take these 4 things and mark them off your “SEO Truths” list!
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