Search Engine Optimization - Myths and Legends

Since the dawn of search engine creation, man has created myths and legends to explain what he himself could not. These myths have been passed down through the years from generation to generation. With the advent of modern science, however, we are now able to put these myths to bed forever.

Myths and Legends

1. Mega-Meta

There is no bigger myth than that of the meta-tag. If anyone tells you that the secret to high search engine rankings is with meta-tags laugh at them and call them names. This, my friends is an antiquated myth.

A meta-tag is in the head of your HTML and contains keywords and a description of the page. The code looks like this for the page you are reading:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
<title>Search engine optimization - Myths &amp; Legends ::: Article ::: Rainboworange</title>
<meta name="description" content="Rainboworange - Web Design Company based in Chicago, IL. Specializing in web site design & redesign, graphic design, icon design and logo design.">
<meta name="keywords" content="search engine optimization, web design chicago, web page design, website design, web site design company, web design company, chicago website design, web design illinois, graphic, logo services, chicago, il usa">
<meta name="author" content="Sladjan Lukic -">
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=windows-1252">
<link href="style.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css">
<link rel="shortcut icon" href="favicon.ico">

There was a time long ago when meta-tags were created just for the search engines. After all, if you were a newly designed search engine robot, wouldn't you like to receive a little bundle of information about each page you indexed? That would be easier than a complex algorithm and web designers are trust-worthy people, right? Well, of course not. All a crafty web designer would have to do to spam the search engine would be to add sexy words to their meta-tag keywords and trick visitors into visiting their site on something completely different - say shoe polish.

Some search engines still figure your meta-tags into their algorithms so do use them. More often, the search engines will display your meta-description under your link so spend some time writing accurate descriptions of each page.

2. Hidden Content

As the average bandwidth and connection speed increased, web designers were afforded a lot more freedom in their designs. More images could be used and then came the advent of Macromedia Flash which allowed a designer to use scalable vector graphics to create eye-catching animations. All of this was wonderful except the search engines couldn't see any of it and the image/Flash laden sites started to lose their grip on high rankings.

About this time, another little trick-of-the-trade was born. Web designers would fill the page under the flash movie or image map with content masked in the same color of the background. The visitor couldn't see the icky content but the search engines didn't know the difference and presto - they were back in the top ten.

But remember what we learned in lesson one about content? The search engine algorithms are designed to provide the best content to their users. Providing content that the visitor can't see is useless. Therefore, the best search engine algorithms were programmed to look for this type of spam.

What's more, not only will most search engines dismiss a site's feeble attempts to spam with hidden content, many will penalize the site and even exclude it from their index for life. Yikes!


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