Search Engine Optimization for websites is on offer from a wide variety of SEO consultants, some reputable, some less so. Some rely on outdated concepts of how the search engines operate. Three of the most important false truths are discussed below. If someone offering to perform search engine optimization still uses these outdated truths, then he or she will be wasting their efforts and your money.
The three false truths are
a) search engines use the information in keyword metatags
b) search engines use the keywords that may be included in domain names,
c) extra backlinks are always beneficial for search engine rankings.
Backlinks are links on other web pages that point towards the web page being considered.
These truths were more important in the past but they have lost their value now. The reasons for this statement are given below.
Abuse of the keyword metatags resulted in the search engines now completely ignoring these tags in their rankings. Only Yahoo! may use the tag in a secondary way where the metatag contains mis-spellings of the main keywords. Similarly domain names are not used in a significant way in search engine ranking, since again it is too easy to abuse their use by trying to ensure non-relevant web pages will rank high with the search engines.
The third false truth is more complex. Google was the search engine that put most emphasis in its search algorithm on the backlinks for a given web page. Given the dominant share that Google has in the search engine field, this encouraged people to create thousands of artificial backlinks from other websites. In some cases, if these were all from websites known to breach the terms of service of the search engines, then this could result in the website being banned from the search engine rankings. In other cases, even if outright banning did not occur, the backlinks might be ignored. It is still true that backlinks from authoritative websites will help in search engine rankings. However quantity is not important, what counts is quality of the backlinks.
So it’s important to check that your SEO consultant is not relying on these false truths. If they insist on their validity, then you would be wise to cut the conversation there. At best they will be ineffective: at worst they may take actions that could result in your website being banned.