10 SEO Misconceptions (or How to Sound Smarter the Next Time You Talk to Your SEO)

I don’t expect clients to entirely understand search engine optimization when they come to us – or really even know what it is at all. And in all honesty, that’s fine, because that’s why I have a job. (Thanks for that.) 

But, after reading this perhaps you’ll know a lot more and be that much the wiser when you talk to your Search Marketer.

1. How bad is it to use white on white and write in a bunch of keywords?

Umm really bad. Probably as bad as you can get actually. In the olden days (probably all of 10 – 12 years ago), you could possibly get away with stuffing keywords. Today? Not so much.

2. I know SEO is important, so I’m going to do it this once and get it done with It’s a one-step process, right?

Sorry, no such luck. We’ll talk about it a little more later, but with search moving toward other venues like social media, local reviews, RSS, blogging, and other modern forms of web marketing, there’s no way you can do it once and be done. SEO requires constant massaging and experimentation.

3What are these meta-keywords I keep hearing about? Can you make me a huge list of them?

Well I could. But it probably wouldn’t do a whole lot.

The thing with meta-keywords is 1) only Yahoo uses them and 2) if you use too many, they’ll hurt you. So, what do I suggest? Using a small group of focused keywords for each page if you’re intent on using them. And remember – even though Yahoo uses them, they don’t have much weight at all.

4. I just don’t have time for social media. Plus, I can get away without doing it.

Again, it’s really not an option any more. Soon, folks who haven’t hopped on the social media bandwagon are going to be struggling to catch up with the rest of the crowd.

So…create a LinkedIn account, get yourself on Facebook, and – if you’re feeling really socially frisky – join Twitter!

5. I’ve heard about this nofollow thing. Do I need to do that to all of my outgoing links?

Nofollowing links is sometimes a good strategy. But that doesn’t mean you should do it to every single outgoing link. 

Nor is it PageRank sculpting. To demonstrate that point, I like this short, sweet description by @Halfdeck.

6. Building links seems like a lot of work. Can’t I just buy them?

Well sure you can. The problem is…search engines typically know that you bought them. Although, there are ways to do it without looking like a spammer.

7. Does Google rank me higher if I have an AdWords campaign with them?

No, Google may be the search engine of choice, but they aren’t tyrants. At flyte, we focus on the organic; but if you want to try Paid Search, this will help get you started.

8. Should I purchase a keyword rich domain and redirect it?

That one actually inspired a blog post out of me. Jill Whalen, much of the same opinion as me, also wrote a great piece on it over at High Rankings.

9. Can I post great local reviews for my own company?

Also an inspirational question.

10. My Dad actually asked me this one: If I start a business, wouldn’t it be smart to figure out what people are searching for first?

Brilliant, Daddy-O. Problem is, as #2 eludes, those words change all the time. However, the following are the top 3 according to Keyword Discovery’s Business sector:

  1. barbie
  2. Bank of America
  3. aol.com

Should be interesting what kind of business you come up with using those! 😉 But in all seriousness, every day is different. Google has Trends to track the latest and greatest searches; and SEOmoz has Popular Searches where you can look up searches by day.

Nicki Hicks
The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask 

  • Another great article – keep them coming!

    Thanks Nicki,

    Gloria Maher

  • Ami

    SEO is Key so thanks for the tips. I believe the technical term for number one is keyword spamming

    I use linked in as well. It is a really decent place to meet other marketing people
    Thanks for the post