Whether you’re new to SEO or you’re a long-time veteran, you’ve certainly heard your share of opinions on the practice. Keyword density matters according to one person, while another claims it doesn’t. One person proclaims Facebook to be pointless; another says it’s essential to your marketing campaign.
It can get downright exhausting to listen to these kinds of things. So today, we wanted to take the top 7 SEO myths we hear, and debunk them for you. Can you think of any others? Let us know!
1. SEO isn’t a long-term investment
“I did SEO once. Isn’t that good enough?”
Nope. In order for SEO to work, you have to keep at it. If you lost weight once, would you expect it to stay off forever? No. You have to make lifestyle changes to keep yourself healthy and trim, and the same goes for your website: If you want to grow your traffic, you have to keep promoting, keep updating, and keep connecting with your customers.
2. SEO is a scam
This usually ties in with the above concern. When people aren’t seeing their sites at #1 on Google within three days of working with an SEO service, they start panicking. Surely, because you’re paying for SEO, it should be done right away… right? If not, you’re just being scammed by some shady, fly-by-night operation. What a ripoff!
No, that’s not exactly true. While there are some out there who seek to take advantage of small business owners, that can be said about any industry. There are always going to be “bad apples” in the bunch, and there’s nothing you can do about that. What you can do, however, is learn how to spot them. Don’t think that just because someone is bad at their job, that all of us are!
3. Google doesn’t take any cues from social media
You’ve probably heard it before: Social media doesn’t help you rank in Google, because Google doesn’t care about your social media updates. While this is technically true in that Google does not care about how many fans or retweets or “likes” you have, that doesn’t mean that your social media sites don’t help your presence.
Confused? Let us explain.
If you follow best practices for your social media accounts, when people search for your company, your profiles should show up. Now, this might not directly affect the ranking of your website, but it gives people who search for you a whole host of options to connect with you. Furthermore, when people share your content via social media, it could bring attention to your work and allow others to contact you and/or build links to your site naturally. And these things will affect your ranking.
4. Link building is pointless now
It seems that every so often, someone starts proclaiming link building to be dead (or SEO, or Facebook, or viral marketing, or… you get the picture) and then tons of people follow suit, crowing the same soundbites everywhere. But link building isn’t pointless. It never has been, and it probably won’t be.
Google does take ranking and relevancy signals from sites that link to you. If you have done a good job building a network of peers the natural and honest way, you have nothing to worry about. Forging relationships and providing fresh content are things that Google wants you to do. But if you buy links or pay someone to implement other black-hat SEO techniques (black-hat meaning bad; Google will punish your site if you’re caught using these methods), you’ll pay for it in the long run. This kind of link building is pointless; not the honest way.
5. You need to include a keyword density of x to rank
2%? 5%? You’ve heard it before: If you don’t maintain a certain keyword density in your content, Google’s going to overlook your site in favor of someone who does it correctly.
There’s definitely a nugget of truth to using keywords in your content: As the search engines crawl your page, they look for phrases consisting of related words. They can then conclude that the site is about a specific topic.
But that doesn’t mean you have to use the exact same instances of keywords a certain number of times. If you try to stuff too many keywords into your content, you’ll end up looking like a spammer. Instead, try to focus on writing clear content that revolves around one topic. So if you’re a nail salon, try writing a post about top nail trends of 2015. Or you could write about the top three brands of nail polish to try this spring. Do you see how clearly those topics are defined? By writing content around such a focused topic, you’ll naturally use language that cues search engines to look for certain keywords and keyphrases. You can also consciously make sure to include your keywords a few times, just for good measure.
6. Anchor text all keywords
This actually used to be an SEO truth. But then you started seeing sites with the same keyword or keyphrase repeated over and over and over, and every single time, the keyword led to the same page.
Google came down on that practice pretty hard.
Nowadays, it’s better to include links to your other pages (or to external sources, if applicable) by simply linking phrases like “click here” or “read more”. It’s not that it’s necessarily bad to link using keyword-rich phrases, but it can appear to Google that you’re linking specifically for the purpose of SEO, rather than providing valuable content for your readers. So try not to overdo it, and just link to things in a natural way rather than forcing it too hard.
7. Paid search will increase your organic rankings
Paid search can help you drive traffic to your site for the duration of your campaign.
But there is no data saying that paid search will help you rank organically.
Think about it: Companies with millions to spend on advertising would have it in the bag. Companies with smaller budgets couldn’t even compete. There’s already competition for pay-per-click bids; but that just helps Google determine which advertisements to show first. So until search engines decide to allow paid search to influence rankings, you can safely assume that this is not something you need to worry about.
Which SEO myths bug you the most? Let us know in the comments!
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