You might have heard a lot of things about SEO, and it’s likely that many of them aren’t true. It’s easy to believe myths and misconceptions, whether you’re hearing out-of-date information or you’re being told things that just aren’t true. When you have misbeliefs about how SEO works and what it can do for you, it can often put you off pursuing it as a valuable way to promote your business. Alternatively, you might end up convinced that there’s not much to it and try to take care of SEO on your own – before quickly realizing that it’s perhaps not as simple as you thought.
Even if you think that you’re SEO-savvy, you can have some misconceptions about what really matters and what works when it comes to SEO. Let’s look at some of the most common misconceptions and get to the truth.
#1 Working on SEO Is a Short-term Task
You might think that you can get your website set up so it’s SEO-friendly and then simply leave it. But the truth is that SEO is not a short-term thing. It’s something that you need to work on long-term if you want to see any results. It can take several months before you even start to see the benefits.
#2 Keyword Density Is Essential
Once upon a time, keyword density – i.e. how often a keyword appeared on a page compared to the total number of words – was an important ranking factor in SEO. However, things have moved on and it’s now largely irrelevant. There are much more important factors to consider, such as inbound links and content quality.
#3 Content Is the Only Thing That Matters
The phrase “content is king” is one that you can see a lot in digital marketing and SEO. It might lead you to think that content marketing is the be-all and end-all of SEO, but there’s more to search engine optimization than good content. Other SEO metrics are important too and you mustn’t forget about them.
#4 You Can Always Get to Position Number One
A lot of SEO companies will promise that they can get you to the first page of Google search results or even that they can get you into the number one position for your chosen keywords. But not everyone can be number one and these SEO companies may be promising something they can’t deliver.
#5 First Position Is the Only Acceptable Result
Not only is it not possible to be the very first search result for all relevant queries, but there’s no need to focus too much on it, either. Some people believe that their SEO must be failing if they’re not number one, but you don’t have to be in the top position all the time to get good results from your SEO.
#6 The More Backlinks, the Better
Backlinks are an essential ranking factor for search engines, but it’s not a good idea to put quantity over quality. You might have lots of links to your website, but it won’t be very helpful if they all come from poor-quality sources. The quality of the links is what matters more, although combining both quantity and quality is obviously better.
#7 Title Tags and Meta Descriptions Don’t Matter
You might hear a lot of people say that meta titles and descriptions aren’t important. However, these give Google important information and they should search engine users what they can expect to find on your page. Although they may not be a ranking factor, they’re still important pieces of information.
#8 Meta Keywords Do Matter
While meta descriptions and titles are still important for your SEO strategy, meta keywords are no longer relevant. There’s no need to have a long list of tags that identifies the key topics of the page. This HTML tag was being abused by people “stuffing” as many keywords as they could, so Google made a change.
#9 On-page SEO Is All That Matters
What’s displayed on a web page, such as the images and text, is essential to SEO. However, it’s not just the on-page elements that need to be taken into account. Off-page SEO matters too and needs to be a part of your SEO strategy.
#10 Social Media Doesn’t Affect SEO
Social media might not have a direct effect on your SEO, in that someone liking your post isn’t going to help your website. However, having your content shared and engaged with on social media is beneficial for your SEO. Social impressions and organic click-through rates help you to boost your website’s SEO through social media.
#11 Link Anchor Words Don’t Matter
The words that you use to link to other pages or sites can be just as important as keywords. However, while you might have heard that you should use exact-match keywords, this could be a bad idea. It’s better to make your anchors as natural as possible to avoid getting flagged by Google.
#12 SEO Is Too Time-consuming
It’s true that SEO takes time to produce results. However, it’s worth putting in the time to do it properly if you want to see the performance of your website in search engines improve. It’s better to use white-hat SEO methods than to try and cut corners.
#13 SEO Shouldn’t Be Paid For
There are some elements of SEO that you shouldn’t pay for directly. Directly buying links, for example, could get you penalized, especially if you do it a lot. But that doesn’t mean you can’t hire someone to help you with your SEO.
#14 You Can Do It All Alone
When you first start learning about SEO, you might think it’s pretty simple. But the reality is that there’s a lot that has to go into successful SEO. While you can do some of it without professional help, it’s time-consuming and you’re likely to hit a knowledge wall at some point. Expert help takes the work out of your hands to produce results.
Don’t fall for the SEO misconceptions that you see flying around. Stay up to date with the latest best practices and guidance to understand how it all works.