In the world of SEO, there’s a lot of false information floating around online. As a business owner, it’s probably a little confusing to separate the legit advice from the myths. That’s why we’ve put together a list of some of the most common myths about SEO that could lead you down the wrong path.
Remember, SEO is always changing and evolving, so advice that may have been accurate 5 or even 2 years ago isn’t always still relevant today. It’s time to separate fact from fiction.
SEO Myth #1: You Need A Lot Of Backlinks To Rank
This has been a long running SEO myth that for a while. The idea behind this is that the more links you have pointing to your site, the more important Google will think your website is. The Penguin Google algorithm updates have completely shown that not only is it a myth, but it’s actually the exact opposite approach small businesses need to take when it comes to SEO and link building.
Instead of focusing on the the quantity of links a site has, it’s better to focus on the quality of the links. For instance, a backlink from a huge, high quality site like Inc.com is much more beneficial than 10 links from 10 different lower quality sites that don’t have any authority.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that Google is looking at high quality content as a much more important ranking factor now. So even if your site has little to no backlinks, you can still potentially rank highly in Google if you have high quality content on your site.
SEO Myth #2: SEO Can Be “Finished”
You’ve setup all the meta titles, gotten your business listed in all of the top business directories, and you’ve done some blog posts so you’re done with SEO right? Wrong! The truth is that SEO is an ongoing process that requires consistent work in order to be effective. Even if you’ve given it a go for 6 months, don’t expect to just be able to stop all your efforts and keep seeing the same results.
Sure, SEO does provide better long term results than say, paid ads. But if your competitors are consistently putting out high quality content, staying active on social media, and earning links, they’re eventually going to outrank you and take some of your share of the search results. Even if you reach the number one search result for a target keyword, that doesn’t mean you can just sit back and watch the new business come in. You have to keep working.
SEO Myth #3: It’s All About Keywords
The days of stuffing your site with a bunch of keywords are long gone. The Panda algorithm update was the beginning, and then after the Hummingbird update, we really saw what direction Google was going towards, and it doesn’t revolve around keywords.
Now, Google looks at the overall topic of a page, not just specific keywords. For instance, having the phrase “best seo company” placed 20 times on a single page won’t automatically signal to Google that your page is the most relevant for people searching for that phrase. Their algorithms have advanced beyond that, and now they look for other related words and phrases on that page to determine how relevant it is.
The shift away from focusing just on keywords is new for a lot of people, but over the next few years you’ll really start to see change take place. Our advice? Don’t wait. Make sure your site’s content isn’t stuffed with a bunch of keywords. Instead, make the content user friendly and customer-focused.
SEO Myth #4: It’s All About Content
Content is crucial for SEO, but it’s not the only thing that matters. Your site’s development is another very important part of SEO and can have a huge impact on your rankings. Your site needs clean code and a sensible layout. This part can get pretty technical, so it’s a good idea to leave it up to an experienced developer.
But what it boils down to is that Google’s bots that they use to search through all of the sites online don’t see the beautiful looking site that your visitors see. They see a bunch of code. And in order to make sense of all of it, your site has to be developed in a way that clearly outlines the different parts of your site like the page hierarchy, the footer, the header, the sidebar, etc.
Your business needs a site that functions correctly and is coded well. Not one that just looks good.
SEO Myth #5: Linking To Other Sites Is Bad
A lot of business owners are afraid of adding links to other websites from their own site because it gets people off of your site. It’s true that if someone clicks on an external link, they’ll be taken away from your site and to someone else’s. But that doesn’t mean that they’re gone forever or that you’ve necessarily lost them. And on top of that, linking to high quality, related sites can make your content appear more relevant to Google.
Imagine this. You’re a pet groomer, and wrote a blog post about the best shampoos for dogs. Wouldn’t it make sense for you to add links to the specific products you mention? Not only does it give people visiting your site a better experience, but the link from your blog post to Amazon, PetSmart, or another site related to your topic helps Google’s bots determine what your post is about, and its relevancy.
Don’t be afraid to link out to other sites on your website. But before you get carried away adding a ton of external links on your site, here are some tips to do it correctly:
- Only link out from a page that has high quality content
- Only add external links when it makes sense
- Use a brand name or URL of the site you’re linking to as your anchor text (i.e “www.google.com” instead of “the best search engine”)
- Link to specific inner pages instead of just the home page
- Let the owner of the site you’re linking to know that you linked to them. They might mention it on social media or even link back to your content
Now that you know some of the most popular SEO myths floating around, do your best to avoid them! If you’re a local small business, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help with your company’s SEO.