Many people think they understand SEO — but do you really?
Unless you’re a professional, you probably don’t know SEO as well as you think. In fact, you might be stuck believing in common SEO myths that are no longer true or were never true at all.
It’s easy, with the constant Google updates, to have old information. Search engine optimization is incredibly dynamic. How things were done a few years ago is quickly replaced with new strategies and techniques.
What are some common SEO myths that are floating around, and what’s the truth? Let’s take a look.
Myth: SEO Is a One-Time Project
Do you think SEO is something you can set up and forget about? If so, you probably aren’t ranking well and you might wonder why. Getting SEO right is important, but it isn’t something you can leave alone. In fact, the truth is that SEO is an ongoing process.
Not only do you need to create new content for prospects, but you also need to adapt to ongoing Google algorithm updates. There are hundreds a year, and at least a dozen each year are very significant when it comes to ranking best practices.
One of the reasons it pays to work with a professional marketing firm is that we have the resources and expertise to stay on top of all of the changes. We can keep your SEO strong and adapt to changes. We also take the time to measure what’s working and focus on the key strategies that are boosting your website.
Myth: All Backlinks Are Helpful
Of course, incoming links are a ranking signal that is very important. However, that doesn’t mean that all links are created equal. In fact, there are inbound links that can hurt your ranking, instead of helping.
Google has penalties that focus on websites with spammy or low-quality incoming links. Algorithm updates like Penguin have also targeted low-quality backlinks and dropped the ranking of websites that have them.
It’s important to get backlinks based on merit, rather than paid building schemes. If you’re buying links from directories or other non-authoritative sites, it isn’t going to help. It’ll hurt your ranking.
Myth: Google Hates My Website Or Industry
Sometimes if you’re struggling to rank well, you feel like it must be something Google has against your company or industry, specifically. However, there’s no reason to believe this. Google is a global company and doesn’t dislike any particular websites. In fact, they’ve even penalized their own properties for SEO infractions!
If you’re concerned about your ranking, get a comprehensive SEO audit. This should reveal the steps you can take in both on-site and off-site SEO.
Myth: Someone Knows the One Signal That Matters Most
It would certainly be nice if you could distill SEO and ranking down to a single signal. However, that’s not possible – Google has 10,000 signals that influence search results.
That means that not only is there no single strategy that works, but that there are dozens and dozens of best practices that can make an impact on your ranking. How can you possibly keep up?
Most small business owners can’t. That’s why Local SEO Search is here to help. We can stay on top of everything happening with online optimization and make sure that the many strategies that boost your website are in place and working well.
Myth: You Should Game the System
Unfortunately, there are some small businesses that think SEO is a game that can be won using grey or underhanded tactics. They want to game the system and fool Google into ranking their website highly.
This is a big mistake. First of all, there’s no one ranking signal that’s most important, so you can’t game the system easily. Secondly, Google is focused on rooting out cheaters and rewarding websites that are actually high-quality and authoritative.
The goal, for Google, is to give higher rankings to sites that are naturally the most relevant and popular solution to specific issues.
To win at SEO, you need to position yourself accordingly.
Myth: Keyword Density Is Key
At one time, having a specific percentage of keywords was important to ensure Google understood what your content was about. However, the algorithm has changed and Google’s technology has improved. Today, the percentage of keywords – known as keyword density – isn’t important.
You do want to target specific keywords and use them naturally throughout your content. However, you don’t want to “stuff” keywords or use them in any way that damages the readability of your website. Google will penalize your website if you do.
If you use keywords to a level that’s unusual for that specific topic, Google will consider your site as manipulative instead of a relevant resource.
Instead, focus on using natural language patterns and talk about the topic in a normal way. Google’s focus on recognizing natural language searches will benefit you.
Myth: Social Media is a Ranking Factor
This one has gone back and forth. In 2012, Google tried using social signals, but by 2014 they said it didn’t work and social signals do not impact SEO.
They tried using “authorship” where individual content creators were tracked on social media. They focused on rewarding those who shared authoritative tweets, posts, and more. However, it didn’t work out and they stopped tracking those signals.
So don’t worry too much about social media. Use links to drive traffic, because targeted traffic is always useful. But don’t think about it as an impact on SEO.
Myth: Content Doesn’t Matter for SEO
People love to get clicks by writing that “content is dead,” but it’s not and probably never will be. Content is what Google uses to determine what your website is about and what focused areas you should rank for.
Content is a measure of relevance to a topic. Don’t stop creating it. Keep your content consistent and fresh, because that’s what users want to see. And what users want to see is what Google wants to deliver to them.
Myth: Only Spot #1 Matters
At one time there were only 10 search results and a few ads. That has changed.
While it’s still true that the #1 position gets 35% of the clicks, there are other options as well. You can focus on answering questions completely and getting a featured snippet for specific questions. Those rank above the #1 result.
You can also work on local SEO and appear in Google’s Local Pack when people search for your type of business in your area. Searchers will see your location on a map, your ratings, and more. This is especially helpful because local search is a strong buying indicator.
There’s more to SEO than just the #1 result.
Let Local SEO Search Help You With Your Strategy
As you can see, there are a lot of misunderstandings and wrong information out there. The truth is that SEO is a complex ongoing effort. There are thousands of ranking signals, which means there’s always an opportunity to do better.
As a business owner, you already have a lot on your plate. You’re trying to grow your business and serve your customers. We get it! Let us take care of your SEO. To find out what we can do for you, contact us for a consultation today.