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|Search Engines, seperating the myths from reality.|
|Myth 1 - You have to submit your site to get listed by the search engines.|
Well in a word, no. You don't. Google and the rest of the mystical search engines have a number of ways of finding your sites. Google toolbar is one that a lot of people use. They also have things called crawlers, which scour the internet for content and note down where it is, and then they have things called bots, which go back later and index the content on those pages. Google has googlebot, MSN/Live Search has msnbot and yaHoo has it's slurp. If you have ever seen one of these listed as the user agent in your websites logs, then they know you are there.
I see google constantly crawling through my sites, infact when building one massive directory site I would put up content and watch it waltz through looking for more each and every day.
Myth 2 - I have to use good meta tags, pick 2 or 3 good keywords and use them x times, but only if that surfer is looking at the south side of a fir tree. If they are looking at the north side I must use the keywords precisely 2.7865435 times more often. Alt tags on images are a must have.
I'm poking fun at a thing the "experts" call keyword density, that is how often you managed to stuff your keyword into your page. My advice to you is simple - if you read your copy and it makes you sound like an idiot, the search engines will think exactly the same. Meta tags are old skool and none of the major search engines use the keywords="" tag anymore.
However the one meta tag you should use and use properly is <meta name='description' content='enter your keyword stuffed description here'> Google lists this as the blurb under the phrase you are listed for. Make sure it describes what your site does.
Alt tags are similarly not important. I feel leaving them out gets you less worthless google images traffic (which you should be blocking via htaccess anyway). Pursits say this helps the search engines weight your pages and their importance. I say bollocks. Use them when they make sense, for example if you have a listing of pictures of your merchandise, describe them in the alt tags.
In short, save your effort and reduce your bandwidth by leaving out the 30 lines of rubbish keywords in your meta tags and the ridiculous non sensical sentences in your alt tags.
Myth 3 - Submitting my site anywhere I can is a good thing and will help my site in search engine results.
If your developer, webmaster, IT person or web "expert" told you this you need to sack them now. Google has for a very long time understood how we as webmasters attempt to fool it into thinking that lots of links into our site means our site is cool. The web has "bad neighbourhoods" and google penalises those who dare to seek links from there. Think I'm spinning you a heap of garbage, then go find some of these FFA (free for all) pages and see how much of them is indexed in google.
Myth 4- PR (page rank) is a critical indicator of how good a site is
Baloney. PR is a hamfisted way of measuring the "authority" of a page, by setting points for the amount of links into a site. See the comment on FFAs above as the reason why you shouldn't be bothered at all by your pages PR. Rumor has it PR can be faked, and I have to agree after researching sites to buy and finding them with high PR and NO incoming links listed in google.
Myth 5 - Buying links on a site with good PR will help my site
Hmmm - lets think about this for second. I spend money in an attempt to fool google into thinking my site is an authority - refer to my previous comments on google not being dumb. Google has for the past 6 months openly warned it will penalise sites buying links. If you think you're smart enough to beat google at its own game, don't forget they are in the business of collecting information from websites. They also happily accept your competitors dobbing you in for buying links from sites. Buy links if your target is to gain traffic to your site. Don't bother if all you are doing is chasing PR.