AT Integrated Blog

10 SEO Myths That Everyone Is Tired Of Hearing

10/9/2015 Back

You've heard the myths before about SEO. We're going to dissect a few of the bigger ones and try to clarify what they mean in the world of Search Engine Optimization.

  1. SEO doesn't work.
    • More than half of US consumers consult a search engine before they make a purchase.
      • Think about when you have considered purchasing something in the past. Where do you go online to look up information on the different types of products available? A search engine, you say? Now, think about how many times you've clicked over to that 2nd page of results…. What about the 3rd page?
      • More than half of all searches result in a click within the first page. Those sites on the first page are there because they have SEO working for them. 
    • "I have a high PageRank, so I don't need SEO."
      • NEWS FLASH: Google put PageRank at the BOTTOM of the indexing algorithm.
      • PageRank is still part of the algorithm when it comes to relevant search results, but it doesn't come first anymore for a few reasons:
        • A few bad apples ruined it by selling links to make money.
        • It's easy to manipulate.
        • It doesn't correlate search engine rankings the way it should.
        • PageRank toolbar isn't going to be updated again, so the metrics won't be reliable.
  2. SEO can be automated. It doesn't need a human factor.
    • Good SEO can't be automated.
    • Automated SEO is considered a bad practice and can feel "spammy". It can also put you on Google's radar in a negative way.
    • Proper SEO includes managing and synchronizing many processes that are always shifting or changing. It's okay to use tools for managing, tracking, and performing research, but these are only for providing insight.
  3. If you fill a website with content using the same few keywords many times, it will make you rank higher.
    • Quality is always better than quantity.
      • If you create quality content, you will get much higher ranking from "long-tail keywords" that you didn't even consider ranking for. When a consumer goes to a search engine, most of the time, they are searching for a specific item. They don't always use just one search word. A lot of times, it is an entire phrase that is entered.
      • You want your content to match a visitor's needs because that is what grabs their attention and keeps it. You can't get that from a singular keyword or two.
    • "Keyword Stuffing" is when content is littered with an unnatural amount of keywords in ratio to the content.
      • It makes the content look spammy, difficult to read, and usually doesn't flow well.
      • Google's website crawler is too smart to be tricked by this tactic. It can tell what your pages are about by analyzing the content, not by the amount of times you use the same keywords.
    • Google is moving towards using an algorithm based on content rather than actual words.
      • You should have quality content on your site that has a focus on ideas, interests, and information that is useful to visitor.
      • Your content should be relevant to your site and the other sites you are trying to rank with.
  4. Links are the #1 Factor for Google rankings/more links are better than more content.
    • Linking should be more about quality than quantity.
      • Having a few links to some amazing content is better than having a few dozen links to subpar, spammy content.
      • If you have quality content, it should attract links over time.
    • Google can & will penalize you if it finds that your site has exchanged links with a lot of low-quality sites.
  5. SEO only needs to be done once.
    • SEO is not a onetime task for any website. It is an ongoing engagement that should be monitored on a regular basis.
    • There is a growing list for any SEO refresher that includes:
      • Link Degradation
      • Creating new content frequently to keep visitor traffic up and to give Google new content to crawl.
      • New or updated search engine algorithms
      • Keeping up with the competition
      • Outdated Content
    • Performing SEO on any website is a proactive course of action.
  6. You don't need Social Media to rank well.
    • Social Media Metrics ARE measurable.
    • Google does not use metrics from social media sites to rank websites directly…
    • ….but Google CAN measure the content distribution which leads to link clicks and sharing…. Which leads to more visibility for your website.
    • When your site is shared on any form of social media, you will notice a marked increase in search traffic.
    • You can rank your site by making your target audiences' experience with your social media accounts enjoyable. By aiming your social activity at the right group of visitors, you will increase visits, increase engagement, and build a reputation.
  7. Having an XML Sitemap will boost your rankings.
    • Having an XML sitemap will not boost your rankings. What it WILL do is make your site crawlable.
    • Sitemaps tell Google what pages to index for easy crawling.
    • When you publish fresh content, XML sitemap generators send the newer version of your site to Google, so it can be crawled again.
  8. More pages are always better.
    • Google does prefer bigger, more visible websites, but that shouldn't imply that you have to bog down your website with a bunch of useless, spammy pages to get noticed.
    • "Fluff" pages filled with duplicate content are frowned upon and will not help with SEO.
    • It is a myth that your rank will be higher if you have an abundance of indexed pages. It is better to have fewer pages with genuine content.
    • Larger websites can quickly become outdated, less engaging, and more difficult to apply SEO. If you're not keeping your website updating and providing users with fresh, engaging content, then it doesn't matter whether you have 100 pages or 10 pages.
  9. Longer content is always better and should be over 500 words.
    • Longer content is not always better. Quality over quantity is always going to be better.
    • If the subject you are writing about can be covered in 300 words, don't fill it in with fluff and repetition just to make is 500 words.
    • Write content to engage your target audience so that they hold an interest in your website. Don't drag on and on about a subject because you think you have to meet a certain goal. Your audience can tell if you are trying too hard and they will lose interest in any sort of interaction with your brand.
    • Google does not count words on a page to determine the page's ranking.
    • On the flip side of that, you will notice that most high ranking pages have longer content. That doesn't mean you won't rank if your content is shorter. It simply means that they are providing their audience with engaging content AND long content.
  10. Keywords need to be an exact match (aka "The Keyword Is Dead").
    • The Keyword is not dead, it has simply matured into something that has the ability to always be evolving. It has become a fluid instead of a solid.
    • Instead of searching strictly for one specific keyword, Google's algorithm can detect synonyms and related words. Write in a way that informs the reader. You don't have to match exact keywords because Google is actually pretty smart.
    • Varied content is a good thing. Not every person will search for the same phrase. There will always be variation. When Google crawls your website, it is actually looking for that variation. It is making sure that you have a human audience in mind and not just a machine.

There is a lot of work that goes into good Search Engine Optimization practices. There are also many other factors. The important thing to remember is to keep things fresh, interesting, and aimed at human interaction.

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