Dispelling Some SEO Myths


I have been doing website development for a number of years, mostly for a big organization where optimizing for an intranet didn't mean as much as it would for the Internet. So I've read books and bought SE CD's to bring higher rankings, and it has helped!

I have not completely read all your information, but I was wondering if you have things in your literature where you have certain guidelines, like using so many characters/words in the title, or so many characters/words in your description, or repeating keywords so many times in your main content? Everyone seems to have different ideas, but I'd like to see where someone has these kind of guidelines and results to back them up.

I also have the following questions:

* Is manually submitting each site better?
* Once submitted ...do you keep submitting ...if so how often? (So you don't get kicked out.)
* The Microsoft submit supposedly submits to hundreds of search engines and directories. Is this good or bad (the number of SE's submitted to)? I heard the more the better ...but there are some pretty cheesy search engines out there!
* What about stop words ...do you cover this?
* I heard you should leave out commas between keywords ...any truth to this?
* If you are indexed in the Open Directory (DMOZ) do you re-submit to directories?
* Are there truly reputable submission companies...and might I add ...that get results ...proven results?
* What about the Google AdWords program?
* One more thing...SEO stands for search engine optimization, correct?
* I also have a few sites that I'm just starting to build, and they are one-page sites... a separate domain for each site. These sites are linked to a main site, as a 2nd way to find the main site. No trying to mislead anyone, just trying to work off separate keywords and types of products. Are these okay?



++Jill's Response++

When I first read Pat's email and questions, I almost thought it was a joke email, because it was as if Pat had found every SEO myth ever discussed, and then asked me about them! So I wrote Pat back and basically said that he/she had obviously gotten ahold of some really old info and that he/she should erase it all from his/her memory bank and start fresh by reading my articles here: http://www.highrankings.com/articles.htm.

Pat wrote back very quickly and again asked if I would at least answer some of the questions posed. I realized that Pat really was not joking, and that if he/she had these questions from reading some bad info that is still out there somewhere, many of you may have similar ones.

So here's what I wrote back to Pat:

Dear Pat,

There are no specific guidelines for number of anything in SEO (which, yes, stands for search engine optimization). There's no number of words that is optimal in the tags, or in the copy, or in anything. Every page is unique and the right number for one page won't be the same as for another page. SEO is really more art than science, when done correctly. (See "The Art of SEO" http://www.highrankings.com/issue105.htm#seo.) Many people are looking for a magic bullet or formula that will propel their sites to the top, but there just isn't one. And even if you found one that worked today, chances are it wouldn't tomorrow.

Let me answer some of your questions and you'll see what I mean:

>>Is manually submitting each site better?<<

You don't actually need to submit your site at all to search engines -- neither manually nor in an automated fashion. They all have spiders that "crawl" the Web and find all pages that exist, as long as there is a link to them from a page they already know about.

>>Once submitted ...do you keep submitting ...if so how often? (So you don't get kicked out.) <<


>>The Microsoft submit supposedly submits to hundreds of search engines and directories.<<

It's a waste of time and bandwidth.

>>Is this good or bad (the number of SE's submitted to)?<<

It's neither, just useless.

>>I heard the more the better ...but there are some pretty cheesy search engines out there!<<

"The more the better" is incorrect. There are only 4 major search databases that matter: Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Ask Jeeves. Their databases power all of the other engines that make a difference.

>>What about stop words ...do you cover this?<<

There's no such thing as stop words. You need to use all the words it makes sense for you to use regardless of whether someone somewhere has classified it as a "stop word."

>>I heard you should leave out commas between keywords ...any truth to this?<<

It makes no difference. The Meta keyword tag won't actually help your site rank highly for the keywords that are important to it, and commas don't matter as they're treated as a space anyway. Yahoo does know about the words and phrases you put in this tag, and they recommend using commas to separate your phrases. I've always used commas as well, but again, it's not going to matter for the keyword phrases that matter the most anyway, so don't worry about it.

>>If you are indexed in the Open Directory (DMOZ) do you re-submit to directories?<<

You can submit to directories one time (not search engines, but directories). If you're already listed in DMOZ, there's no need to resubmit to them, but there's nothing wrong with submitting to other directories that are unrelated to DMOZ.

>>Are there truly reputable submission companies ...and might I add ...that get results ...proven results?<<

No there are not, because submitting is unnecessary and useless, so submission companies are useless as well. Please note that I'm not talking about paid-inclusion companies here. They are a different breed than submission companies. For some sites, paid-inclusion companies may be useful. Submission companies -- no. Paid-inclusion companies -- maybe, depending on your needs.

>>What about the Google AdWords program?<<

Google Adwords is a great program if you know how to use it correctly so that every dollar you put in pays off. (See today's interview with Kevin Lee for more info on PPC landing pages.)

>>I also have a few sites that I'm just starting to build, and they are one-page sites.<<

One-page sites will have a very hard time doing well in the search engines because it's doubtful they will provide enough useful information to users, and thus search engines will be unlikely to take much notice. That said, they could do okay if enough other sites find them worthwhile and link to them, but that will rarely happen.

It sounds like your one-page sites are simply "doorway domains," which are definitely not a good idea.

Hope this helps clear up a few things for you. Now seriously, please go read my articles and clear your mind of all the SEO myths that you've picked up!

Good luck!


Jill Whalen of High Rankings is an internationally recognized search engine optimization consultant and host of the free weekly High Rankings Advisor search engine marketing newsletter. She specializes in search engine optimization, SEO consultations and seminars. Jill's handbook, "The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines" teaches business owners how and where to place relevant keyword phrases on their Web sites so that they make sense to users and gain high rankings in the major search engines.

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