Since the advent of the internet and search engines, people have come up with various myths about how search engines operate. With so many myths floating around about SEO, people have just started wondering how to go about it effectively. Here, Jack Miller, the Senior Customer Success Manager of Semalt, presents and explains top myths and misconceptions about search engines:
Search engine submission
During the late 1990s, search engines used to feature submission forms that were part of the optimization process. Back then, site owners and webmasters used to tag their pages and sites with keyword information and submit them to search engines. A bot would crawl the content and list the resources in the index.
Unfortunately, the process had too many loopholes, and the submitted content often had little value to human readers. Eventually, the process changed to purely crawl-based engines. Since then, search engine submission has long been discarded. Instead, search engines claim that they replaced submitted URLs with the concept of earning links from other sites. This approach is meant to expose the content to the engines naturally.
Though there are still submission forms available, these are just remnants of the 90s and are no longer useful for modern SEO. So, next time you hear an SEO agency offering search engine submission forms, just know that it’s a waste of time and you are unlikely to get any substantial value from such services.
There was a time when Meta tags were a critical aspect of SEO. During this period, you just needed to include keywords to rank for and wait for users to type in those words. Once users typed a query using the specific words as keywords, your page would come up in the results. Unfortunately, just like the search engine submission process, the Meta tags technique was spammed, and search engines had to drop it as a ranking signal.
One of the most popular myths about search engine optimization revolves around the practice of keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing is the practice of using specific keywords repetitively on a page to make it look more relevant to search engines
People who believe in keyword stuffing do it in the hope that search engines still use keyword density for ranking calculations and relevancy. Unfortunately, this is no longer true because search engines algorithms have become highly efficient in identifying pages with stuffed keywords. Instead of trying to cheat the system, you are better off earning one credible link from a site that does not perceive you as a spammer.
Paid advertising to increase organic results
This is one of the most common myths in the SEO world. Most webmasters are often misled into spending on search engine ads or pay per click (PPC) schemes to improve their rankings. What they never know is that all major search engines have put up walls to prevent PPC from increasing organic results.
Search engine scamming
The practice of trying to game the system by spamming search engines (creating schemes and pages to increase rankings) has been around since the 1990s. Here the stakes are usually very high as ranking for just a day on Google’s search results for a specific keyword can bring in thousands of dollars in revenue. Unfortunately, most webmasters who do it soon realize that it is not worth for two reasons:
Users and search engines dislike spam. Readers hate spam with a passion while search engines have a financial incentive to fight it. This might explain why Google has become highly popular compared to other search engines due to the ability to fight and get rid of spam better than its competitors. Though spam works in the short-term, its long-term effects on your site are not worth the effort.
Search engines have become smart at identifying spam over the years. Search engines have become highly efficient at picking out manipulative content. This has made it harder for people trying to manipulate their ranking from misleading search engines. Google’s recent Panda update introduced sophisticated algorithms to fight low-value content and spa.
Manipulative link building
Manipulative link building is another popular technique of trying to cheat the system. The technique involves trying to exploit the search engine’s use of link popularity in their ranking to improve visibility illegally. Part of the reason why it is still popular is that it is difficult for search engines to identify unethical link building as it comes in many forms such as link schemes, low-quality directory links and reciprocal link exchange programs.
Search engine guidelines stipulate that you need to show same content to the crawler as you would display to a human reader. This includes not concealing text in the HTML code of your site that human visitors cannot see. When a webmaster or site owner breaks this principle, they are said to be engaging in cloaking. As a result, search engines prevent the pages from ranking in organic results.
This is not technically considered as spamming. However, search engines can use certain techniques to determine if your page has unique and valuable content to users. Pages that are commonly filtered out include copied content, thin affiliate content, and pages that have little value to users.
Now that the most common myths about SEO have been explained, how do you know if you have fallen out with search engines, especially Google for engaging in unethical practices? Most of the time, it can be hard to know if search engines have penalized you. However, you can use several methods to find out whether you have been blacklisted or your site is experiencing other problems that have affected your traffic.
First, you need to find out if your site has errors that hinder search engines from crawling your content. To know if you have such errors, consider using Google’s Search Console. Also, you can check your site for changes to pages which may have modified how search engines see your content or find out if your site has duplicate content.
Once you have identified the source of your troubles, you can consider asking search engines to lift your penalty. Though getting penalties lifted is a painful and slow process that rarely has guarantees, it is important to give it your best. However, keep in mind that inclusion in search engine results is a privilege, not a right. Here, you are better to use appropriate SEO methods than engaging in unethical practices and paying the ultimate price for it.