The internet may be called the "Information Superhighway" but that doesn't always mean the information is correct!
This is especially true when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. Sometimes, the information may have been valid in the past but is no longer valid and sometimes it was never valid to begin with.
Here are ten SEO myths and their corresponding "truths" -
1. It's impossible to outrank a web page with a Google PageRank higher than your own.
While Google's PageRank indicator may play a minor role in determining search engine placement, it's not a critical factor.
If you conduct a few searches on Google you will find this to be true. It shouldn't take more than a few minutes to find a page, with a lower Google PR, outranking a page with a higher one.
2. Having an XML Sitemap will boost your rankings in the SERPs.
It can be beneficial to create an XML Sitemap but don't expect to see any rank improvements. The sitemap can be useful to the search engines and will help them crawl your site more efficiently when you have content that is not linked directly via menu options, but it won't help you "leap frog" your competitors.
3. Including "meta keywords" will improve your SEO.
Most search engines disregard the "meta keyword" information altogether. While it can't hurt to include a handful of relevant terms, it's not time well spent.
4. It's imperative to update your homepage frequently.
If changing your homepage content is good for your visitors and business model, then go ahead, otherwise, just leave it as is.
That's not to say that your entire site should be stagnant but that there's no evidence to conclude the necessity to update your homepage's content on a regular basis.
5. Trading links with other webmasters is just as good as building quality "one way" links.
Trading links (aka Reciprocal linking) was something that worked a long time ago but it is no longer considered effective for improving one's rankings.
The only time that the trading of links makes any sense, is when both sites may benefit from the traffic that may come from the partner's site.
6. SEO is a "set and forget" activity.
Most webmasters (and business owners) wished this were true but it's simply not the case. Effective Search Engine Optimization is an ongoing activity and if you're not going forward, you'll find your rankings slip over time.
This is especially true as it pertains to link building. The search engines monitor your inbound links and if they find they find they are dwindling over time, they assume your page is losing its relevance.
7. Using Heading Tags is crucial to your SEO.
The use of Heading Tags (i.e. H1, H2, etc.) is useful to define your site's content but don't expect them to make marked improvements in your rankings.
8. Hiding a bunch of links on your pages is a good idea.
Google, and the other search engines, are incredibly smart and can spot the occurrence of "spammy links" quite easily.
Whether you're using a teeny-tiny font size to display them, coloring them the same as your page background or using CSS to move them so far off the page they can't be seen by visitors... the search engines know!
This practice is foolish and no good will come from it!
9. There is an optimum keyword density for your on-page content.
This may have been true in the past but it's no longer relevant. It's wise to ensure that your targeted keyword phrases appear somewhere on your page but don't bother calculating the density percentages.
It's much better to write content that will be found valuable by the humans reading your content than to concentrate writing for the robots.
10. Paying a firm to "register" your site with "hundreds of search engines" is a wise investment.
This type of offer may sound appealing, but it will do little, if anything, to improve your search engine rankings or generate meaningful website traffic.
As knowledge is power, this information will help you waste less time and money on outdated SEO tactics or those that never worked in the first place.