SEO Disinformation Part 1
SEO Disinformation seems to be running rampant throughout the search engine optimization and Internet marketing community. Each “Expert” has his/her own opinion about what should or shouldn’t be done to optimize a website for the highest rankings in search engines like Google, Bing and others.
If you are currently enjoying top search engine placement, and the traffic you receive from that placement is delivering qualified visitors with a high conversion ratio, then you should make NO attempt to change your current strategy. “If it works, don’t fix it”. However, if you’re one of the multitudes being fed large doses of hog-wash by self proclaimed SEO Experts, and your Internet marketing strategy seems to deliver little or no qualified visitors, then you might want to read further.
Question the source of your information.
Many website owners believe that top placement (#1 through #10 positions) in search engines is the most important goal in their Internet marketing campaign. It’s understandable that these people are focused so intently on this goal, after all, every other article written about Internet marketing claims that ranking high in search engines is the most important aspect of your website promotion campaign. And nearly every SEO Expert on the Internet will stand behind this claim.
But you must ask yourself:
- What is the source of this information?
- Who has the most to gain, if everyone believes that SEO and top search engine rankings will deliver fortunes untold?
Of course the SEO companies and search engines themselves have the most to gain. You would be wise to question the motivation behind such claims? Especially, if you’re spending money trying to move your site to the top of the search engines.
Finding answers among the confusion.
If you’re like me, you may be experiencing some frustration over SEO. I do not claim to be an expert on SEO tactics, nor am I an Internet marketing guru who claims to have all the answers. I am a web / graphic designer trying to deliver quality service to my clients, and at the same time, keep myself educated on the most useful strategies for marketing my company online and offline. I read a lot of articles, and when I find something worth sharing, I’ll write about it on my blog.
The amount of information published on this topic is staggering and sifting through endless articles about Internet marketing and search engine optimization strategies is a never ending process. But I do it because it helps my customers and it helps me stay informed about what’s important in developing an online marketing strategy.
When experts don’t agree.
Two recent articles I read, make opposing claims about cross linking. One says that it doesn’t matter, don’t do it! The other claims it does matter and it should be the main focus of your marketing strategy. Which one is correct?
Let me say this right now “Targeted traffic should ALWAYS be the goal in developing your online marketing campaign”. That said, I believe that both arguments have valid points, yet at the same time neither is completely correct.
Cross linking is important, because you can and will increase targeted traffic by strategically placing your links, on other websites. You want visitors to come to your website for the specific reason of buying your product or service, and sales equal profits. Profit being the reason most people go into business in the first place. Therefore, getting as many links to your website as possible is very important to increasing traffic. The more inbound links you have the more potential traffic you can generate. But there’s more.
Claims that cross linking does absolutely no good, is absolutely half right. Cross linking does not and will not help your search engine ranking, page ranking, or Alexa rating. In some cases, abuse of cross linking could result in your page, or your entire website being banned from some search engines. Cross linking should be done in moderation and for the right reason.
If your main focus is ranking high in search engines or having a high Alexa rating or page ranking, you should reconsider your online marketing strategy. This can be a frustrating approach to promoting your company and it could cost you a lot of money.
Effective campaigns integrate multiple strategies.
Building a strong link program is very useful in your overall campaign, when done properly. But it should not be the only marketing technique you are using.
When developing the overall strategy for your online marketing campaign, it is important to include as many tools, tactics and methods as your budget can support, in the initial stages of your plan. This will give you a greater advantage in reaching your goal then if you were to focus on any single technique. Through continuous testing and analysis you will eventually narrow your arsenal to what most effectively delivers results.
SEO Disinformation Infects Internet Marketing
SEO Disinformation Part 2
Search Engine Optimization companies continue to flood the Internet with disinformation and false claims that hinder website owners and Internet Marketing enthusiasts, leaving many feeling frustrated and discouraged.
Internet Marketing is one of the most competitive areas for professional web design companies, and smart website owners will to try every method available to increase their placement in search engines such as Google and Bing.
One of the more common methods for Internet Marketers to stay informed on the latest SEO trends and tactics for increasing placement is to read articles and reports published by so-called “Experts” in the field of Search Engine Optimization.
This leaves those hoping to find new and innovative ways of attaining the coveted top placement in search engines, vulnerable to potentially misleading information published by some of these “Experts”, many who have no intention of ever divulging their best kept secrets.
Altruism or Disinformation
Traditionally, a true Expert would never reveal his/her most effective strategies, even those who sell their information to others for profit. SEO Experts are no exception.
Some do have a sincere interest in helping others, however many of these so-called “SEO Experts” are intentionally feeding the public disinformation and blatant lies.
The motives behind this unethical and unscrupulous behavior are plentiful, ranging from selling outdated or misleading information for profit, to outright misdirection for the purpose of protecting their own techniques.
I touch on this topic briefly with the concept of link exchange programs in part one of SEO Disinformation
SEO is more then Link Building
While link building is one of the most heavily touted practices among SEO Experts, it’s not the only area of Search Engine Optimization that needs attention.
Another area of search engine optimization that receives a high volume of SEO disinformation is “Meta Tags”. Both “Description Tags” and “Keyword Tags” are constantly berated, to the point where many Professional Web Design companies and Website Owners don’t even consider it a legitimate practice anymore.
Part of this is due to the improper and sometimes abusive methods, which META Tags have been implemented. At one time META Tags were the most effective way to ensure a website would be indexed in a search engine. However through continued “keyword stuffing” and “search engine spamming” associated with the use of META Tags, Google and some other search engines have all but abandoned their use of the tags.
Meta Tags are HTML tags included in the “Header” of an HTML document or “Web Page”. These special tags have a unique function and it is widely believed that not all search engines recognize these tags, specifically Google. Since Google is the most dominant search engine on the Internet, a large number of SEO Experts discourage the use of Meta Tags all together.
While it may be true that Meta Tags are overlooked by Google’s spider, this does not mean Meta Tags are not a worthwhile part of your SEO strategy. Many other search engines DO recognize Meta Tags and consider them an important part of their listings.
Where to target your efforts
Google may be the most dominant, but it certainly isn’t the only Search Engine on the Internet, and not everyone using the Internet goes to Google for their search needs.
Yahoo, Bing and AOL are very prominent among Internet users and there are many other smaller search engines used by a growing number of Internet users.
For this reason, proper and responsible use of META Tags can and will contribute to increased exposure and additional traffic for your website. Most SEO Experts who claim that Meta Tags will not help your sites placement will admit that they continue to use Meta Tags on sites they optimize, regardless of their claims that META Tags do not help placement.
Even if META Tags didn’t help your search engine placement; remember this, placement is simply a means to the end and not the end itself.
Website owners and Search Engine Marketers should not loose site of their goal, which is to drive traffic to their sites, provide quality content for their visitors, and make sales, not to rank high in search engines. After all, a high ranking, even in Google does not guarantee visitors and it certainly does not guarantee sales.
SEO Disinformation Continues to Poison the Internet Marketing Community
More false claims and misguided advice are being fed to the Internet community every day.
I can’t help feeling frustrated and distrustful after reading articles from opposing “Experts” about the do’s and don’ts of Search Engine Optimization. If you believe these so-called experts, the don’ts continue to multiply and the dos are diminishing to a point where eventually only the “Experts” will be able to perform Search Engine Optimization effectively.
One of my goals, as a web professional and writer, is to dispel some the myths and expose the outright lies that these Disinfo Experts are spreading.
The truth is, every website owner can increase their websites popularity, simply by providing quality content for their visitors. The idea that all websites are dynamic in nature, not static, and should be updated regularly, is one of the fundamentals of good SEO.
Without a doubt websites are most effective when continually updated with new and interesting information. Website owners, who embrace this principle, often have a sincere desire to provide visitors with quality content, will go to great lengths to provide fresh and relevant information, and refuse to fall into the trap of allowing their website to become stagnant.
This is the part three of SEO Disinformation. Part 1 and Part 2 explore the pros and cons of Link Exchange and Meta Tags, while this article covers the use and abuse of Gateway pages.
For those new to Internet Marketing and Website Promotion, I’ll explain what this forbidden practice is and how it’s used. Then I’ll talk about some of the SEO disinformation that revolves around the use of this tactic. And I’ll point out some of the alternatives to help you with your website promotion.
The goal of this article is to inform readers about proper and ethical practices of Internet Marketing and open people’s eyes to the alarming reality that many Search Engine Marketing professionals are intentionally flooding the Internet with misleading claims, for their own gain.
Gateway Pages – What are they and how are they used?
Gateway pages are web pages designed specifically for attracting search engine spiders. In the past many Search Engine Placement companies would deploy Gateway pages as part of their strategy to drive traffic to your website.
Loaded with keyword rich content in an effort to gain top placement in Google, Yahoo, MSN and other search engines, gateway pages target a single keyword phrase and incorporate links to the Real website. This tactic is intended to attract spiders with the intent to have the page indexed with a higher ranking then the competition.
One belief is that gateway pages are enticing to search engines because of the keyword saturation.
Explanation: The importance of having pages indexed by search engines is so that visitors find your page first when searching for the keyword or phrase, your page is targeting. With gateway pages visitors are then redirected, either automatically through scripting or by the visitor clicking on a link that takes them to the real site.
Another belief is that the gateway page linking to your website, will count as an inbound link to your site.
Explanation: Inbound links are very important for increasing Page Rank. The more inbound links to your site, the more importance search engines place on your website.
Link building is a different topic, but I will say this; while it’s true that inbound links to your site help to increase your sites page rank, there is another side to this argument. I’ll discuss this in greater detail in the next section.
The real story:
SEO Disinformation experts don’t want you to know this, but the reality is, gateway pages create many problems for website owners as well as Internet users.
Gateway pages typically are not hosted on the same server as the website they promote. This is important because in most cases the site that hosts the gateway pages have a different domain name then the website they are promoting.
The problem with this is that visitors searching for your product won’t land at your website; they’ll land at the gateway page. Then if they’re interested in finding out more they’ll have to Click Through to your site.
Advocates of this practice would argue that this is a plus, because search engine spiders place a higher value on pages with more inbound links. Hogwash!
While it’s true that search engines do place a higher value on websites with more “relevant” Inbound links: links that come from websites with a high page rank. Gateway pages don’t have enough page rank to count as a “relevant” link to your website.
This means that websites linking to your website must already have a high page rank for the link to be considered valuable.
If websites linking to your site have a higher page rank then yours, and are targeting the same keywords as yours, those websites will be listed higher, in the search engines.
The gateway page is competing against your website.
Gateway pages are not intended to promote your product or service or even your website. They are intended to trick search engine spiders into thinking the content on the page is related to the keywords you wish to rank high in.
In reality the content is usually worthless to visitors.
When searchers end up at a site with little or no content relevant to their search, they become frustrated and discouraged, often to the point where they lose interest and move on.
Should you be concerned?
The answer is yes! However there is a simple alternative. A much more effective strategy is to create keyword rich content that adds value to your website and resides on the same domain as your website.
Writing articles and editorials related to your industry, products and services and continually adding new and relevant content to your website is far more effective in the quest to increase your sites popularity.
Providing searchers with information they are seeking is the true purpose of the Internet, a goal that all website owners should embrace. (For a truly inspirational story about this, I encourage you to read Google’s company history and mission statement).
Visitors who find a site with relevant information to their search will spend more time on that site then if they were duped into going to there by a gateway page.
Visitors who spend more time your site are more likely to become subscribers or customers.
Still, there are many firms who fail to adhere to these principles, and sadly, the website owner is the one penalized for the use of unethical practices.
SEO Disinformation experts will tell you, “Your competitors all do it” and “It’s not illegal”. These reasons are not sufficient to put yourself and your website at risk by engaging in unethical practices for personal gain.
When your website is targeted for engaging in suspicious activity, the experts won’t be around to help when search engine administrators ban your website from their directory.
Undoubtedly the use of unsavory practices will continue to plague the Internet, and there is very little that can be done to prevent it. However, armed with the right information website owners can make smarter decisions and improve be part of the solution.