Dec 4, 2010

3 Myths About Search Engine Optimization

There are literally hundreds of blogs either dedicated to SEO or that reference SEO tips, tactics, and observations. I should know, since I've reviewed over 1,000 SEO blogs in the past three years and manage a list of about 400 of them here in what we call the BIGLIST of SEO Blogs. I've also been blogging about SEO topics myself for over six years at Online Marketing Blog.
The trouble with all that blog-based knowledge about search engine optimization is that some of it gets quickly outdated, given the speed at which search engines update their ranking methodologies. There's also plentiful speculation by many new SEO experts about what signals search engines favor most for ranking web pages. Since ranking methodologies are considered "secret sauce" by search engines, marketers and webmasters are left to reverse engineer ranking algorithms -- which is incredibly resource-intensive and difficult.
Speculation and inadequate testing leads to the publishing and propagation of any of a number of myths about SEO that can leave small business marketers at a disadvantage. While there are many myths to be busted about SEO, these three are especially pernicious:
Myth 1: SEO should be owned and managed by IT. While SEO implementation has its roots in the web development and IT departments of most companies, it’s a marketing discipline more than a web development discipline. Accountability for effective SEO might be multi-departmental in theory, but the reality is that most organizations budget, staff, and manage SEO programs as part of customer acquisition, i.e. marketing and sales. Do not let IT lead your SEO programs. IT is the wingman for Marketing when it comes to SEO.
Myth 2: SEO is a subset of Social Media.
There are plenty of intersections between SEO and social media, but SEO is no more a subset of social media marketing than it is of public relations, customer service, or media relations. Working together with those other disiplines, effective SEO can boost social network growth and social media can facilitate link-building. In this way, SEO and social media are yin and yang -- but not super or subordinate -- to each other.
Myth 3: Flash is bad for SEO.
The cost of a myth like Flash being bad for SEO can be substantial, such as having a boring website that doesn’t engage visitors or attract any links. Flash isn’t bad for SEO, it’s the absence of text and crawlable links in sites that are constructed with a single Flash movie that creates problems. Some Flash content can be crawled, but it’s embedding Flash within an HTML framework that allows websites to have the best of both worlds: rich media that engages site visitors and the presence of text and links to provide search engines and visitors information they can use to understand the site content.
Hopefully these SEO myths and their explanations will be helpful to you in your website marketing efforts. You can get great advice from a number of credible SEO blogs or even SEO consultants. However, the best source of SEO information for your own site is from testing and observation on your own website. 

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