Because I’m actively involved in the SEO community, I tend to hear a lot of misconceptions about the practice of SEO. Not only from people I know personally, but just from the vast information on the Internet from people branding themselves as Search Engine Optimizers that really don’t qualify, there’s even more incorrect information out there. What makes it worse, is that people continually spread false information about the practice all the time. What makes me so special as to know better than these people perpetuating these myths? I’m not going to pretend I know everything about SEO, but my knowledge is extensive and based on numerous industry recognized sources and years of experience and proven success – my favorite place for SEO newbies? SEOmoz’ Top Ranking Factors
So I’m dedicating an article series featuring myths I see and hear constantly – or at least often enough for me to remember. Granted, SEO is not an exact science, there’s no real definitive fact behind what works and what doesn’t, there are guidelines, best practices, and knowledge gained from experience that can tell us generally what has an impact on search engine placement and what doesn’t. So to kick things off, I give you this week’s SEO Myth – straight from LinkedIn’s Q&A.
The question is simply: “Does Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Really work? If so, what are the best tools?”
Many of the replies were helpful and accurate to a point. But one response caught my attention from Bonnie Burns at OnTheAvenues.com:
“As an SEO expert, I know of all the tools available… For example, it is known that having a Google xml site map is needed, as is having a sitemap for your site. as is a robots.txt. If you did not know that, there is no diagnostic tool that would tell you so…. ”
While having a Google XML sitemap is valuable for sites that aren’t being properly indexed, for new sites, or to ensure all of your pages get indexed, it is by no means necessary for SEO as long as your site is spidered correctly. The same holds true for a sitemap (as in an HTML sitemap I assume), and a robots.txt. Sitemaps and Robots.txt can be very valuable in SEO efforts, don’t get me wrong. However, they are only required in specific scenarios to ensure the correct indexing of your site if it is not already. You won’t be penalized if you don’t have them, and Google (nor the others) will not rank your site higher if you add them (although people have found creative ways to using an HTML sitemap’s structure to assist in their internal linking hierarchy). Everyone’s entitled to one mistake so I gave her the benefit of the doubt. But taking a look at her at her website and blog, I saw other inaccuracies abound. But today’s not a two for one special, so you’ll have to wait until next week for more.