Search engine myths and misconceptions


There are many misconceptions about how search engines actually work and how they operate; this can create confusion about what is required to perform effectively.

Search engine submission

In the 1990's website owners would tag their sites with keyword information and submit them to search engines, these websites would then be crawled and indexed. This however, didn't scale very well and websites started to just submit spam with more key words and bad content. Now search engine submission is no longer required because it is virtually useless. If you are offered search engine submission services by a search engine optimiser don’t accept because you won’t earn enough link juice to be competitively ranked, it is best it earn links from other sites.

Meta Tags

Once upon a time Meta tags were filled with keywords and this was an important part of SEO. The keywords that you included would help you rank your site for those keywords and your page would appear when someone searched for those words. This process was again spammed to death and was eventually dropped by search engines. Although having title and Meta tags is important for SEO they are no longer the central focus of SEO.

Keyword stuffing

You can tell when a website looks spammy. It will consist of the same keywords thrown in together over and over again making the content ridiculous to read. An example of this would be, Jack's best cheap Maidenhead builder is the best cheap Maidenhead builder who will fit all your needs. Contact the best cheap Maidenhead builder now. Despite keyword stuffing being disapproved many SEO tools still feed off the concept that keyword density is important. It isn't. Let’s get that clear. Use keywords intelligently by doing this you can gain links from other sites as they know your site isn't there as spam.

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Paid search helps bolster organic results

Paid search helps bolster organic results should remain a myth. Research has been conducted and no evidence has been found that pay per click positively affects organic search results, companies that spend thousands of pounds and dollars a month have said they can get special access of consideration from the search quality or web spam teams.

Search engine spam

There will always be spam in search engines, websites will always try and cheat the system so that they are ranked higher. Manipulating search engines is becoming more difficult and it’s becoming less worthwhile as well. There are two reasons for this:
• Not worth the effort: Search engines like Google spend a lot of their time throwing away spam websites. Yes spam works occasionally but it takes a lot of effort. You are better off spending this time investing in a long term strategy that is guaranteed to work every time. 
• Smarter engines: Search engines are now way better at fighting spam, the Google Panda update created new algorithms to help fight spam.

Page level spam analysis

Search engines perform spam analysis on individual pages and websites, one form of spam they always pick up is keyword stuffing. This form of spam is the most obvious and is easily picked up by search engines.

Manipulative linking

Another popular form of web spam is manipulative link acquisition. It is very hard for search engines to overcome manipulative link acquisition because it can come in so many different forms:
• Reciprocal link exchange programs: Links that go back and forth and inflate link popularity.
• Link schemes: Link farms and link networks where fake and low value websites are built and maintained purely as link sources to inflate popularity.
• Paid links: Purchasing links from websites to obtain a higher ranking.
• Low quality directory links: Pay for placement web directories exist to serve the market and help rank websites higher. Google takes action against these sites by removing their page rank score.

Cloaking

You must show the same content to crawlers as you do to human visitors, you should not hide text from normal visitors. If this rule is broken it is called cloaking and search engines will take action to prevent these pages from ranking. Cloaking can have a positive and negative affect and search engines sometimes let it pass if it brings users a positive experience.

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Low value pages

Low value pages are not technically considered spam but they are low value pages for a reason. For example their content will be thin, duplicated and not relevant to what users are searching. Google’s Panda update in 2011 took aggressive steps to reduce low quality content websites.

Domain level spam analysis

• Linking practices: Search engines can monitor the kinds of links and quality of referrals sent to websites, sites that engage in manipulative activities will be penalised through seeing their search traffic suffer or even have their sites band from the index. 
• Trustworthiness: It’s important to be trusted by search engines, trust is gained through having quality and not duplicated content and legitimate links.

How do you know if you have been bad?

It can be hard to know if your site has been penalised. You could just change something on your site that then negatively de-ranks you. Check the following to see if you have been penalised:
• Errors: Errors on your site may have prevented crawling.
• Changes: Changes to your page may have changed the way search engines view your site.
• Similarity: check similar sites to yours to see if they have lost rankings.
• Duplicate content: Make sure you don’t have duplicate content to another website.

Getting penalties lifted

Getting penalties lifted is very hard and can take a very long time, it can take weeks or even months for them to be lifted and Google can turn around and just say no to you and do nothing. If you run a powerful brand reclusion can happen quicker by going to source conferences or events.

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Jamie Harding

Jamie Harding

Jamie Harding 19. Working in Wokingham for Netmatter as a Digital Marketing Apprentice. He is currently gaining experience and knowledge in SEO, Google Adwords and Analytics, copy writing and design.

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