7 SEO Truths from 7 Common long held Misconceptions
By John Alexander
In order to separate the SEO truths from
traditional misconceptions or errors, you always must first examine the truth.
For example, if an
expert is trying to determine a counterfeit $100 dollar bill
from a real $100 bill, he only gains insight by
examining the real bill first. You could examine many
different counterfeit bills for a long time and never gain
any ground at all. But once you know and understand the real
government issued bill, then you can spot the false things
much more quickly.
A Word about Hats: White, Grey or Black
First let me say that most SEOs are not all bad people.
They are not all schemers who are just out to get your money.
Like anything else, there are people who are good and bad in
every area of life. When it comes to practicing SEO skills,
there are many people doing many different things, but it
all comes down to the intent of the individual person.
People pegged for being "black hats" usually think
quite a little bit differently than the SEO professional.
The Black hat is more prepared to lose the domain and knows
that they are always on the run and they often view the
search engines as the enemy. Search engines MUST be
"outsmarted" or so they are convinced. Some tend
to enter more like a game with throwaway domain names that
they'll purchase in quantity knowing that they'll have to do
the same types of things over and over again each time they
White hat SEO professionals are more focused on creating
high quality, useful content that serves a purpose and
satisfies the reason why the user searched. They are not on
the run, because they have nothing to fear being caught at.
They tend to do the job once for long term stable rankings
that can last for years.
technique tends to relate to "tricks" and little
"short cuts" to try and fool the search engine.
Okay so this fits in part, with the first misconception or idea that
was first pitched years ago. However, this first misconception is a major misconception.
Here it is...
Misconception 1. You
are at war with the search engines to gain top rankings.
Therefore you must learn to do sneaky tricks to outsmart
their algorithm. Therefore you must learn ways to beat the
search engine to gain top visibility in search results. Have
you heard this story before?
whole concept (probably dreamt up by a marketer years ago sometime)
it cleverly appeals to a human beings somewhat
carnal side of being "sneaky" or being able to beat
the search engines at their own game by using
"secrets" and "tricks." Even though the
pitch may appeal to some people, the only trouble is that the
concept is 100% FALSE from beginning to end. Some of you may
be disappointed to hear this because for years, you thought
you were at war with the search engines. Think a little bit
more and let's separate marketing pitches from the real
Truth 1: The truth is that you have never been
at "war with the search engines." You are not required
to "outsmart" or fool" the search engines at
all to gain top visibility for your Web pages.
now. The only one you are truly competing with for visibility is
your competitors, NOT the search engines. The whole idea that you must "beat" the search
engines or "outsmart" the search engines is a
completely false concept.
You never need to compete with any search engine.
You never need to trick it or even try to "fool
it" in order to get excellent visibility. A search engine does not really care whether you rank number
1 or not. They are fine with it, so long as you are offering
relevant content that is useful and satisfies the reason why
the user searched. Obviously any search engine does not
want junk showing up in the results.
The only competition you have now or you have ever had, or will
ever have in the future is with
other competitors pages, not the search engines.
Being "sneaky" may appeal to some emotionally in a
pitch. It may make you even feel like the service or the
course or publication will ultimately "make you
smarter" somehow. But people need to learn to distinguish truth from error and
you'll be blowing far less money on e-books, tool sets and
memberships that appeal to the emotion but are founded on
Many marketers come across with this anger or emotion in
their messages using
words that are planted to trigger your emotions.
You can be sneaky...
I am angry because...
I am so embarrassed by what happened...
You are going to learn a secret...
I am going to show you something exciting!
Don't let your emotions
Learn to recognize a marketing mailer that is
attempting to exploit your emotions. Recognize these types
of messages. Separate them out from communications that
offer advice based on
truths. I'll do an article on this in the future.
Misconception 2: You must submit your Web site
to the Search Engines, therefore you need to buy our
services and we will submit your site to 30,000 search
engines for only $29.95 per month. The misconception here is
that a submission to a search engine is beneficial.
Truth 2: You are far better employing strategies
that allow search engine robots to find your pages on their
own (without submitting.) Any company that bases their whole
concept of traffic or SEO on submitting does not understand
how search engines work themselves. If you are using this
type of service, save your money. There is no valid reason
to be using a submission service for search engines. It is
still being offered today widespread because there are
always new people coming online to be exploited.
Misconception 3: If a Web site has been banned, the
person must be an evil or unethical person.
Truth 3: Search Engine
Workshops reject anything related to Spam or short
cuts or tricks that are outside of the search engines guidelines,
but we do not believe people are "always evil." Many people that get banned or penalized by the search
engines, are not even aware of SEO best practices. The
only thing they turn out to be guilty of in the end, is of
never having had any real structured SEO skills training.
other words they were listening to some bad advice or
perhaps were not even aware that each search engine has
guidelines. In some cases it's their
Webmaster that may have gotten their site banned. Every
situation is different but ultimately it's far better
to gain your skills sooner than later. It is not always
about good and evil but there most definitely is always a
story behind the story and it boil down to user
Misconception 4: SEO is a nightmare to try and
It is extremely important to measure each SEO influence and
get each factor exactly right. Therefore you need to
research how many characters go in a title tag, keyword
density, keyword prominence, keyword placement, how many
keywords can go in a Meta tag plus all of the other factors
for each individual search engine. This concept is what
people seem to talk about because it's what some people are
selling, but it is also completely false.
Truth 4: Sure you can spend your days measuring
these types of things, but chances are you will be burning
out after a while and getting very few success stories. This
is because there are for more important things to understand
that have an extraordinary impact in the results. SEO
influences all affect one another, plus each search engine
grades on a curve based on each specific industry.
researcher that tells you he is giving you the latest
criteria based on these old fashion units of measurement
will not make much impact. These days you are looking for
the big picture, not individual influences one at a time.
have seen cases where people spend hours working on one
page, when they could have dozens of pages performing for
them in minimal time with much less stress. Yes I mean all
100% white hat strategies too, because these are all that we
teach our students.
Misconception 5: You need to spend hours tweaking
your source code each month to keep those top ranking
positions. Therefore you cannot possibly manage your own in
house search marketing. False again.
Truth 5: There are advantages to having your SEO
handled by a professional firm that has been structurally
trained. But don't buy it if someone says they must
continually "tweak your code" to keep you in top
place. It is just not true. Yes, you may want them creating
fresh new content. Yes, you'll want continued practices if
you're Blogging maybe for example. But if a page is
ranking in top spot, leave it alone. If you do look at
making changes, make sure you are grabbing a look at the
entire search landscape for your industry.
Misconception 6: SEO is Dead. This myth makes a
great attention grabbing article headline although in my
opinion it has been a little bit over-used and rather
gimmicky. If you've read it, it is completely false.
Truth 6: SEO is merely more competitive these days
but SEO is far from being dead. SEO is alive and well!
It may feel like it is dead if you are relying on old second
hand advice or listening to some marketers who are pushing
their next big thing. Most Webmasters have access to all of
the same old common tools that everyone else has, so there
feels like there is less advantage than a few years
Misconception 7: There
is only one correct solution to solve a specific SEO
challenge. If it is not my way, it is the wrong way.
Needless to say this is also false.
Truth 7: For any
specific SEO challenge there are often multiple solutions to
choose from. In many cases there are alternative strategies
that are all white hat and yet very solid solutions. Don't
let anyone tell you that there is only one way. Every Web
site is different with different challenges and you need to
be equipped with the full range of solutions.
To gain a real significant advantage, the answer rests with
building your genuine SEO skills and less reliance on tools.
Since we are talking about misconceptions in this article,
let's take it a step further and discuss a few old and
"confidence schemes" to be aware of as well.
Confidence schemes are not exactly misconceptions but you
need to be aware of at least a few of the newest ones.
A Con Man or "Confidence man" is (a swindler who
exploits the confidence of his victim)
according to this
A few other names for Confidence men include bunco, scam
artist, fleecer, swindler, shark, rainmaker, hustler.
Have SEO topics been used for
scam purposes in the past?
Unfortunately, SEO has been used as a buzz word by the many modern types of
I think you'll agree that there have been plenty of cases
where people have been sold some expensive bill of services
in the name of SEO, but never really delivered on their
Genuine SEO Professionals seldom need to hype
up their offers as there often is a trail of success and
results that follow their work. In other words, it is
evident that they are good at producing fair to highly
satisfactory results without to much hoopla in their
Still, there are SEO scams being
worked. But there are ways to determine if you have found a
dependable and trusted resource. There ways to help you
distinguish those services who actually are keeping their skills up to
date and by studying truths you can quickly learn to detect
error and protect yourself.
- If you are interested in
building genuine skills or managing a team overseeing
SEOs then the surest way to
learning quickly, is with a focus on live SEO skills training
plus ongoing mentoring at a workshop
or else study
a course that focuses on teaching you the genuine
skills. It is
safe to say that you will be far less likely to
ever be taken advantage of again, once your own
knowledge is up to speed.
- That being said, there are
many who do not feel they can learn the skills. Maybe
you're looking for hiring an SEO firm instead of
managing your own projects. One of the easiest ways to
separate the trained experts who have had good
structured training from the hit and miss individuals
(or worse,) is to simply examine the evidence of their
Examine it closely so you can determine that
behind them, the results show the evidence of their skills.
- Ask them for a list of a few of their recent client's phone
- Ask them for a list of their oldest client contacts
and their Web sites.
- Dependable SEO services will never have trouble providing you
with the evidence of their success although they may
want to offer you client contacts in a different
business category than the one you are in
respect for their clients.)
- While many SEOs will offer
you typical proposals, try and watch for those who also
have alternative approaches that will serve your best
interest at reasonable cost. Optimization is only one
aspect of visibility these days. It is not just about
how many pages show up in the top rankings for specific
keywords anymore. There are a lot of additional things
that a well trained professional can bring to you that are
- If you decide to build
your SEO skills and are trying to choose which workshop to
attend, look for education that is based on time tested
methods. Some who claim to teach classes, will often
have a second or third agenda to try and sell you SEO
services. Others may focus mainly on using tools. The best
training is where you can get personalized hands-on
skills training, ongoing coaching and mentoring even after class is over.
Engine Academy educators have expert training and
offer the full workshop in multiple
- Beware of any service that
builds their whole success platform for SEO on
"search engine submissions." "Submitting to
search engines" is one thing you don't need to do and you
don't need to do certain things over and over to get
- Due diligence is the word
of the day when hiring an SEO firm or seeking SEO skills
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About John Alexander
John Alexander is Co-director of Training at Search
Engine Workshops offering live, SEO Workshops with his
partner SEO educator Robin Nobles, author of the very first
comprehensive online search engine marketing courses. John is author of an
e-book called Wordtracker
Magic and has
taught SEO skills to people from 87 different countries world
wide. John is also Director of Search
Engine Academy with localized Search Engine Academy
training centers where the Complete SEO Mastery Workshop and 6
Month Mentoring program is taught locally to business
owners and individuals in
communities across North America and
Internationally in Asia.
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