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July 13, 2011

5 key takeaways from recent web clinic featuring Stephan Spencer's discussion of SEO myths

By Sandra Bradley, Marketing Practice Director

The UWEBC Web & Multichannel Marketing Peer Group recently held a web clinic on SEO. World-renowned SEO expert and frequent UWEBC contributor Stephan Spencer (who's also speaking at our upcoming annual conference) — talked about some SEO myths that work against optimum search results. Here are five points he made that I found especially important:

#1: Meta tags don't matter. They were ruined by spammers. Search engines ignore them. Pay no attention to them. In fact, there's good reason to remove them, as they give competitors insight into what's important to you.

#2: Keyword prominence beats density. Some people obsess on tracking keyword density not only on their own sites but also on competitors' sites. But keyword prominence matters more. Keywords at the beginning of a page produce better SEO results than larding a page with keywords.

#3. HTML sitemaps are for people, not spiders. XML sitemaps designed for spiders need only a list of URLs, not links. A good HTML site map gives a clearly organized topical outline with page links. That gives folks who prefer such organization an easy way to find what they're looking for.

#4. Search Engine Optimization is never complete. It's an experimental science, not a business initiative planned, executed and completed. If you chase Yahoo! rankings, you can crash Google rankings. It is ever evolving. An approach that makes sense evolves with it.

#5. Advertising on Google Adwords more often than not cannibalizes your organic traffic. Organic traffic tends to jump, which results in your paying for traffic you would have gotten for free.

For an extended version of these ideas and more, read Stephan's article "36 Myths That Won't Die But Need To," published by Search Engine Land.

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