Wednesday, April 26, 2006

SEO Old School Practices and Myths

I knew search engine optimization was a dynamic, ever-evolving industry before I joined DBE. Now, with the help and tutelage of my colleagues, I’m seeing first hand just how fast the industry is changing. Here are a few of the SEO practices I had heard about before that now would be better characterized as “old school” or “myth”:

SEO Practice: Manually submitting your site
Comment: Old School
Search engines now prefer to find pages on their own from outside sites.
Added Value/Insight: Inbound links from offsite sources tend to legitimize the site’s standing in the search engines’ “eyes” and help improve rankings in organic listings.

SEO Practice: Submitting your site to as many search engines as possible
Comment: Myth
Why: First, see above. Second, only a few search engines really matter -- Google, Yahoo, MSN, and Ask cover about 99% of all search traffic.
Added Value/Insight: Most secondary search engines pull their results from one of the primary search engines.

SEO Practice: Submitting your site to search engines regularly
Comment: Myth
Why: A well-optimized site will be crawled and indexed regularly by search engines without your invitation.
Added Value/Insight: If you submit your site repeatedly to the search engines, there is a risk that your submissions will be marked as SPAM and your site blacklisted.

SEO Practice: Keyword stuffing / “Spam”dexing
Comment: Old School (and now considered “black hat”)
Search engines are no longer just looking at keywords; they are looking at the context of keyword use on a page.
Added Value/Insight: Stuffing irrelevant keywords into your pages will likely get your domain banned from most search engines.

SEO Practice: Pointer / Doorway/ Hallway / Information/Landing/Splash pages
Comment: Old School (and now considered “black hat”)
This practice used to get site rankings because search engines just looked at individual pages. Now the site ranking algorithms are evaluating pages in context of the whole site.
Added Value/Insight: As with other old school practices, this will not positively impact your site rankings and could, in fact, produce negative results due to its “black hat” nature.

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