Paranoid that Google has a personal vendetta against you? Caught up in crazy keyword conspiracies? Convinced that search engines are colluding against those who rely solely on organic methods to get results?
Do not fear, we’re here to squelch your most deeply rooted SEO fears and crush false beliefs that may be hindering your success. That said, here are some common SEO myths… BUSTED!
Myth #1: Keywords are the be-all, end-all
Are keywords a highly important element of SEO? Hell yeah. Are keywords the only thing that matters when trying to rank well in search? Hell no. Modern SEO practices have become so nuanced and complex as customers evolve and demand more out of their search experience, and overall online experience in general. In the beginning, search engines did rely quite heavily on the density of keywords to determine their relevance to queries. However, because we have evolved as marketers and have found ways to cheat the system (hey, if we don’t do it, someone else will!). Due to this shift, there is a lot less focus on keywords as determining factors for relevancy.
Google, for the most part, ignores meta keywords for ranking purposes, as they do not count as content. Keywords in URLs are also not used. So don’t bother spending hours pouring over your content, trying to strategically flood it with keywords (but not too many!), because we’ve moved on.
NOTE, however, that content is extremely vital for the context of the website, so don’t think this means you can slack in that area! Just maybe relax on the keyword-stuffing.
Myth #2: SEO is a “fix it and forget it” project
If you think SEO is a one-and-done, easy little weekday walk in the park, you are gravely mistaken. There’s a reason why companies look to hire a dedicated SEO expert — it’s a full time job! As marketers, if we know anything, it’s that the only consistent thing in this industry is change. To follow suit with this, SEO needs to be considered as an ongoing effort. Processes like snippet representation, page performance, managing backlink liabilities, and signals must be continuously analyzed and improved.
Myth #3: Ranking well in search engines should be prioritized over customer experience
SEO is one of those things that has taken some of us in an… unfortunate direction. And that direction leads right towards extremely shitty content. Some have become so focused on stuffing all the keywords they can fit into one, 500-word blog post, that everything starts sounding like it was written by an alien attempting to communicate in English, but he hasn’t quite nailed it yet. Develop the keywords around the content, not the other way around. At the end of the day, you may be the top spot on Google search with hundreds of thousands of visitors a day, but your conversion rate will never be where you want it to be if your content is awful.
Myth #4: It’s all about the freshness
While you certainly don’t want your content to be stale, the quest for “freshness” shouldn’t leave you in a bundle of anxious dismay. Your freshness factor should rely mostly on user intent. Are you a fast-paced news site who’s visitors anticipate stacks upon stacks of new content every day? Then, yeah, you’re gonna have to keep things fresh. But if you’re a simple e-commerce site, just trying to sell products to customers, you don’t need to be pumping out droves of new blog posts and updating page copy every 2 seconds. As long as you’re staying on top of providing relevant, valuable information to your customers and audience, you’re chillin’.
Myth #5: The SEO game is fair
All is NOT fair in the game of SEO and war. It’s a myth that every website/company is in equal competition for queries. Unfortunately for the little guys, SEO hasn’t been fair for quite some time, and will likely never go back to being that way. Because the way that Google decides on who “wins” bid wars on keywords has become a lot more intricate, it isn’t just about throwing money around. SEO signals like page performance, technical setup, SERP real estate, backlink profile, etc are all involved in the decision-making process.
Interestingly enough however, Google does something that is referred to as a “honeymoon period”, which allows newly registered domains to rank well, despite lacking in SEO signals. It’s crucial to take advantage of this time period, because sites that do well have a better chance of being competitive in query selection.
Why it’s important to stay on your toes out there
Because myths are so often presented as facts, it’s always suggested that you do your own research. Never take anything at face value and always seek out numerous sources. SEO isn’t something you want to get wrong, because done well, it can really make a difference in the success of your website.