Saturday, September 20, 2008

A few Search Engine myths

A few Search Engine myths

There is an abundance of search engine information available on the web- some of it

valuable, much of it contradictory. Throughout the years some prevailing search engine

myths have developed. Some of these myths are still encouraged. Others are based upon

techniques that were effective years ago but no longer work. Still others come from

simple misunderstandings that inevitably come with a relatively new medium. Here is a

discussion on some of the most common myths around

Myth: Meta tags are the most important factor in search engine rankings.

Fact: Many search engines (most notably Google) ignore meta tags completely due to

constant abuse by webmasters. The only importance placed on meta tags these days is

actually the meta description tag, which will appear as the description for the

corresponding page on engines that use inktomi data (such as MSN). Meta tags are

virtually irrelevant in the ranking algorithms of the top engines- but many people

continue to believe that they are the only optimization strategy that they need.

Myth: It's impossible to do search engine optimization in-house.

Fact: It often is done in house, and done effectively. This is typically when a large

corporation hires in-house talent that is largely devoted exclusively to promoting the

website. However, it is unrealistic to expect someone with many other job functions to do

a credible job of SEO. Much of the skills are acquired through experience- and it isn't

usually desirable to have someone "experimenting" with the company website (especially

considering that certain techniques can get sites penalized on engines or banned outright).

SEO isn't rocket science, but it also isn't something that can be learned overnight. When

deciding whether to outsource SEO or do it in house, it is important to consider the actual

costs involved. Often, when the necessary hours it takes to pay someone to learn on the

job are taken into account, it is cheaper to outsource (and the results are almost always

better). Only a careful evaluation of your goals and resources can determine the best

course of action for your company.

Myth: Sites must be constantly resubmitted to retain rankings.

Fact: This is a scare tactic popularized by various submission services and software

companies. In fact, it is a waste of money to pay to have your site resubmitted once it is

already listed in an engine's database. It will not hurt your rankings to constantly submit

(or else people would submit their competitor's sites to get them penalized), but it will not

help, either.

Myth: Search engine optimization is not as effective as "traditional" marketing.

Fact: In many ways, it is more effective. Companies often spend countless dollars on

direct mail, television and radio advertising, and bulk email without a second thought.

The common thread with each of these strategies is that the prospect is "approached" by

the company, and that the company must reach a great number of people to find a few

motivated prospects. On the other hand, search engines can deliver highly motivated

prospects directly to your website- people who have already demonstrated, through their

use of particular key phrases, an interest in your products or services.