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As 2009 comes to a close, we would like to continue our annual tradition of identifying the top five SEO myths of the year. For those of you who are new to search engine optimization (SEO), it can be a complicated field to understand. Unfortunately, it is often also confusing, as there are numerous myths – many of which have become false truths. Just like old wive’s tales, they have been told so many times that somehow they have become reality. Also on the list are some beliefs that were true, once upon a time, but are not anymore.

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Myth One: PPC impacts SEO

It is still commonly believed that a Pay-Per-Click Campaign, such as Google AdWords, helps your ranking in organic search results. This was not true last year (on the list) and is still not true in 2009. Just ask any PPC expert.

Myth Two: Sites must be submitted to Search Engines

A more common search engine myth is that you need to submit your URL to the crawler-based engines (Google, Yahoo!, Bing/MSN). In reality, they find your website (and do a good job of this). It used to be true – but it no longer is (with a few exceptions). If there are industry-related specialty engines, that do not have as advanced indexing technology as the major engines, then by all means – submit.

Myth Three: Meta keyword tags improve rankings

This was once true many years ago (likely the biggest myth) and based on outdated understanding of how Google indexes (still King of Search in 2009). This crawler-based engine ignores this tag. As a result, this will not help your positioning in search results.

Let me repeat: Google does not use the keywords meta tags. And…don’t take my word for it; here is Matt Cutts, Google Software Engineer.

Myth Four: SEO is a one-time deal

Another misconception that has likely been around the longest. Those new to search engine optimization often just assume that once improved ranking have been accomplished – the SEO process is complete. Just like fixing a broken car. In reality, the SEO process is more like maintaining a car so that it continues to run well. Why? Google (and the other Search Engines) are constantly upgrading and changing their formula (algorithms) and that does not even factor in what your online competition is doing to improve their rankings.

Myth Five: SEO Firms can guarantee number 1 ranking

Unfortunately, this myth still exists and is likely the most frustrating one for reputable SEOs. Google, and the other major search engines, determine ranking based on (constantly changing) complex formulas. They are not public knowledge. Nor do search engine optimizers have special relationships with the big search engines (if they claim to have a partnership with Google – beware!). This one is like the old saying…”If it sounds to good to be true….. it is!”.

And… always remember that not all SEO companies are equal (White Hats / Black Hats) – nor are all those offering SEO equally skilled and up-to-date with the latest trends.

Got SEO questions? Just ask!