The Truth Behind Common SEO Myths

There is no question that digital marketing is essential to building a recognizable and profitable brand. The importance of online strategies is now widely understood and recognized. While knowledge has spread, however, so have myths of what exactly it means to run a campaign according to "best practices." In our experience, most people think they have an understanding of what search engine optimization means -- but in actuality have outdated or completely false misconceptions about it.

Fortunately, the truth isn't difficult to uncover. This is especially true thanks to the many free resources Google offers to developers and webmasters. These tools not only highlight the key marketing activities involved in a successful campaign but also debunk incorrect theories that can distract marketers from the bigger picture.

SearchEngingeLand.com contributor, Kaspar Szymanski, took the liberty of assembling this list of common SEO myths and the truth behind them, according to an ex-Googler. Although the entire article is worth reading, we featured some of our favorite points below to help marketers stay focused.

We always hear people talk about digital marketing and rattle off a list of "essential" things one must do to "get it right" when it comes to SEO. While there certainly are several actions every webmaster should do to yield the best placement in the results pages, the idea that SEO comes down to a one-time task list is simply misleading. As Szymanski explains in his article:

"Like any other company investment in assets, over time, that very same investment will inevitably wear off. Best practices of the past become outdated or downright obsolete. To keep up with the competition, especially in the more lucrative niches, SEO needs to be considered an ongoing effort with planned, periodic spurts of increased activity scheduled ahead of time."

At its most basic level, SEO is simply the process of formatting your website or other marketing collateral in a way that the search engines can understand. After all, if Google cannot read and digest what information you are presenting, there is no way they will ever rank your website higher in its results pages.

Building a reputation offline takes a lot of work and consistency, where expertise and value are regularly demonstrated. Digital marketing works the same way; only it accounts for both humans and the search engines in this process. Google requires the same regularity to be genuinely beneficial -- and that friends, takes time.

There is no question that digital marketing is essential to building a recognizable and profitable brand. The importance of online strategies is now widely understood and recognized. While knowledge has spread, however, so have myths of what exactly it means to run a campaign according to "best practices." In our experience, most people think they have an understanding of what search engine optimization means -- but in actuality have outdated or completely false misconceptions about it.

Fortunately, the truth isn't difficult to uncover. This is especially true thanks to the many free resources Google offers to developers and webmasters. These tools not only highlight the key marketing activities involved in a successful campaign but also debunk incorrect theories that can distract marketers from the bigger picture.

SearchEngingeLand.com contributor, Kaspar Szymanski, took the liberty of assembling this list of common SEO myths and the truth behind them, according to an ex-Googler. Although the entire article is worth reading, we featured some of our favorite points below to help marketers stay focused.

We always hear people talk about digital marketing and rattle off a list of "essential" things one must do to "get it right" when it comes to SEO. While there certainly are several actions every webmaster should do to yield the best placement in the results pages, the idea that SEO comes down to a one-time task list is simply misleading. As Szymanski explains in his article:

"Like any other company investment in assets, over time, that very same investment will inevitably wear off. Best practices of the past become outdated or downright obsolete. To keep up with the competition, especially in the more lucrative niches, SEO needs to be considered an ongoing effort with planned, periodic spurts of increased activity scheduled ahead of time."

At its most basic level, SEO is simply the process of formatting your website or other marketing collateral in a way that the search engines can understand. After all, if Google cannot read and digest what information you are presenting, there is no way they will ever rank your website higher in its results pages.

Building a reputation offline takes a lot of work and consistency, where expertise and value are regularly demonstrated. Digital marketing works the same way; only it accounts for both humans and the search engines in this process. Google requires the same regularity to be genuinely beneficial -- and that friends, takes time.

Myth #1: SEO Is Something You Can Set Up Once And Never Touch Again

We constantly hear people talk about digital marketing and rattle off a list of "absolutely essential" things one must do to "get it right" when it comes to SEO. While there certainly are several actions every webmaster should do to yield the best placement in the results pages, the idea that SEO comes down to a one-time task list is simply misleading. As Szymanski explains in his article:

"Like any other company investment in assets, over time that very same investment will inevitably wear off. Best practices of the past become outdated or downright obsolete. To keep up with the competition, especially in the more lucrative niches, SEO needs to be considered an ongoing effort with planned, periodic spurts of increased activity scheduled ahead of time."

At its most basic level, SEO is simply the process of formatting your website or other marketing collateral in a way that the search engines can understand. After all, if Google cannot read and digest what information you are presenting there is no way they will ever rank your website highly in its results pages.

Building a reputation offline takes lots of work and consistency, where expertise and value is regularly demonstrated. Digital marketing works exactly the same way, only it accounts for both humans and the search engines in this process. Google requires the same regularity in order to be truly beneficial -- and that friends, takes time.
We constantly hear people talk about digital marketing and rattle off a list of "absolutely essential" things one must do to "get it right" when it comes to SEO. While there certainly are several actions every webmaster should do to yield the best placement in the results pages, the idea that SEO comes down to a one-time task list is simply misleading. As Szymanski explains in his article:

"Like any other company investment in assets, over time that very same investment will inevitably wear off. Best practices of the past become outdated or downright obsolete. To keep up with the competition, especially in the more lucrative niches, SEO needs to be considered an ongoing effort with planned, periodic spurts of increased activity scheduled ahead of time."

At its most basic level, SEO is simply the process of formatting your website or other marketing collateral in a way that the search engines can understand. After all, if Google cannot read and digest what information you are presenting there is no way they will ever rank your website highly in its results pages.

Building a reputation offline takes lots of work and consistency, where expertise and value is regularly demonstrated. Digital marketing works exactly the same way, only it accounts for both humans and the search engines in this process. Google requires the same regularity in order to be truly beneficial -- and that friends, takes time.

Myth #2: All Backlinks Are Created Equal And Benefit SEO Efforts

Of course, backlinks are vital to any SEO campaign. It is one of the best ways for search engines to confirm the validity of the content your brand produces through third-party sources, while also providing the potential to drive significant traffic to any website. When coming from the right source, a backlink can be a powerful ranking factor for Google.

However, backlinks are only as powerful as the source providing it. The best referral sites for SEO purposes are those that are trustworthy, reputable, and in similar, relevant industries to yours. Webmasters utilizing spammy, black hat tactics to generate backlinks have been penalized heavily by Google in recent years for placing more emphasis on quality over quantity.

Think of backlinks in terms of a political race. Endorsements from the Average Joe may not carry much weight, but public praise from notable figures, publications, or celebrities will certainly create viral buzz. While each provides some advocation for the site it is linking to, the value of it will vary to the search engines.

Our advice: instead of focusing on the total number of backlinks your company website has, concentrate on getting the right ones.
Of course, backlinks are vital to any SEO campaign. It is one of the best ways for search engines to confirm the validity of the content your brand produces through third-party sources, while also providing the potential to drive significant traffic to any website. When coming from the right source, a backlink can be a powerful ranking factor for Google.

However, backlinks are only as powerful as the source providing it. The best referral sites for SEO purposes are those that are trustworthy, reputable, and in similar, relevant industries to yours. Webmasters utilizing spammy, black hat tactics to generate backlinks have been penalized heavily by Google in recent years for placing more emphasis on quality over quantity.

Think of backlinks in terms of a political race. Endorsements from the Average Joe may not carry much weight, but public praise from notable figures, publications, or celebrities will certainly create viral buzz. While each provides some advocation for the site it is linking to, the value of it will vary to the search engines.

Our advice: instead of focusing on the total number of backlinks your company website has, concentrate on getting the right ones.

Myth #3: Google Adwords Will Boost SEO Results

This myth is perhaps one of the most common SEO myths, but it is also one guaranteed to make any skilled marketer shake their head in disappointment.

It is widely thought that executing Google Adwords campaigns will boost search engine results. In reality, it is the other way around. Not only is natural search completely independent of paid results (and displayed as such), it is organic SEO that benefits Adwords campaign results.

Keep in mind the fact that Google's top goal is to deliver accurate, helpful resources before a user even knows they need it. Providing these resources, and the fact that they make more money off of clicks from legit sites than shady ones makes it understandable as to how organic SEO fits into the equation. Of course, they will display approved ads referencing almost any website -- but will do so in accordance with organic search indicators.

The companies with excellent SEO indicators will always be displayed more prominently and frequently than those without -- regardless of how much one's campaign budget it. Ignoring search engine optimization in favor of Google Adwords will not only result in less exposure but higher costs as well.
This myth is perhaps one of the most common SEO myths, but it is also one guaranteed to make any skilled marketer shake their head in disappointment.

It is widely thought that executing Google Adwords campaigns will boost search engine results. In reality, it is the other way around. Not only is natural search completely independent of paid results (and displayed as such), it is organic SEO that benefits Adwords campaign results.

Keep in mind the fact that Google's top goal is to deliver accurate, helpful resources before a user even knows they need it. Providing these resources, and the fact that they make more money off of clicks from legit sites than shady ones makes it understandable as to how organic SEO fits into the equation. Of course, they will display approved ads referencing almost any website -- but will do so in accordance with organic search indicators.

The companies with excellent SEO indicators will always be displayed more prominently and frequently than those without -- regardless of how much one's campaign budget it. Ignoring search engine optimization in favor of Google Adwords will not only result in less exposure but higher costs as well.

Myth #4: Keyword Rankings Are Everything

Keyword ranking is another common misconception amongst business owners and amateur webmasters -- and it used to be somewhat true.

In the stone ages of digital marketing, Google's understanding of synonyms was not as advanced as it currently is. In plain English, it couldn't tell the difference between words like "attorney" and "lawyer," even though they ultimately mean the same thing. As a result, it required marketers to be very specific regarding terminology when crafting content both in terms of industry and location.

Zoom forward two decades, and the role keywords play in a marketing campaign have entirely changed. Webmasters who tried to cheat the system were severely penalized by Google for "keyword stuffing," ultimately because the technique became irrelevant over time. In addition to Google's vocabulary expansion and the advent of its instant search results, they also take a user's location and previous search history into account. Two people could search for the same terms and receive completely different results, simply because Google now treats each user as a unique entity. Therefore, specific, long-tail phrases are now both unnecessary and overly wordy.

Utilizing specific terms and phrases throughout your content is still essential to online marketing, but it must be understood and executed differently. Instead of bending over backward, trying to insert as many keywords as possible, focus on providing valuable information. At the end of the day, if you are who you say you are and do what you say you do, it is only natural that industry-specific terms will be used throughout your digital content. Demonstrating expertise over time will provide more value in the search engines' eyes than listing a ton of awkwardly phrased terms ever will.
Keyword ranking is another common misconception amongst business owners and amateur webmasters -- and it used to be somewhat true.

In the stone ages of digital marketing, Google's understanding of synonyms was not as advanced as it currently is. In plain English, it couldn't tell the difference between words like "attorney" and "lawyer," even though they ultimately mean the same thing. As a result, it required marketers to be very specific regarding terminology when crafting content both in terms of industry and location.

Zoom forward two decades, and the role keywords play in a marketing campaign have entirely changed. Webmasters who tried to cheat the system were severely penalized by Google for "keyword stuffing," ultimately because the technique became irrelevant over time. In addition to Google's vocabulary expansion and the advent of its instant search results, they also take a user's location and previous search history into account. Two people could search for the same terms and receive completely different results, simply because Google now treats each user as a unique entity. Therefore, specific, long-tail phrases are now both unnecessary and overly wordy.

Utilizing specific terms and phrases throughout your content is still essential to online marketing, but it must be understood and executed differently. Instead of bending over backward, trying to insert as many keywords as possible, focus on providing valuable information. At the end of the day, if you are who you say you are and do what you say you do, it is only natural that industry-specific terms will be used throughout your digital content. Demonstrating expertise over time will provide more value in the search engines' eyes than listing a ton of awkwardly phrased terms ever will.

Myth #5: Social Media Efforts Generate SEO Results

We hate to break it to all the influencers out there, but social media has zero impact on search engine optimization. Indeed, these channels are hugely beneficial in creating, changing, or reaffirming one's opinion about a specific topic or business. However, the idea that it generates SEO juice is misguided at best and expensive at worst. All the comments, likes, and retweets in the world aren't going to be enough on their own to justify a prominent placement on the search engines. Not only is the information provided on these channels sporadic and often inaccurate, but Google also doesn't even index results from all of them. (Here is looking at you, Twitter.)

This is not to say that social media marketing isn't beneficial. In addition to providing direct lines of communication between a business and its customers, it also can increase a company's visibility and impact of messaging. However, it is simply wrong to think of these platforms as separate, unique, or equal to Google and other major search engines. In reality, social media sites ARE inherently search engines and therefore have similar rules and algorithms. Any successful digital marketing campaign requires activity on multiple platforms, not just Facebook and Instagram alone. Thinking that social media is the answer to all your promotional problems is great if it helps you sleep better at night, but not if you want to develop a substantial and robust reputation throughout the search engines.
We hate to break it to all the influencers out there, but social media has zero impact on search engine optimization. Indeed, these channels are hugely beneficial in creating, changing, or reaffirming one's opinion about a specific topic or business. However, the idea that it generates SEO juice is misguided at best and expensive at worst. All the comments, likes, and retweets in the world aren't going to be enough on their own to justify a prominent placement on the search engines. Not only is the information provided on these channels sporadic and often inaccurate, but Google also doesn't even index results from all of them. (Here is looking at you, Twitter.)

This is not to say that social media marketing isn't beneficial. In addition to providing direct lines of communication between a business and its customers, it also can increase a company's visibility and impact of messaging. However, it is simply wrong to think of these platforms as separate, unique, or equal to Google and other major search engines. In reality, social media sites ARE inherently search engines and therefore have similar rules and algorithms. Any successful digital marketing campaign requires activity on multiple platforms, not just Facebook and Instagram alone. Thinking that social media is the answer to all your promotional problems is great if it helps you sleep better at night, but not if you want to develop a substantial and robust reputation throughout the search engines.



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