As long as SEO was one thing people said to do X to get good rankings. Many times they are right, but sometimes the coincidences and anecdotal evidence stick in people’s memories. These myths and misconceptions are sometimes hard to dispel, so what should we ignore?
Most of them come with a lot of caveats, but below are some of the more persistent SEO myths.
Link building is dead
This myth has been around for a few years after Google’s notorious algorithm updates that punished unwanted link building. Then a lot of link building turned to guest blogging which then died (Or did it? See below).
The reality is that these things always happen and link building is still important for websites, it just needs to be done more honestly and smarter.
Linking for fun and buying thousands for a few dollars is always a bad idea. If you are buying in bulk or using very poor quality websites, one of the following two things is likely to happen:
- The links will be added to sites that are not even indexed by search engines and will be redundant.
- The links will be detrimental to your site due to their low quality, which could hurt your search engine rankings.
When writing articles to publish on sites other than your own, you need to keep the audience in mind and bring something new or relevant to the table. Creating content for fun is not helpful and will often be ignored.
Influencers, YouTube sponsors, and sponsored posts are seemingly everywhere and there will be very few blogs or sites that haven’t had external writers with SEO in mind, but these need to be clear and genuine rather than trying to « play » with Google’s algorithm. With their huge crawl network and AI capabilities, you probably won’t get one on search engines!
Meta tags are obsolete
A strangely persistent myth that seems to have arisen after the phrase « Content is king » became popular. The idea being that all you need to categorize is content and everything else can pop out the window, including your title tags.
This is just wrong. Don’t want to change all of your title tags to just your brand name and see how you rank? No?
I thought no. The title tag on a page is basically the fundamental guide to the topic of the page and everything else is behind it. Yes, you can rank with poorly optimized title tags if you have other optimizations to carry your page, but you will never get generic keywords if you do.
Exact match domains are best
This is another almost archaic method, but it worked for a good number of years in the early days of search engines.
There is still anecdotal evidence that exact match domains rank well, but this is almost always due to historical domain authority and the optimizations that allow them to rank.
You would probably have a hard time buying exact match domains now, unless you got really specialized. Good branding and SEO optimizations will work better than spending exorbitant amounts of money on the « perfect » URL. When you want to buy new clothes, you probably think of ASOS and the like, not www.buynewclothes.com – which is currently available if you haven’t listened …
Guest blogs are dead
Similar to the aforementioned link building (and how it is not death), guest blogs are basically under a different name.
Getting someone to write some content and then put it on a site that isn’t yours is basically a guest blog. Organized content, sponsored content – whatever the nickname, these are basically guest blogs.
It’s more than that now, and the implications are broader than increasing your rankings, but influencers, YouTube videos, and brand ambassadors are basically guest blogs with images and videos.
Paid search improves organic search
More cynical SEOs may think this is the case, but Google isn’t penalizing you for not having paid ads. It’s just that your competition is paying to get ahead of you.
Both organic SEO and paid search need budgets in pretty much every business now, even if you’re just making sure that competitors aren’t poaching your business by bidding on your name.
This makes them work hand in hand and may make them appear as related, but the reality is that better optimized pages translate to better quality scores and improved conversions.
Optimize once and you’re done
A frustration for all SEO professionals. You work hard on a site, you put it all in, and then the client leaves as the ranking goes up and the “SEO is done”.
But then your competitors keep working, the algorithms change, you have new pages, etc. All of these things translate into both continuous SEO work and analysis. We live in a data-driven world, so you need to make sure that you are performing regular checks and making any necessary adjustments to stay ahead of the competition.
SEO is dead
No, and it won’t be as long as you have competition in your business.
In an ideal world, every website is created equally, all pages are created fully formed, optimized, and performing flawlessly. Users search for you, find you and buy your products. Easy?
If you don’t have any competition this might not be too big a deal, but for the most part you need to make changes, test, and find out what works to convert. It’s a vicious cycle, but if the competition is doing it and you want a bigger slice of the pie, then you have to too. It’s the same with all marketing aspects, so why not your digital marketing and SEO?