Search engine optimization (SEO) has been the hottest topic in the digital world for almost a decade already. And for a good reason – numerous studies prove the importance of this strategy for organizations and individuals who do most of their work online. Here are just a few stats to support our statement:
- Higher rankings for organic search results is crucial because up to 80% of users completely ignore paid advertisements;
- Over 90% of online experiences begin with a search engine;
- The top five search results on Google get 70% of the clicks;
- Over 60% of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority.
In such circumstances, it’s not surprising to see so many people discussing the subject of SEO and suggesting all sorts of optimization techniques. However, some of these individuals are everything but SEO experts and they often stick to the common misconceptions in this niche.
Webmasters don’t want some fake SEO guru to influence their online strategies, so they try to distinguish between true and false optimization tactics. If you are one of those webmasters, keep reading this post to discover the 15 most common SEO myths that are never going to die.
SEO Is Impossible to Figure Out
We all know that Google constantly changes ranking algorithms and adds new features, but it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to set the right SEO strategy. How come this myth is so widespread? Well, it happens mostly because SEO providers use it as an excuse to justify failure. While it is true that algorithm changes are frequent, they are certainly not impossible to figure out.
1. Content Is King
You can rarely ever read a marketing-related article without seeing the famous motto “content is king!” Let us be clear about one thing: content is fundamental if you want to build a trustworthy website, but it’s not the single most important SEO component. Content creators at A-writer.com explain it briefly: “Our job is to write outstanding posts, but we know it cannot make any difference if we don’t add more elements to the equation, including links, keywords, and many other technical details.”
2. Page Load Speed Is Not Too Important
If there is only one thing that makes the Internet so powerful, it is probably the speed of operations. Users can conduct searches and find answers in real-time, so don’t believe the myth that page load speed is not too important. On the contrary, users expect websites to load within two or three seconds the most, so you better test it to improve performance.
3. Links Are Becoming Useless
Another misconception you can hear these days is that inbound links are becoming obsolete. Don’t ask us how and why – we just don’t know! However, we do know that backlinks still play a major role in SEO because they prove the authority of your website. It’s just common sense: if no one links to your posts, why would search engines consider it’s content to be good?
4. Keyword Density Is Critical
Once upon a time, you could simply overload articles with keywords and hope for a higher search engine ranking. But the days of keyword stuffing are long gone and it’s now almost impossible to determine the best keyword density. According to blog writers at Essay Geeks, Google got smarter and started calculating quality: “Sometimes we even write papers without specific keywords in mind, but still manage to rank high due to the sheer quality of the post.”
5. You Have to Submit a Website
A lot of wannabe optimization gurus will tell you to submit your site to the search engines in order to ensure maximum visibility. But the year is 2019 and you don’t have to do it anymore. Search engines are smart enough to detect websites quickly upon launching, so don’t believe those SEO site submission agents who are convincing you to pay for this service.
6. There’s No Need to Build a Sitemap
Simple website architecture helps Google to discover content and give it a proper ranking. But if your website is not so easy to crawl, you might as well build a sitemap to assist search engines in finding all pages. This is particularly important in case of mobile-first SEO strategies, so don’t trust people who tell you there’s no need to make a sitemap.
7. Query Must Have Freshness
A vast majority of News sites believe queries must have freshness in order to stay relevant and interesting. While it is true that a homepage can use an occasional change, it doesn’t mean you have to rearrange it on a daily basis. Keep the process natural and add new features to the homepage only when you feel it can really improve the overall appearance of your website.
8. It’s Good to Copy a Big Brand’s Strategy
It’s necessary to keep an eye on your biggest competitors, but you don’t want and don’t need to copy/paste their SEO strategy. This process has to be aligned with all other objectives, including business and marketing goals. Therefore, details which prove to work well for other companies don’t have to work well for you.
9. Algorithm Devaluations Equal Penalties
SEO analysts at College-Paper are furious when they hear someone saying that algorithm devaluations are the same as penalties: “The former occurs when Google ignores your links for whatever reasons, so you need to make amendments and try to recover ranking. On the other hand, penalties deteriorate website ranking and you will always find a notification about it in Google Search Console.”
10. Google Has a Duplicate Content Penalty
Let us be straight about this myth: there are no penalties for duplicate content. It’s a widespread delusion that simply isn’t true. Google has a duplicate content filter, a feature that prevents the same content items from ranking simultaneously. Instead, it only allows one piece of content to appear in engine searches.
11. Social Media Improve Ranking
Social media represents a powerful brand visibility factor, but they don’t improve ranking per se. What they can do is give you additional exposure, thus acquiring more links and citations. This is what improves your ranking in the long run, but the benefit doesn’t come from Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter directly.
12. Google Ads Boost Organic Ranking
It’s hard to get your foot in the door without paid advertising, but don’t think this marketing tactic has anything to do with SEO. Google Ads don’t affect organic ranking, so you shouldn’t spend the whole budget trying to boost your SEO strategy this way. These are the two completely separate concepts.
13. Google Uses AI in All Algorithms
The only Google’s algorithm that is entirely AI-based is RankBrain. None of the other live algorithms uses AI because it could jeopardize the entire search engine functioning. Namely, AI is self-taught and in case something goes wrong, Google wouldn’t know how to solve this problem.
14. RankBrain Controls Everything
RankBrain is a quintessential SEO tool, but it is not omnipotent. Google can analyze over 80% searches single-handedly, but RankBrain is there to help the engine figure out how to rank brand new inquiries. If there is no history of searches related to the specific keyword, RankBrain takes over and finds the way to assess and rank search results accurately.
SEO is a popular topic and everyone seems to know at least a little bit about it. However, this creates a lot of confusion among website administrators who cannot determine what is right and what is wrong here. Our post explained to you the 15 most frequent SEO myths that never seem to change.
You should keep these suggestions in mind and avoid making the same mistake as other webmasters. Of course, the list is not limited to these 15 misconceptions, so you should feel free to add comments and tell us what you believe is the most annoying SEO myth out there.