Myth: Meta tags are the most important factor in search engine rankings.
Fact: Many search engines (most notably Google) ignore meta tags completely due to constant abuse by webmasters. The only importance placed on meta tags these days is actually the meta description tag, which will appear as the description for the corresponding page on engines that use inktomi data (such as MSN). Meta tags are virtually irrelevant in the ranking algorithms of the top engines- but many people continue to believe that they are the only optimization strategy that they need.
Myth: It’s impossible to do search engine optimization in-house.
Fact: It often is done in house, and done effectively. This is typically when a large corporation hires in-house talent that is largely devoted exclusively to promoting the website. However, it is unrealistic to expect someone with many other job functions to do a credible job of SEO. Much of the skills are acquired through experience- and it isn’t usually desirable to have someone “experimenting” with the company website (especially considering that certain techniques can get sites penalized on engines or banned outright).
SEO isn’t rocket science, but it also isn’t something that can be learned overnight. When deciding whether to outsource SEO or do it in house, it is important to consider the actual costs involved. Often, when the necessary hours it takes to pay someone to learn on the job are taken into account, it is cheaper to outsource (and the results are almost always better). Only a careful evaluation of your goals and resources can determine the best course of action for your company.
Myth: Sites must be constantly resubmitted to retain rankings.
Fact: This is a scare tactic popularized by various submission services and software companies. In fact, it is a waste of money to pay to have your site resubmitted once it is
already listed in an engine’s database. It will not hurt your rankings to constantly submit (or else people would submit their competitor’s sites to get them penalized), but it will not help, either.
Myth: Search engine optimization is not as effective as “traditional” marketing.
Fact: In many ways, it is more effective. Companies often spend countless dollars on direct mail, television and radio advertising, and bulk email without a second thought. The common thread with each of these strategies is that the prospect is “approached” by the company, and that the company must reach a great number of people to find a few motivated prospects. On the other hand, search engines can deliver highly motivated prospects directly to your website- people who have already demonstrated, through their use of particular key phrases, an interest in your products or services.
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