There is a lot of misinformation about SEO that gets passed around the web. Much of it has to do with SEO methods that have been obsolete for quite a while. Some of it is purely speculative and passed off as fact. Here are some of the major points of misinformation that should be ignored.
Adjusting Meta Tags Will Improve Rankings
This refers to the description and keywords meta tags. The last major search engine known to use meta tags for ranking purposes was Alta Vista. (Who?) In the mid-1990s, Alta Vista was the largest search engine on the planet–at least until Google came along around 1998 and began to analyze web page content. MSN and Yahoo quickly began to follow Google’s lead. Prior to that, webmasters told search engines which keywords represented a page with the keywords meta tag. The abuse and deception was so widespread that all other major search engines stopped using meta tags by the end of the century. Alta Vista may have still used them to some degree as the search engine went into steep decline and was eventually purchased by Overture and then Yahoo in 2003. Yahoo let the company fade into oblivion. It is safe to say that meta tags have not affected major search engine rankings since the 1990s. Adjusting meta tags will not affect your rankings today.
But Google Recommends the Use of the Description Meta Tag
Google recently asked that web site owners start using the description meta tag to give the site owners some control over the snippet, which is the description for a web page that displays on search results pages. The basic rule is that each description meta tag should be unique. While this does give web site owners some control over the content of the snippet, there is no evidence that it affects rankings and Google says that it will not affect rankings. In my opinion it is a good idea to use the description meta tag because the content that displays in the snippet can influence whether or not a user clicks on your link or another on a search results page.
The Need to Submit Web Pages to Search Engines
There hasn’t been any reason to submit any web site or web pages to search engines for many years. That goes back to the days when spiders had difficulties locating new web sites. Today the story is very different because spiders are very efficient. Just set up a couple of backlinks to the new site and the site will get spidered within a few days or weeks. I have seen situations where a site was getting spidered while I was installing the site, which leads me to think that the major search engines have ways of detecting DNS nameserver changes. Don’t waste your time with search engine submission services. Excessive submissions are considered to be spam and may negatively affect your web site.
You Do Not Need Content In Order To Rank Well
Without content there is nothing for a search engine to analyze in order to determine which keyword themes to use to rank a web site. Spiders cannot read text in images and they cannot read words or text in most videos. While it is true that this can be circumvented to a degree through the use of backlinks that reinforce a certain keyword theme through the hyperlink text, content is still king. A site’s content must be unique and focused on the keyword themes that will drive targeted traffic to your web site.
Every Link Is a Good Link
Four or five years ago this may have been true, but since then Google has gone on a vendetta to identify and nullify or penalize low quality links. The quality of a link is an important factor today, especially with Google. Google routinely discounts the value of poor quality links such as obviously paid links, low quality directory links, footer links, links from unrelated sites and many more. The best links to obtain are one-way natural links from web sites that are related to your industry.
Google PageRank Has a Strong Influence on Rankings
PageRank is a Google inheritance metric that measures the cumulative value of PageRank values for web pages that link to a web page. Prior to about 2006, PageRank was a major factor in determining rank positions. The value of PageRank has since been discounted heavily and Google now refers to it as “just one factor out of about 200” that they use for determine rank positions. This was another factor that was easy to manipulate and today plays only a minor role. No SEO professional focuses on PageRank these days.
There are many more myths that pop up due to the nature of SEO. It is easy for inexperienced SEO companies to come to the wrong conclusions because most successful SEO methods are the result of long-term empirical testing. Without that experience, it is easy to misinterpret how search engine spiders and ranking algorithms work.