Although content gets a great deal of attention within the search engine optimization industry, the reality is that the way the Website is constructed and the tools used for accessing the site also have a significant impact on search engine rankings. Therefore, it is important to keep these myths in mind.
Myth #1: Having an XML Sitemap Will Increase Google Rankings
While Google does use sitemaps to file for discovery and to search for duplicate content, it will not give your site a boost in rankings. Even if you assign your sitemaps.xml a high priority level, it won’t assist with your rankings.
Myth #2: Having Sites That are Country-Specific Will Be Viewed as “Duplicate Content” by Google
Although duplicate content is certainly frowned upon, having country-specific sites will not be an issue. Google is able to differentiate between sites that are presented with country-specific URLs, so feel free to create sites for each country you are targeting.
Myth #4: Selectively Cleaning URLs for Spiders is Considered “Cloaking”
Doing things such as removing tracking parameters, session IDs and other unnecessary parameters can actually be viewed favorably by the search engines if your intentions are honorable. Even Yahoo does it, so don’t be afraid to remove parameters because you don’t want to take a hit in your search engine rankings.
Myth #5: Sitemaps are Only Meant for Search Engine Optimization
While a sitemap can help increase your search engine rankings, it is important to realize that they are also a good tool for site visitors. Therefore, when creating sitemaps, it is important to consider the search engine spiders as well as those who will be visiting your site. This means you should make the sitemap aesthetically pleasing while also ensuring all of your pages are linked to each other.
Myth #6: Google Doesn’t Index Pages That Can Only Be Accessed by the Site’s Search Form
While it is true that Google didn’t used to index pages that could only be accessed by the site’s search form, this has not been true since 2008. Of course, this doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about making your site accessible to search engine spiders, as you aren’t likely to achieve the results you are after if you don’t address this concern. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t assume your pages won’t be indexed just because they are only accessible through the search form.