Untrue SEO myths have spread like a wildfire of misinformation being passed off as fact. There are people that simply don’t understand it, but others actually believe that SEO doesn’t exist or influence search results. We’re going to uncover the truth behind the most common misunderstandings to shed light on the significance of effective SEO.
1. SEO is unethical
A major problem with misunderstanding SEO as a marketing strategy is that website owners assume it’s a scam. Sure, there are plenty of unethical individuals that are happy to take money with the empty promise of a high Google ranking. Inserting a few keywords and calling it SEO isn’t going to help any website owner come out on top.
Organic traffic will always win in the SEO world, but it is not going to be quick or effortless. Every website owner should strive for consist traffic that shows a steady increase in a month-to-month comparison. SEO does play a part in ensuring that clicks are relevant to a search, and new traffic is only the beginning of the rewards for a consistent effort.
2. It will be detected by Google
The days of stuffing keywords and URLs to draw visitors has been effectively phased out by Google. Uninformed website owners still try to use this outdated method with the expectation of heavy traffic, and they end up confused in the face of the absolute failure.
Google is not a person, but it has come a long way to actually mimic human behavior. It would be cruel and unusual to employ a real person to sort through millions of similar pages, so Google and other search engine developers are using algorithms to evaluate and rank content. Site content provided in the top ranking results must be high-quality, unique, and valuable to the person doing the search. In most cases, a good website that implements smart SEO practices has all of the qualities to become successful
3. Effective SEO is a one-and-done situation
There are so many reasons that SEO needs to be a continual investment to remain successful. Freshness is going to wear off and cause a decline in organic rankings when Google makes occasional updates their algorithm. Here are a few reasons that you could see page rankings take a sudden dive:
- Newer pages are published – When your main traffic-boosting keywords are being used on a newer page, Google is going to view this as the new authority.
- Link degradation – It is rare that a link would be considered evergreen, so over time you can expect that outdated links will cause your website to become irrelevant.
- Algorithm updates – Google changes frequently to improve the experience of their users by moving forward with current technology. A lot of search engine users are using a mobile device, making it almost impossible to succeed without offering a mobile version of your website. This is especially true as Google launched an update in April that specifically boosted the ranking of websites that are mobile-friendly.
- Old Content – No one is going to visit an outdated page that is offering information that is no longer accurate.
- Your competition is pulling ahead – Page rankings are competitive, and you have to assume that the competition is always trying to push ahead. Assuming that a good, relevant page is going to keep you ahead a year from now is simply foolish strategy.
SEO can succeed long-term without much monitoring in very rare situations, such a small town business with no nearby competition. As long as the information is accurate and detailed, there would be no need to continue making updates or changes. The majority of website owners must commit to ongoing efforts if they want to see consistent and growing traffic.
4. New algorithms ignore or penalize link building
Far too many people misunderstood a statement about link building made in an interview with a Google trend analyst. John Mueller simply stated that he would avoid focusing on link building because it is only one part of the algorithm. Link building itself is not bad or in violation of any Google rules, and they will not penalize websites that use it.
Link authority is very important, as well as the anchor text that persuades a user to click. Legitimate link building works when it’s actually relevant to the person seeking information on a specific website. Link should be used in a natural way so that it contributes to the success of SEO practices.
The real issue to avoid is using non-relevant links as a manipulative tactic. There is a good chance that doing so will lead to detection by the algorithm, and the page ranking will suffer.
5. Ranking #1 with a specific keyword is the essential goal
Plenty of great, authoritative websites thrive on being featured second or third in the search engine list because they are offering great content. SEO keyword stuffing used to pull decent traffic years ago, but users didn’t find any value in these websites that contained no real information.
You should continue to integrate keywords and phrases specific to your content that will help a person locate the page, but don’t drain yourself trying to get on top. Focus on quality content. Visitors may actually find you from searching long-tail keywords that you didn’t even consider a part of your original strategy.
6. Google cut ties with SEO
A lot of changes have taken place in the way that Google and other search engines achieve their page rankings to benefit the user. Focus has been pulled away from manipulative SEO because it didn’t benefit anyone but the website creators wanting to see numbers. False popularity based on using outdated SEO tricks is a thing of the past, and we’re more than happy to see it phased out. Google still has a relationship with SEO that does help with popularity and page rankings when done correctly.
Google actually published a starter guide for those learning SEO techniques so that great pages get the search visibility they deserve. They also feature an article recommending that page builders consider the benefits of hiring an ethical SEO early in the development stages.
It’s best advised to watch out for SEO firms that do any of the following:
- Send unsolicited spam offering their services
- Claim that they can guarantee #1 ranking
- Advertise “free-for-all” links, or offer to submit your page into a large number of search engines
- Use secretive practices with no explanation of their techniques
7. Answers are replacing website links
Users that ask Google a specific question are often provided with a quick answer in the place of website links. This is alarming to SEOs that are relying on their content to be the authority on a certain topic because they may no longer be needed. It has already made an impact on websites that offer information like weather or song lyrics because the user will have no need to look further.
Fortunately, only an average of 5% of Google searches are generating these answer boxes to users. In almost 75% of these answer boxes, Google provides a reference link to an authoritative website for the user that does want to click through. For example, a searcher may feel satisfied to know their current temperature, but continue to the linked website to read about their extended forecast. Evidence continues to show that people still value visiting a real website when they desire more than a simple answer.
8. Successful SEO relies on tricky methods
Manipulative SEO is not worth the time or effort it takes to eventually become detected and penalized by Google. A website developer or marketer that doesn’t truly understand SEO is going to assume that it’s as simple as spamming keywords into the title and content. This type of trick would not increase the placement in search results, and Google may actually decide to remove the website altogether.
True SEO is implemented to organize content so that the person browsing is having a more satisfying experience. There are a lot of different ways to increase the value of a specific website, so you will find the most reward in optimizing your content with multiple techniques.
Focus on the following tips throughout the creation of your website:
- Use self mentions and internal page links to increase traffic and ensure exposure to the intended audience
- Brainstorm user needs to reverse engineer content before it’s created
- Combine the effort of being discovered by search engines and real humans
- Consider the layout and organization of the website to enhance user accessibility
- Optimize website speed so that poor performance is not diminished
- Maintain technical standards so that content is properly categorized
- Structure data in a way that it concise and easily understood
- Take advantage of the way that search engines generate their snippets in a search
- Simplify the sharing of your content on social media
9. The importance of PageRank
In theory, PageRank could’ve been a really reliable way for Google to determine the popularity of a specific website. The basic idea was to provide a ranking to every single page from 1-10, with the highest being most authoritative. It was a big deal at first because this single indicator gave creators a clear gauge of their own popularity. Google’s algorithm has evolved in a way that has become more advanced and complex than using only one ranking system.
There are those that believe PageRank is completely dead, but it’s more likely a much smaller part of the entire algorithm at this point. The Toolbar PageRank hasn’t seen an update since the end of 2013, and John Mueller said in an interview that it will probably never see another one. It was too easy to manipulate this system and SEO professionals found that it wasn’t worth studying. With Google going silent on the use of PageRank, it should phase out manipulative link selling and other shady purposes.
10. SEO isn’t influenced by social media
It’s public knowledge that Google does not use Twitter followers or Facebook shares in the ranking of websites, however, this doesn’t mean that social media activity isn’t important. Content distribution is huge in the SEO world because it’s all about exposure. Not only does it put the content right in front of readers, it’s actually being distributed to the relevant target audience. By using links and mentions, a website will see in increase in unique visits and user engagement. More people will begin searching for theweb site and continue sharing high-quality content in a repeating cycle.