Popular Search Engine Optimization Misconceptions
There is nothing more frustrating for a web designer or a website owner than spending an excessive amount of time ‘tweaking’ his website to optimize its page ranking – and then realizing that search engines are bypassing it, for reasons unknown. The problem is that many people are operating off flawed misconceptions about search engine optimization (SEO) techniques – rather than ‘optimizing’ their web pages, they may actually be harming it. If you believe that you are in this situation, take a deep breath and calmly review your techniques and approaches – and consider whether you have fallen into any of the following SEO fallacies and myths. --- ‘Invisible’ Text and Meta-Tags --- As a standard practice, web masters include their site’s key words or phrases in their meta tags, – and stop there, believing that this is all that needs to be done. It isn’t. If you wish to increase your pages’ relevance to search engine queries, the keywords must be incorporated into your site’s contents as well.
Admittedly, search engines can see these hidden words and codes – and do factor these in when ranking your page. Bear in mind, however, that search engines consider keywords within page contents to be more important than meta tags. As a compromise, many web administrators and designers use ‘invisible’ keywords – using text colors similar to the page background, which make them undetectable to human eyes but readable by search engines – thus increasing keyword relevance. What administrators and designers don’t realize is that these keywords, if visible, could be used as anchor texts, or as links to other pages on the site which would increase overall site relevance. Worse, invisible text is considered a borderline SEO technique – some search engines may view this as ‘bad hat’ SEO and actually ban your site from their search results! --- Offsite Page Design Techniques --- Many web administrators are overly-focused on web design to the exclusion of other SEO techniques that would have boosted search engine relevance.
It is true that websites should have keywords integrated into their page contents so as to increase the page’s relevance to a search engine looking for that specific keyword. However, webmasters should not limit themselves to page contents. Using relevant keywords in page titles and headers help improve search relevance, and increase the page’s rankings. Having highly relevant and informative content complete with keyword-intensive titles, headers and pages is not the end of it all. Search engines are now giving more weight to link popularity and relevance. In other words, it is not enough for a webmaster or designer to provide appropriate content and high keyword counts – he should start working towards increasing his site’s inbound links, especially from well-known or popular websites that have relevant content. --- SEO Return on Investment --- The biggest problem of many web administrators is impatience, especially when it comes to their estimates on when their hard work will pay off in terms of improved page ranking. In a way, this is the major misconception accompanying search engine optimization strategies: that implementing these techniques will result in a quick and easy return. The truth is that SEO measures do not give immediate results; oftentimes, they’ll take weeks or even months before an improvement in page rankings can be appreciated. The bottom line, however, is that page rankings will improve once appropriate and properly implemented SEO measures are implemented.
The lesson to be learned here, perhaps, is that search engine optimization is not a single undertaking that, put into practice, is finished. Effective SEO implies a constant, continuing process aimed at striving for improvements in design, performance, and technique even as you wait for previous efforts to bear fruit.