Search Engine Optimisation myths: Lies, damn lies and SEO

No need to overcomplicate the principles

There are plenty of SEO practioners advertising their services with claims of varying degrees of confidence. Some promise quick results and that should always be treated with caution, others promise 'first page of Google', and sometimes not specifying a time frame and often not specifying under what search term. Most operate in terms of articially generating inlinks, which do work, but as the internet and search engines get more savvy, this technique becomes less and less efficient. It may raise ranking levels but this doesn't automatically raise visitor numbers, or more crucially relevant visitors who would be interested in your product / service. And then there are the myths, some you may have picked up from the internet others are peddled by practioners who wish to cloud the issue and get more of your money. Amongst these myths are

1- Search Engine Optimisation is a technically complex field only the professionals can manage - not so, the principles are not complex, some of the techniques used to achieve results however does require an understanding of how search engines see your site, index it and return results of people trying to find you. Many of the processes involved in increasing the visibility of the web site are time comsuming and repetitive, and some of this work can be more effective than others. The trick is knowing which techniques will bring the maximum benefit in the shortest space of time.

2- Once the web site is submitted to search engines, the rest looks after itself - not true. While this is an important starting point, any web site worth its salt will quickly be found by the high tech tools search engines now use. Not only that, but whether you guide it or not, these spiders that search engines use will track all the various interconnected pages and get a good overall feel for how the pages are constructed and how frequently various words appear and how these words are clustered in specific pages. Our job will be to help this natural process and ensure it is in the direction we want it to go, so we get a good representation of the theme and product of the web site on the search engine databases that in turn will direct us the quality traffic we strive for.

3- My site is optimised, so now there is no benefit in continuing this exercise - wrong. The process of search engine optimisation can never fully stop, there are always more customers you can, and want to reach. There are always innovations and new products you may want to launch, and there is always competition. The opposition will never stay still, they will also want a piece of the cake, including from you and if you do nothing, they will happily eat into it. What is more, if they are doing a good job, they will monitor your site, see what you are good at and try to emulate that, and if they find a weakness in your keywords or other facets, they will exploit that. So in turn, it is up to you to monitor and keep abreast of this competion, and a good SEO practioner will always have a good and upto date handle on the size and nature of the market that web site is competing in. In addition search engines are constantly evolving as they aim to filter out artifically promoted sites that have used techniques of promotion that served them well in the past and so the goal posts are forever changing. Remaining passively static is the worst option when it comes to SEO.

4- There is only so much you can write about a product / service. Not true. The art of creating good content on a web site is often thinking outside the box, what would a potential customer want to read, how to re-assure and convince them that you are a reputable trader and stop them from clicking away. Information can be layered, there is no need to place long winding texts on one page, manageable portions are usually visually also more appealing. Those who do want to read more before they are 'converted', will thus have the option to go deeper and there is the added benefit that more keywords can be peppered in these texts.

5- My web site is large and full of keywords, so there is no need to do any SEO - wrong again. Large web sites are always a good starting point, but SEO involves so much more than how often certain words appear. There are a whole number of other issues connected in how high you will rank on a search engine result for a given search term. In addition people may seek you in other methods and platforms as the internet gets increasingly complex. So a search can be done through a comparison site, or through images or videos or recommendation sites. Dealing this mix of ‘direction of traffic’ means different strategies need to be used to capture as wide a net as possible from relevant searches. Keeping upto date with the internet and search engine trends is also part of this learning curve that I am happy to share with you.

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