Myths. They are everywhere. No where are they more prevalent than in the mystical land of SEO! Some SEO experts seem to encourage an air of mysticism about them and what they do, much the same as the masters of other mystical arts throughout history have used to carve their domains from the lack of knowledge of others. The information that I gleaned from reading hundreds of articles on the subject was so confusing and often contradictory that I eventually gave up. When I did this, and just put the information that I wanted to get out into a logical, people friendly format, I found that I had page rank, and traffic! I am developing a mantra, which goes like this: “Build your site for people, and the search engines, will reward you". I have taken the liberty of listing some of these myths below.
1. I keep seeing this one come up. “Don't put any words on the page ‘under the fold'". This seems to indicate that people are incapable of scrolling down the page. What I think is really behind this is that, people will not scroll down the page if the information that they have read so far is not useful to them. According to the word counter on this editor, I have written over 100 words up to this stage, which by the standard set up by most SEO pundits, is more than enough for a page! What I have found is that people will continue to read as long as what I am saying interests them and has bearing on what they are seeking to know.
2. Google penalties for. . . You name it! “Google penalized my site for. . . " This one usually has to do with duplicate content. I have found that Google does not punish me for repeating the content on more than one site, the secondary site may not get as much page rank, or popularity, but if it is needed in that location, say, I put the information on “non native plant species" on my business site for my customers, and also on a purely informational site, somehow the big G seems to understand the need for the information to be spread around, and doesn't seem to discount it's value in either place. Now, if you have five pages with the same article on the same site, four of those pages will probably end up in the supplementals or not indexed at all. Can anyone say “DUH"? I have yet to see a “penalty" for anything other than what appears to be, blatant misuse. Having pages listed in supplemental results is not a penalty, just a place to list pages of less importance to the user, usually because they are amazingly similar to other pages.
3. Almost everything ever written about “links". According to popular opinion, you can not attain to the “Kingdom of Page Rank" with out crossing the “Mote of A Thousand Links". To this I say: “Dragon Dung!" Certainly, links help, but the only links that help, are relevant links. Thousands of irrelevant links do not impress search engines. A highly relevant outgoing link will probably do more good. Linking internally is a real help, because, (and this is the real key to the kingdom, ) it helps the “User" to navigate the castle. This should teach us something. The key to the kingdom of SEO is user usability! The good outgoing link is a link to help the site user. The internal links are to assist the site user, the incoming links mean that someone else thinks that their users can gain helpful information from the site. This is why buying and selling links for page rank is such an atrocity to Google, and should be considered so by all. It manipulates the search results and sends people down the wrong path. At the end of the day in SEO land, it is the user who should be King!
James Burns is a licensed pest control professional, has been a Certified Professional Turfgrass Manager for more than 16 years, has a lifetime of experience in horticulture and agriculture, and is the owner of Rational Environmental Solutions, an IPM based pest control company in East Texas. He also has many helpful gardening tips at http://www.texpest.com