SEO has made a tremendous impact on how the web works today. Websites have constantly adapted to evolving SEO trends and best practices to keep up with the race to be on top of the ranking of search results. While innovation in the SEO space is constant, so are myths about SEO.
Myths are harmless most of the time. Red makes the bull get angry and attack. Only 10% of our brain is used. It takes seven years to digest gum.
However, SEO myths are not in the same league. SEO myths are misleading, outdated, and wasteful. You’ll be throwing out essential resources, tons of money, and valuable time if you get stuck on these SEO myths. It’s time to debunk these 10 most common SEO myths once and for all.
SEO is really just about getting on top of the rankings in search results by the search engines by using a bunch of keywords on your website.
Looking at it from an on-site standpoint, the keywords used in your content, the images used for the content, the meta descriptions, and the title are extremely significant on-site SEO elements.
However, you must look beyond these elements to completely understand the role of SEO in getting the search engines’ attention. You have to answer the ultimate objective: are you answering the user’s need and/or intent or are you pushing your agenda forward?
Google has put in place complex algorithms and a reward system to look into the website that focuses on user-intent-based content. This is the future of search. Google is aggressively moving its attention to user needs or intent for more personalized and accurate results.
That being said, mere keywords and links are not enough. Well-optimized (not the overkill, over-optimized) and relevant content continue to be a high ranking factor. If your goal is for users to enter your website, then you’ve appropriately optimized your website with enough relevant content, correct and relevant title, meta description, and URL. If otherwise, regardless if you rank #1 on the search results, it may not stay that way for long.
Keep in mind: optimize your website for a user and not a spider.
Over-optimizing your website purely for ranking purposes is despised by Google according to their Quality Guidelines. Ultimately, reaching the highest rank is not the end in mind. But creating quality content, natural language, and earning links are.
Loading up on links can win you the ranking battle. Wrong.
You may be able to get away with this during the pre-Penguin era but it’s no longer the case. It hasn’t always been the case, to tell you honestly.
The myth that once you’ve added so many links, they will take care of things is like believing the earth is flat. It doesn’t really help you rank higher in the search results.
For one, there’s no such thing as having too many links. Too many unnatural links will get you penalized, and your efforts will be to no avail. What about good links that influence ranking signals? Well, a lot of webmasters and smart marketers don’t put a lot of effort into this because links are not the ultimate ranking factor. Whether you have a few links or a ton of links, they don’t really matter. That’s how simple it is.
What matters with SEO is quality content, natural links, social activities, and relevant and fresh content marketing. These things are what’s going to get you on those top search results.
Back in the day, links were more valuable than content. Google would put you up in the top search results when you have enough links. This created an unfortunate trend—a lot of SEO pros and webmasters started to utilize link building as a way of creating chunks of links with quantity as an end in mind over quality. Keyword stuffing became an essential and effective method to boost search engine rankings.
And then Google introduced Penguin. Everything got disrupted. Google found out that people are abusing the link building technique and discovered that as a result of the abuse, SERPs are flooded with bad and irrelevant sites that didn’t really help users.
Debunking this myth doesn’t mean that links don’t anymore have value. They still do but ultimately, your SEO strategy should be focused on how these links will complement new pieces of relevant content that are valuable to the users.
Another common trap that SEO pros and webmasters fall into is thinking that keyword is the name of the game when it comes to SEO. Similar to link stuffing, keywords overkill is not the goal of SEO. In fact, it’s just one step in the overall scheme of things about SEO.
Targeted keywords using strategic and effective keyword planning and tools are one step in the end-to-end SEO process.
The rule of thumb is this: don’t set your mind into thinking that keywords don’t represent everything.
When you apply that rule, you’ll be more open to exploring how you can better utilize keywords in your overall SEO strategy and looking at other opportunities. And there are a ton of opportunities—autocomplete suggestions, Content Assistant, Keyword tool.
Google has employed several algorithms and AI systems, such as RankBrain and Latent Semantic Indexing, to optimize results for the user. This means that for your keywords to work, they have to be relevant, useful, and accurate for the user’s needs.
There are good and bad links. That’s a known fact. That being said, backlinks are never created equal. And there’s more to that than just the statement alone. Explaining it all here just won’t do. It will take a separate post to explain it all in detail.
To explain the statement quickly, we’ll have to look at an example. Let’s say you’re researching about “brown recluse”. What you’re going to get on top of the search results are two websites: LiveScience and EmedicineHealth. The former is a large website with a short but poorly covered article, full of general information. The latter has a well-covered topic with helpful and relevant content.
The links you’re going to see on LiveScience are a lot more compared to EmedicineHealth. That’s a given considering LiveScience is a much bigger website. However, the links found on EmedicineHealth are more valuable compared to LiveScience.
This is where equity weighs more than equality.
Link equity or previously known as link juice is a crucial part of off-page SEO because passes authority and value between pages. Focus more on equitable links instead of investing so much on links that don’t really matter to the user.
When Google released Penguin 4.0, a lot of SEO pros and webmasters doubted the usefulness of the disavow tool. If you’re confused about whether to use disavow or not, what you need to know, according to John Mueller, is that there’s really no change in using the disavow file after the Penguin update. His recommendation is to always use the tool with caution as always.
This is one of the densest myths about SEO. Come to think of it, if social media doesn’t have any value for SEO, why are a lot of people spend a lot of effort utilizing and optimizing it. That’s because social activity has a tremendous influence on your engagement.
While the number of likes you have on Facebook won’t influence your website’s Google search rankings, they od have a positive influence among engagement, shares. John Mueller confirms that there’s really no direct ranking signal in Google’s algorithm with regards to social media as it treats posts like any other web page. The social media posts are not treated as a ranking factor.
However, you can’t be oblivious to the fact social media has an indirect value to SEO, and consequently, search rankings. As such, social media presence helps build your brand and also drives traffic to your website, which therefore influences your rank on Google.
This is a complete bluff designed to trick first-grader SEO specialists and marketing managers with zero background on how things work in the SEO space. PageRank is the foundation of Google and it remains to be so. While Google discontinued public PageRank scores some time in 2016, it is still is a ranking factor as Google confirmed back in 2018.
This is a never-ending debate. It varies from 2%, 5%, 7%, 10%. It’s a contested topic that a lot of people spend a lot of time participating. However, the question is not really about keyword density and it makes a post natural or unnatural.
Google’s John Mueller finally debunked this myth last 2019 during a Google Webmaster Central office-hours session, saying that the focus of SEO shouldn’t be on keyword density but the readability. The content should be naturally written with quality keywords that work for the purpose of the post.
Focusing the efforts on keyword density leads to keyword stuffing, creating an unnatural content. There’s really no need keyword density rule. It all goes back to quality and how useful keywords are used for the purpose of the content.
Any IT guy can do SEO. Freelancers can do SEO. Anybody can do SEO. Why hire an SEO specialist or an SEO firm to build your SEO strategy? You can save a lot of money doing SEO yourself.
Again, this myth is purely laughable.
SEO is a multidisciplinary field and requires technical expertise. When we say technical, we’re not talking about IT. An SEO expert’s job is to put together the best SEO marketing strategy for the website and implement the strategy continuously. This requires wider knowledge of user behaviour, content, context, semantics, equity, and a ton more.
SEO is a customer-focused strategy that touches nearly everything. And while an IT person can help you with website issues, audit, loading page speed, redirects, latency, SEO issues, and other website errors, an SEO expert can help you get your website to your user funnel.
If you want to be updated about SEO and how search engines have evolved and applied complex AIs, you must learn how to distance from these SEO myths. You have to look beyond the common misconception and embark on a more learned approach when executing your SEO strategies. Variance Marketing is one company that seeks to always stay ahead of the game with complex and powerful SEO strategies for clients.