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Dispelling Common Search Engine Optimization Myths

Note: This is an excerpt from Appendix A of The Guide to Obtaining a #1 Ranking in the Search Engines.

Common Myth #1: Getting Listed = Success

You may have heard that being listed in the search engines is a very effective way of attracting visitors to your website. Well, this is only half-true. Simply being listed is not going to do a thing for you. Instead, your goal must be to be listed in the top few listings on a number of specific and related keywords that you target.

Simply having your site listed by the search engines will do you no good if your site shows up three hundredth or three thousandth in the results of the popular keywords you wish to target.

This is not to say, however, that submitting your site to be spidered by the search engine crawlers is pointless if you do not have hours and hours to invest in obtaining top rankings. Nearly every site with some content will, even if just by chance, show up in the top listing of one or more obscure searches, perhaps providing you with a few dozen or a few hundred visitors per month. So, if nothing else, I would surely suggest spending about ten minutes submitting your website to the search engines. However, do not think that just because you’ve submitted you will have a chance to show up in the top rankings for th e most pertinent keywords.

Common Myth #2: Proper Meta-tags are the Holy Grail

Many people believe that meta-tags are the most important variable in obtaining top placement in the search engines. There could not be a more inaccurate statement. Meta tags were once quite important in ranking algorithms. However, even then criteria such as body copy and number of incoming links were much more important.

Further, recently support for meta tags was dropped by a number of search engine spiders. In fact, the only major search provider that presently even takes meta tags into consideration is Inktomi, which is the provider for some of the listings on the MSN search portal. Until this support is dropped, it will still be a good idea to have meta tags within your <head> tag. However, do not think that just by having meta tags on your page you will be guaranteed to obtain a top ranking for your targeted keywords.

Common Myth #3: You Must Submit Your Site to the Search Engines to Become Listed

Many people believe that their site will never be listed unless they submit their site to the search engines. This is simply false.

You see, search engines compile their data using software called spiders (also known as crawlers). Every minute of every day, these spiders are visiting websites and using their respective ranking algorithms to build the massive databases that the search engines use to rank each website for each keyword.

Besides following the submitted list of sites to spider, the spiders follow the links on each website it visits. Therefore it is possible for a spider to find and index (the act of listing your site in its database so it will show up in search results) your website without ever submitting to the search engines (putting your website in line to be spidered) assuming there are other sites linking to yours.

This is not to say it is a bad idea to submit to the search engines. For newer sites, this will ensure that your site is listed. My point is simply that you should not be fooled into paying someone to submit your site to the search engines before you have had a chance to ensure it is ready to be submitted.

Common Myth #4: You Must Pay a Submission Service to Submit Your Site to Search Engines

There are many companies that offer a website submission service. There is absolutely no reason to pay anything to use a service such as this. First of all, you can do this yourself for free. Second of all, using these services too early will do more harm than good.

I thank you for reading this article and I encourage you to read my other articles here on search engine marketing, “Making Your Site Search Engine Friendly” and “The Importance of Search Engine Marketing.” More information on Obtaining a #1 Ranking in the Search Engines can be found here.

To learn more about Search Engine Optimization and obtaining top rankings for your targeted keywords, you can purchase the fifty-five page guide, Obtaining a #1 Ranking in the Search Engines, by Virante, Inc. CEO Ryan Allis [ more information ].

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This Web Marketing article was written by Ryan P Allis on 2/14/2005

Ryan P. Allis, 20, is the author of Zero to One Million, a guide to building a company to $1 million in sales, and the founder of Ryan is also the CEO of Broadwick Corp., a provider of the permission-based email marketing software and CEO of Virante, Inc., a web marketing and search engine optimization firm. Ryan is an economics major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is a Blanchard Scholar. [learn more.