Ever since search engines have been created, people have misconceptions about how they work. It’s easy to understand why because to the casual user, the process seems so mysterious. And once you have a website, you’re given a glimpse of the complicated processes of how search engines deliver the information you need at the click of a mouse.
A lot of these misconceptions did come out in the early days of search engine optimization (SEO). Back then, the goal was to use every trick in the book to make sure a website stays #1 in the search engine results for all keywords. Back then, search engines were simpler and it was easy to game the system.
But as years passed, search engines and their algorithms have become more complicated and sophisticated. They’ve become better at anticipating what a user really wants and giving them what they’re looking for. The SEO tricks used back then no longer worked but some of the ideas behind them still persist. These ideas have become commonly held myths and misconceptions.
These myths and misconceptions are pretty harmless UNLESS you’re a business owner with a website. Believing them can influence you to make bad decisions, which can affect the performance of your website on search engines.
Spam on Search Engines
Nobody likes spam. Unfortunately spamming is still a common practice among websites. Some use it to give their sites a temporary boost in search engine results while some do it to intentionally sabotage the search engine rankings of their competition.
The most common example of keyword spamming is the keyword stuffing. The myth that density is the key to being visible online continues to persist until now. Even after search engine algorithms have calibrated for keyword density and have started penalizing websites for overuse of keywords, some websites continue to practice this.
Another spamming technique still being employed is cloaking. Cloaking happens when your content doesn’t coincide with the search of the engine’s crawlers and in part hides the HTML code to an online user. It’s a very deceptive way of achieving ranking for keywords that are not within your scope or niche.
Link manipulation is another form of spamming still being used today. By buying out multiple URLs, getting low quality links from link directories, or using combating link schemes, these techniques were used to get websites ranked quickly and with little effort.
Current search engine algorithms are now better at identifying these techniques. Websites that are caught spamming are often penalized heavily, some to the point of being blocked from the search engines altogether. So as tempting as it is to use these techniques to give your website a shot in the arm, it’s best to work with your SEO specialist to make sure that you only use legitimate or “white hat” SEO techniques.
Search Engine Rules To Live By
As complicated and as varied as search engines are, they all have one goal: to provide the best service to their users by giving them accurate and relevant results. Regardless of how many changes search engines will go through, they always come back to that goal. So the key to avoiding being penalized by search engines is to implement common sense and ethical SEO techniques.
Rule # 1: Build Trust. The surest way to earn that trust is through inbound links. But you have to be smart about the links that you create. Avoid posting your content on spammy directories. Instead, share your content on social media and reach out to influencers to get organic and relevant inbound links.
Rule #2: Practice safe and responsible linking practices. You should be judicious on where to link your site or page. Link only to reputable, relevant sites.
Rule #3: Make your content valuable. Your value online is computed based on your uniqueness and the impact to your visitors. Your content is the one element that has contributed a lot to your value. It is not enough that you get that necessary ranking, as much as possible you should be able to hold it through with your content. And you do this by creating content that gives value to your audience.
All in all, search engines are tools that serve a purpose. It’s impossible for most people to know exactly how they work, but their overall goal is easy to understand.
So when you’re creating a website for your business, don’t think about how you can beat a search engine. Rather, work with search engines in helping your customers find valuable information. Guide search engines through your site with ethical SEO practices and let your rankings rise naturally. Yes, these myths and misconceptions persist for a reason and sometimes they work for a while. But in the end, good SEO practices are what’s responsible in making your website memorable and relevant for customers.