Search engine optimization or SEO is a relatively recent digital marketing strategy, but that hasn’t stopped the proliferation of some incorrect SEO myths!
SEO is a difficult discipline to work in, so it’s understandable that there are a lot of myths swirling about the digital marketing ecosystem. However, that doesn’t make them any less harmful.
If left uncorrected, these false beliefs could drastically impact your digital marketing performance and unfortunately, too many small business owners believe them.
Luckily, the SEO experts at JSL Marketing & Web Design are here to set the record straight and dispel the most common SEO myths for the good of your marketing.
Read On To Learn More About SEO Myths!
Common SEO Myths
Myth 1: Keyword Stuffing Is Fine
In the early days of the internet, every SEO expert tried to include every possible variation of the targeted keywords in the content they created. (i.e. “Come here for the best doctor, doctors, ophthalmologist, eye doctor, and eye doctors in town.”) Google has since gotten wiser and is now smart enough to know what your topic is about.
This means there’s no need to include forty different versions of the same five keywords. The number of times a keyword is used may have some impact on SEO, since it helps Google understand what the page is about, but it isn’t about just placing it everywhere as many times as possible.
Instead, be sure to balance your keyword usage against the needs of your user. It’s extremely annoying to search for a doctor in your area and read a piece of content that uses the word “doctor” in every sentence. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if you’re using the keywords you’re targeting more than you would use them in a conversation with the user. You wouldn’t say “Come here for the best doctor, doctors, ophthalmologist, eye doctor, and eye doctors in town” in a conversation with your friend, right? Of course not!
If you’re using the keywords ad nauseum, you aren’t getting any SEO boost and likely annoying your readers instead. Find the right balance of keywords without frustrating your readers. Trust us, it will make your copy read better and improve your SEO.
Myth 2: Content Length Is The Most Important Factor
Any good search engine optimization specialist knows how to use a scraping tool to research semantically related keywords, competition, and content length. However, don’t think that writing your content to a certain length is a magic fix.
Of course, length can help, but it is not as impactful as the quality of the content, the type of backlinks, the web design on the page, and the meta description of the page.
Answering the user’s question and demonstrating to Google that your website is a high-quality source of information will always trump the length of your content. Prioritize creating amazing content that answers the question over a magic number of characters. The SEO boost you receive for creating amazing content will always be greater than hitting a specific length.
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Myth 3: Paid Advertising is the Magic Ticket
Advertising on Google Ads is a great marketing decision. However, it does not DIRECTLY impact your SEO performance.
Driving visitors to your website via Google Ads may improve your SEO, since you’re getting more traffic than you would have without the paid campaigns. However, Google does not prioritize sites that have paid ad campaigns with them over sites that have not.
There are ways to compliment your SEO with web design and paid ad campaigns that will drive better results than if you hadn’t blended the three. Still, this is very different from getting an SEO boost just from advertising on Google Ads.
A lot of business owners think of Google Ads as a shortcut to bypass investing in SEO marketing. It is true that you pay to get to the top of Google with paid campaigns, but you’ll still show as a paid ad, which often dissuades certain users.
Ideally, you should be using both paid advertising and organic SEO to reach new customers. Paid advertising is a great way to see a quick impact and reach certain users, but it does come with a cost, a cost that some small businesses can’t keep up indefinitely.
SEO, in contrast, is a cheaper way to reach new customers, but it does take time to see results and leaves you at the whims of sudden algorithm updates from Google. That’s why we recommend using both paid and nonpaid options to keep your search engine marketing where it needs to be.
Myth 4: Backlinks Will Solve All Your Problems
Backlinks are an important part of SEO – do not mistake us on that point. Still, too many SEOs have started to focus on “gaming” Google by finding the right type of backlinks, at the expense of their content.
Good backlinking is important, but it’s not more important than writing quality content and making a good user experience. Having a guest blog series is a great way to build backlinks, but don’t think that slapping together some shoddily-written sentences just for link-building is a good use of your time and effort. Again, a high-quality guest blog post with quality backlinks may in fact be worth it, but a poor-quality post never is.
You also could be risking a penalty from Google if you undertake unscrupulous action to get links. You’ll need to focus on climbing in search results the old-fashioned way and write content for your reader, not the search engines.
Myth 5: Social Media Doesn’t Impact SEO
This myth has its kernel of truth. Social media marketing probably won’t salvage your SEO or ability to rank in organic search results. If your website isn’t ranking, then improving your social media presence just isn’t the most impactful action you can take.
It’s important to know that your social media is still a ranking factor in the eyes of Google, since it helps Google gauge how popular your brand is via shares and social traffic. These social signals demonstrate to Google that your content and brand are reputable and worth ranking.
A good social media strategy won’t produce SEO miracles, but it will help improve your overall performance.
Myth 5: Domain Age is An Important Ranking Factor
This makes sense at first glance. After all, it can take time for a site to climb in the rankings, so it seems intuitive that domain age is an important ranking factor.
However, Google has explicitly stated that domain age is not a ranking factor! You won’t get any preferential treatment in search results just for having a domain for a certain amount of time!
Your page rankings will be much more impacted by other factors than domain age and you should focus your efforts there. Contact our SEOs for a tailored recommendation.
Myth 6: Duplicate Content Will Kill Your SEO
This is a truism with some staying power and it’s because there’s a kernel of truth in it.
Duplicate content does not technically result in SEO penalties from any search engine USUALLY. If a site or page is removed from search results, it’s usually because the offender is purposefully copying other distinct sites.
However, duplicate content will usually not cause a severe SEO penalty. That doesn’t mean that it’s a best practice to keep duplicate content on your site and we’re happy to discuss options to improve your site’s indexing and categorization.
Myth 7: Certain Agencies Get You Priority Ranking With Google
This isn’t just a myth, it’s a complete lie and frankly, it’s a lie that’s told to sell SEO services to unsuspecting small business owners.
Google has actually had to address this SEO myth directly since it’s become so common. Don’t fall for any salesperson that claims their agency has priority ranking with any search engine. It’s merely a sales tactic and a dishonest one at that.
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