As long as SEO has been a thing people have said to do X to get good rankings. Many times they are right, but sometimes the coincidences and anecdotal evidence sticks in peoples memories. These myths and misconceptions are sometimes hard to shake, so what should be ignored?
Most of these have numerous caveats, but below are some of the more persistent myths around SEO.
Link Building Is Dead
This myth has been around for a few years after notorious Google algorithm updates which punished spammy link building. Then a lot of link building turned to guest blogging which then also died (Or did it? See further down).
The reality is that these things still happen, and link building is still important to websites, it just has to be done more honestly and intelligently.
Making links for the sake of it and buying thousands for a few dollars is still a bad idea. If you buy en-masse or use really low quality websites then one of two things will probably happen:
- The links will be added to sites which aren’t even indexed by search engines and will be redundant.
- The links will be detrimental to your site due to their low quality, possibly harming your search engine rankings.
When writing articles for posting on sites other than your own you need to keep in mind the audience and bring something new or relevant to the table. Creating content for the sake of it isn’t useful and will often be ignored.
Influencers, YouTube sponsors and sponsored posts are seemingly everywhere and there will be very few blogs or sites which haven’t had external writers with SEO in mind, but these should be clear and genuine rather than trying to ‘game’ Google’s algorithm. With their huge crawling network and AI capabilities you probably aren’t going to get one over the search engines!
Meta Tags Are Outdated
A bizarrely persistent myth which seems to have come about after the phrase “Content is king” became popular. The idea being that all you need to rank is content and everything else can go out the window including your title tags.
It’s just wrong. Do you not want to change all your title tags to just your brand name and see how you rank? No?
Thought not. The title tag on a page is basically the fundamental guide to what the page is about and everything else is behind it. Yes you can rank with badly optimised title tags if you have other optimisations to carry your page, but you’ll never get anywhere for generic keywords if you do.
Exact Match Domains Are Best
This is another almost archaic method, but it did work for a good number of years in search engines’ early days.
There is still some anecdotal evidence of exact match domains ranking well, but this is nearly always due to the historic domain authority and optimisations which allow them to rank.
You’d probably struggle to purchase exact match domains now, unless you get really niche. Good branding and SEO optimisations will give better results than spending exorbitant amounts 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’ve not been listening…
Guest Blogging Is Dead
Similar to the aforementioned link building (and how it isn’t dead), guest blogging is essentially just under a different name.
Getting someone to write content and then getting it on a site which isn’t yours is fundamentally guest blogging. Curated content, sponsored content – whatever the moniker, it’s essentially guest blogging.
There is more to it now and there are wider implications than your rankings going up, 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 because you don’t have paid ads. It’s just that your competitors are paying to get ahead of you.
Organic SEO and Paid Search both need budgets in basically all businesses now, even if you are just ensuring competitors aren’t poaching your business by bidding on your name.
This makes them work hand in hand and can make them appear to be related, but the reality is that better optimised pages result in better quality scores and improved conversions.
Optimise Once And You’re Done
A frustration for all SEO professionals. You work hard on a site, get everything implemented and then the client leaves as the rankings are up and the “SEO is done”.
But then your competitors continue their work, algorithms change, you have new pages, etc. All of these things result in both continued SEO work and analysis. We live in a data led world so you need to make sure you are making regular checks and the required adjustments needed to stay ahead of the competition.
SEO Is Dead
Just no – and it won’t be as long as you have competition in your business.
In an ideal world each website is made equally, all pages are created fully formed, optimised and working perfectly. Users search and find you and buy your products. Easy?
If you have no competition then this might not be too much of a reach, but for most you need to make changes, test and find out what works to convert. It is a vicious cycle, but if competitors are doing it and you want a bigger slice of the pie, then you need to do it too. This is the same with all marketing aspects, so why not your digital marketing and SEO?