Search engine optimization is more of an art than a science, and because of that there are many people who say there’s no “wrong” way to go about SEO. That’s not entirely true, however. There are methods and approaches that have become outdated, been proven ineffective, or are just plain silly, but some SEO “experts” nonetheless continue to use them.
So how do you separate the good information from the dated and ill-informed? Here are six SEO myths that have been busted. Make sure you and your company no longer adhere to them, and you’ll be well ahead of the SEO curve.
1. You Must Rank No. 1
This belief is rooted somewhat in truth. It is true that people are most likely to click on the top three search listings that appear on the first page of results. However, studies have also shown that on subsequent pages, assuming searchers make it that far, they’re just as likely to click on the last entry as the first. That means you don’t have to rank first in the results to draw people in via search.
2. Link Building Trumps Content
Yes, you need links and you need linkbacks to establish your authority in your field, which Google absolutely respects. But having strong content is just as important as good links. If you’re thinking about putting money in your site, hiring a writer to give you well-conceived, grammatically correct verbiage may be one of the best investments you can make. Think of it this way: If you have great content, people will link to you voluntarily and you won’t have to seek out linkbacks.
3. Follow the Trending Topic
There are plenty of web sites that generate ridiculous amounts of traffic by jumping on whatever topic is trending on Google right now. These so-called content mills might churn out 20 posts on a single subject in less than an hour. But Google has caught on to this approach. You can no longer so easily find the up-to-the-minute trending topic list the search engine used to display quite prominently. What’s more, Google no longer rewards keyword-heavy but factually light posts with high search rankings.
4. Your Keywords Cannot Vary
There are some web sites whose copy doesn’t make sense because it’s so stilted by keywords like “North Carolina plumber” or “townhouses Harrisburg Pa.” Clearly no one has explained to those companies that keywords can vary slightly throughout a page without having a huge impact on SEO. Remember, it’s always better to write like a human being than a search bot.
5. SEO is One and Done
SEO is a lot like using a GPS tracking device; you don’t get to your destination and then throw the device out the window because you’re done. Instead, you keep it on your dashboard for the next time you need to use it, which will probably be soon. The same goes for SEO. You’re not “done” with SEO when you get on the first page of a keyword search. SEO grows and evolves each day, and you have to keep up with it to continue reaping the benefits.
6. Great Content Will Organically Lead to Great Rankings
Sorry, but no; like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, this is a wonderful yet naïve idea. There are too many other sites using SEO to count on your wonderful content to lift you in the rankings. Great content keeps people there, but it alone will not bring them. You need some expert help to herd them along to your site.