Don’t Fall For These Common SEO Myths

Search engine optimization has always been regarded as the foundational method for generating traffic for your website. While SEO has enormous potential for elevating your online presence, you have to be able to distinguish the right implementation from the wrong way. There’s a lot of information out there that’s either flat out false or was once true but has since changed due to modifications in the search engine algorithms. Some of these methods are not only wrong but may even get your site penalized or banned altogether.

SEO Myth #1: Social can replace link building/content marketing

A prevalent myth circulating in the past few years is that SEO is dead. Some are now advocating that the practice be banned altogether in favor of more contemporary techniques like building leads through social media. While social networking is very much a part of online marketing, in no way has it replaced search engine optimization. The latter is still very much useful and should be used in conjunction with social media strategies for maximum exposure.

SEO Myth #2: More links are always better

Another persistent myth is that SEO is a numbers game, especially with respects to backlinks. The belief is that more backlinks translates to higher site authority, and therefore, a higher placement in the search engine results page. It is far more effective to focus on quality over quantity. In other words, one or two links to high authority websites will do your own site far better good than 50 backlinks to lowly ranked sites. A good strategy for linking to high ranking Web pages is to simply contact site administrators and ask if you could submit to the site’s blog as guest blogger. The site will get free content while you get a strong backlink, or “link juice” as some in the online marketing community like to call it.

When it comes to keyword usage, some people still hold onto the idea that more is better. Keyword stuffing is a no-no, though some erroneously believe that if they can squeeze certain phrases into an article X amount of times that it would somehow do wonders for their site. Search engines have been known to penalize sites with blatantly keyword-stuffed content. Not only is the practice bad for SEO, it’s also bad for readers. Overusing keywords creates awkward sentence structures and affects readability. This will ultimately only hurt your reputation.

When it comes to keywords, a good practice is to include the select phrase once in the title, in the first paragraph, in at least one sub-heading, and two or three times in the body of the text. Keywords don’t also have to be exact every time. In other words, if the keywords are “Los Angeles roofing,” a variation like “roofers in Los Angeles” is acceptable as well.

SEO Myth #3: SEO is all about the keywords

Yet another myth is that SEO is all about keywords. This may have been the case in the early days of search engine optimization, but has certainly changed over the years. The search engine algorithm now takes into consideration multiple factors when indexing websites. It was established that social networking is an important aspect of online marketing. Well, not only is it important, but it’s also linked to SEO. When websites are evaluated, factors like social media shares play an enormous role. This is why all content should include clickable social media icons where readers can quickly share or “like” your article.

Contrary to what some may believe, a website’s age has no bearing on its ranking. Search algorithms do not operate on a seniority system. It’s a combination of the content, backlinks, traffic, and social media activity that determine the site’s overall position. Due to the belief that age matters, some people have even went so far as purchasing an existing domain and “flipping” the site. Of course, this may certainly help if the site is already well established, though it doesn’t make an ounce of difference if the site is and has always been a lowly ranked one due to lack of work on the former Web owner’s part.

What about Meta descriptions? Does it help to include one with a keyword? Meta descriptions are useful in the sense that it gives readers a synopsis of what they can expect before clicking on an article. While it’s beneficial in that sense, it has no value from a search engine optimization standpoint. It was at one point but no longer holds any weight due to spammers abusing the practice. The same holds true for meta tags and meta authors. By all means, include these if you wish, but don’t do it thinking that it will give your site a boost.

SEO Myth #4: I can pay my way to the top of organic

One of the biggest SEO myths of all is that you can buy your way to a better search engine placement. Some people have resorted to buying page views or social media shares believing that it will trick the search engine into believing that their site is popular. The search algorithm is quite sophisticated and can often tell whether a site’s traffic and social media activity is being generated organically or artificially. If the latter, you risk getting your site penalized. Other people resort heavily to pay-per-click methods believing that clicks to a sponsored site help raise its placement. It actually doesn’t as PPC and SEO are two distinct and separate methods.

Search engine optimization is a complex process that continuously changes to suit the current trend of the day and eliminate abuse. If you want better page ranking, the best way to achieve it is through the latest practices and doing so organically. You can’t cheat your way to better rankings or by sticking to long outdated methods.

Scott Cain

As Chief Marketing Officer, Scott oversees all digital marketing strategy and implementation.

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