Top 10 Myths About SEO and the Truths Behind Them
There are many falsities about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that circulate, myths that could negatively affect companies in several ways if business owners believe them and let them affect their operations. Companies need to understand what works and what doesn’t in the world of SEO, as a lot of misinformation tends to make its way across the Internet. The myths also change as the SEO landscape changes, making it even harder to discern fact from fiction.
Here are some of the most popular current SEO myths, along with the realities that business owners should understand.
1. SEO is Inconsequential
Some people may be inclined to believe that SEO is entirely unnecessary for their businesses. Certain people might say to themselves, “I don’t need SEO; my company’s been doing the same thing for years and we’re doing fine.” The truth is that if businesses want to have the most online visibility, they need to implement effective SEO strategies. You can write all of the content you want that’s rich in detail, but if it isn’t using current SEO practices, Google is much less likely to put you on top.
2. Search Engine Ranking Position Doesn’t Matter
These days, having your business rank on page one in Google is highly significant. It doesn’t matter if you have decades of experience or a beautiful website if your page isn’t showing up in search engines. If users perform a search for a service or product and find a business among the top rankings, it tells them that the company is credible and experienced enough to give them what they want, and it indicates that Google trusts them.
3. New Content is Constantly Needed
The key to doing well in SEO isn’t writing new content all the time, but rather producing “fresh” content, which entails original writing that’s informative, up-to-date and engaging. If older blog posts or webpages contain outdated content, you should make sure they’re regularly updated to provide more relevant information. It’s all about quality vs. quantity when it comes to content.
4. Meta Descriptions Influence Ranking
This is also untrue. Meta descriptions are simply descriptions of roughly 155 characters that tell people what’s on the webpage when they perform a Google search. Stuffing them with keywords won’t influence ranking, although meta descriptions can indirectly affect ranking by persuading users to visit your website, establishing your website as an authority through a high click-through rate. Meta titles, on the other hand, are still important for ranking purposes.
5. Paid Search Improves SEO Traffic
Some might think that pay-per-click (PPC) strategies affect SEO traffic, but the fact is that SEO and PPC traffic are mostly independent of each other. In fact, websites that have experienced higher SEO or PPC traffic tend to notice the opposite occurring with the other.
6. XML Sitemaps Help with Ranking
While an XML sitemap is a vital element in any website for navigation and indexing purposes, it hardly affects ranking. If you create a new webpage or blog post, Google can update the XML sitemap with the new pages and submit them to search engines for indexing. Beyond that, however, XML sitemaps don’t serve a purpose for SEO.
7. Internal Links Don’t Do Anything
Internal linking is actually incredibly important for webpages. Google is able to see the links and allow them to influence your website’s performance in rankings, and it also makes it easier for visitors to explore your website beyond the top navigation. This is why you should regularly link to authority pages or other articles on your website when writing new blog posts or webpages.
8. Google Won’t Be Able to Locate Low-Quality Links
This is another false belief that can seriously damage a business’s online reputation. If you have any bad or spammy links in your offsite or onsite content, Google will be able to find them and subsequently punish your website. Spamming links is considered black hat SEO, and is something you should avoid doing at all costs. There was a time when spamming links worked, but those days are long gone.
9. Backlinking Always Helps
Even if you have good links on many different websites, if those websites are all low-authority or not relevant, they won’t help boost your website’s ranking very well. What you want are backlinks that connect your website with other reputable and related websites, which indicates to Google that your website is trustworthy. Again in this case, quality is vastly more important than quantity.
10. Domain Extensions Make a Difference
While .com domains are the most common, Google doesn’t care. Regardless of whether your website is a .org, .edu, .net or other extension, it won’t help or hurt your rankings in search engines. Whatever your extension is, it’s the title of the domain itself that can affect search engine rankings, and should be a main concern for people who want to improve their SEO.
There are many other myths that tend to affect businesses negatively in their SEO campaigns, but these are some of the most common misconceptions. If you can avoid believing any of this when implementing an SEO strategy, and understand the realities that go into a solid campaign, your business is much more likely to succeed online. A trustworthy SEO company can help make sure your business adheres to the rules of today’s SEO environment, giving you the ability to better establish your business as an industry leader.
Ben Graves is an online marketing associate at Clickx, performing various SEO tasks for clients in order to help improve their online exposure and traffic, and to help establish them as leaders in their industries. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.