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8 min read SEO Myths Debunked: What Really Matters

SEO Myths Debunked: What Really Matters

Key Takeaways

  • SEO is always changing but amidst it all, Google stays true to its main values.
  • One key indicator of SEO success is whether a webpage provides genuine value to readers. This covers the realms of accessibility, security, and device usage.
  • Whether you’re working with content, keywords, guest posts, or images, always remember that quality is more important than quantity.

The intri­cate and pow­er­ful art of SEO began in the late 1990s when search engines began cat­a­logu­ing the web. Since then, web­sites and SEO have been inti­mate­ly linked, forg­ing a long and com­pli­cat­ed alliance.

Nowa­days, most busi­ness­es know that search engine vis­i­bil­i­ty could make or break them, mak­ing SEO results high­ly sought after. How­ev­er, SEO is a dif­fi­cult and often mys­te­ri­ous con­cept to busi­ness own­ers and mar­keters alike. It can be intri­cate and mul­ti­fac­eted, always chang­ing and pos­ing new chal­lenges to those who seek to mas­ter it.

As such, many myths and mis­con­cep­tions sur­round peo­ples’ under­stand­ing of SEO. There is so much mis­in­for­ma­tion online, and so many com­pa­nies are still adopt­ing strate­gies based on half-truths or out­dat­ed practices.

In this arti­cle, we’ll tack­le the most com­mon SEO myths. We hope to demys­ti­fy SEO for you and give you every­thing you need to know to nav­i­gate the world of SEO with con­fi­dence. Let’s dive in.

Top 10 SEO Myths Debunked

1. More keywords = higher rankings

In the ear­ly days of SEO, key­word stuff­ing was a com­mon prac­tice. Web­mas­ters would cram as many key­words as pos­si­ble into their con­tent, hop­ing to trick search engines into giv­ing them a high­er ranking.

For a time, this tac­tic worked. How­ev­er, as the inter­net grew and search engines became more sophis­ti­cat­ed, they quick­ly caught on to this manip­u­la­tion. Recog­nis­ing the neg­a­tive impact it had on user expe­ri­ence, Google changed its algo­rithms to penalise web­sites that engaged in key­word stuffing.

This is still the case today, so web­site own­ers should focus on qual­i­ty and con­text instead of quan­ti­ty. Using key­words in a nat­ur­al and strate­gic way will ensure your con­tent feels organ­ic and pro­vides gen­uine val­ue to readers.

It’s worth men­tion­ing also that while high-vol­ume key­words can dri­ve traf­fic, they aren’t always the most effec­tive for con­ver­sions. Some­times, less pop­u­lar key­words with higher

pur­chase intent can be more valu­able. For instance, a key­word like “buy leather boots online” might have few­er search­es than “boots,” but the for­mer indi­cates a clear intent to purchase.

By focus­ing on key­words like these, busi­ness­es can achieve bet­ter con­ver­sion rates and build a loy­al cus­tomer base.

2. SEO is a one-time task

A com­mon mis­con­cep­tion among web­site own­ers and mar­keters is that SEO is a one-time task. They believe that once you’ve set up your web­site with the right key­words, improved its speed, ensured its secu­ri­ty, and mapped out a sol­id inter­nal link­ing struc­ture, you’re all set.

While these on-page SEO ele­ments are cru­cial and might require a one-time effort, they rep­re­sent just a frac­tion of the SEO-boost­ing activ­i­ties you can under­take. Sev­er­al aspects of SEO demand con­tin­u­ous atten­tion and effort. For instance:

  • Con­tent cre­ation is a cor­ner­stone of SEO. Reg­u­lar­ly pub­lish­ing new arti­cles, blogs, or updates keeps your web­site active and attracts search engine crawlers.
  • Back­link build­ing is an ongo­ing process. It involves net­work­ing, out­reach, and con­sis­tent­ly pro­duc­ing share­able content.
  • Key­word research is always need­ed. As mar­ket dynam­ics change, new key­words can emerge, and old ones can lose their rel­e­vance. Reg­u­lar key­word research ensures you’re tar­get­ing the most effec­tive terms.
  • Tech­ni­cal SEO is some­times a one-off. But things like web­site audits, fix­ing bro­ken links, and address­ing crawl errors need reg­u­lar checks.

In addi­tion to these essen­tial activ­i­ties, search engine algo­rithms under­go fre­quent updates. What worked a year ago might not be as effec­tive today. Plus, user behav­iours and pref­er­ences change over time, requir­ing web­site own­ers to respond to these shifts promptly.

Giv­en these fac­tors, it’s clear that SEO isn’t a “set it and for­get it” endeav­our. Reg­u­lar­ly updat­ing, mon­i­tor­ing, and opti­mis­ing your con­tent and strate­gies is not just beneficial—it’s cru­cial to main­tain­ing and improv­ing your online visibility.

3. Link building is dead

One of the most debat­ed top­ics in the SEO com­mu­ni­ty is the rel­e­vance of link build­ing. With the rise of spam­my link-build­ing tac­tics, many have come to believe that link-build­ing is dead.

While it’s true that manip­u­la­tive and low-qual­i­ty link-build­ing prac­tices can severe­ly harm your site’s rep­u­ta­tion and rank­ings, it’s essen­tial to dif­fer­en­ti­ate between these tac­tics and gen­uine link-build­ing efforts.

High-qual­i­ty, rel­e­vant back­links remain a cor­ner­stone of Google’s rank­ing algo­rithm. Why? At its core, a back­link is a vote of con­fi­dence from one web­site to anoth­er. When a rep­utable site links to your con­tent, it sig­nals to search engines that your con­tent is valu­able and trustworthy.

Google, and oth­er search engines, use these back­links as endorse­ments to gauge the author­i­ty, rel­e­vance, and cred­i­bil­i­ty of your site. The more high-qual­i­ty links point­ing to your web­site, the more like­ly it is to rank high­er in search results.

Busi­ness­es can seek out these valu­able back­links by doing the following:

  • Cre­at­ing high-qual­i­ty content
  • Writ­ing guest posts
  • Engag­ing in rel­e­vant communities
  • Net­work­ing
  • Lever­ag­ing testimonials

The key is to focus on qual­i­ty over quan­ti­ty and to build links that add gen­uine val­ue to the inter­net ecosystem.

4. Guest posting doesn’t work anymore

Speak­ing of guest posts, there’s a preva­lent myth that this strat­e­gy has lost its effec­tive­ness in the mod­ern SEO land­scape. How­ev­er, this could­n’t be fur­ther from the truth.

Guest post­ing, when exe­cut­ed cor­rect­ly, remains a valu­able tac­tic in the dig­i­tal mar­keter’s toolk­it. It’s not mere­ly about secur­ing a back­link; it’s a strate­gic move to build rela­tion­ships, estab­lish author­i­ty, and share high-qual­i­ty con­tent with a larg­er audience.

To get guest post­ing right, con­sid­er the fol­low­ing tips:

  1. Tar­get rel­e­vant web­sites and ensure you’re writ­ing for sites that align with your indus­try or niche.
  2. Pri­ori­tise qual­i­ty and deliv­er insight­ful, valu­able con­tent that ben­e­fits the host site’s audience.
  3. Engage with the audi­ence by respond­ing to com­ments and feed­back on your guest post to fos­ter engagement.
  4. Avoid over­ly pro­mo­tion­al con­tent and instead focus on pro­vid­ing val­ue, not just pro­mot­ing your brand or product.

Remem­ber, the essence of guest post­ing lies in mutu­al growth and col­lab­o­ra­tion, not just link acquisition.

5. Local SEO doesn’t matter for small businesses

One of the mis­con­cep­tions that some small busi­ness own­ers hold is that they don’t need to be con­cerned with Local SEO. The truth is that Local SEO can be extreme­ly ben­e­fi­cial for small busi­ness­es, par­tic­u­lar­ly those with a brick-and-mor­tar presence.

Local SEO allows these busi­ness­es to lev­el the play­ing field, enabling them to com­pete with larg­er cor­po­ra­tions by specif­i­cal­ly tar­get­ing cus­tomers in their vicinity.

When a user search­es for ser­vices “near me” or men­tions a spe­cif­ic loca­tion, busi­ness­es opti­mised for local search are more like­ly to appear in the results, cap­tur­ing the atten­tion of poten­tial local customers.

So, what does Local SEO involve? It encom­pass­es a range of strate­gies including:

  • Claim­ing and opti­mis­ing Google My Busi­ness list­ings to ensure accu­rate busi­ness infor­ma­tion is dis­played on Google.
  • Gath­er­ing and respond­ing to online reviews can influ­ence local search rank­ings and cus­tomer trust.
  • Opti­mis­ing for local key­words, such as includ­ing city or neigh­bour­hood names in con­tent and meta tags.
  • Build­ing local cita­tions, which are online men­tions of a busi­ness’s name, address, and phone num­ber on oth­er websites.
  • Engag­ing in local link build­ing by part­ner­ing with local organ­i­sa­tions or par­tic­i­pat­ing in com­mu­ni­ty events.

In essence, for small busi­ness­es look­ing to make an impact in their local com­mu­ni­ty, Local SEO is a high­ly effec­tive way of grab­bing the atten­tion of poten­tial customers.

6. HTTPS is unnecessary

A preva­lent myth in the dig­i­tal realm is that HTTPS is an unnec­es­sary lux­u­ry, often stem­ming from the belief that only web­sites han­dling sen­si­tive data, like e‑commerce sites or bank­ing plat­forms, need this lev­el of security.

How­ev­er, this per­spec­tive is out­dat­ed and can be detri­men­tal to both web­site own­ers and their visitors.

Google has explic­it­ly con­firmed that HTTPS is a rank­ing fac­tor. This means that web­sites with HTTPS are giv­en pref­er­ence over those with­out, all oth­er fac­tors being equal.

But the ben­e­fits of HTTPS extend beyond just SEO. Secure sites not only have the poten­tial to rank bet­ter but also offer a safer brows­ing expe­ri­ence for users by encrypt­ing the data exchanged between the user’s brows­er and the web­site, pro­tect­ing it from eaves­drop­pers and poten­tial hackers.

So, what exact­ly is HTTPS? At its core, HTTPS (Hyper Text Trans­fer Pro­to­col Secure) is an exten­sion of HTTP, designed to facil­i­tate secure inter­net com­mu­ni­ca­tion. It uses SSL (Secure Sock­ets Lay­er) to encrypt data, ensur­ing that any infor­ma­tion exchanged remains confidential.

For web­site own­ers look­ing to embrace HTTPS, they should do the following:

  1. Pur­chase an SSL cer­tifi­cate because this cer­tifi­cate acts as a pub­lic key and allows for the encryp­tion of data.
  2. Install and con­fig­ure the SSL cer­tifi­cate on your web server.
  3. Update your web­site set­tings to redi­rect HTTP traf­fic to HTTPS.
  4. Reg­u­lar­ly renew and main­tain your SSL cer­tifi­cate to ensure ongo­ing security.

With our dai­ly use of dig­i­tal prod­ucts, data breach­es and cyber threats are com­mon­place. Adopt­ing HTTPS is not just a best prac­tice for SEO but a nec­es­sary step towards ensur­ing our web­sites are safe and trustworthy.

7. Content length = high quality

For quite some time, there’s been a pre­vail­ing notion in the con­tent world: the longer, the bet­ter. The idea was that a hefty word count equat­ed to com­pre­hen­sive, high-qual­i­ty con­tent. But let’s face it: not every user is gear­ing up to dive into War and Peace when they’re just look­ing for a quick answer!

While there’s unde­ni­able val­ue in in-depth, long-form con­tent, espe­cial­ly for com­plex top­ics that war­rant detailed explo­ration, it’s a mis­take to equate length direct­ly with qual­i­ty. A 3,000-word arti­cle that mean­ders with­out clear direc­tion or is filled with fluff can be far less valu­able than a con­cise, well-struc­tured 500-word piece.

Qual­i­ty isn’t sole­ly deter­mined by word count. It hinges on rel­e­vance, clar­i­ty, and align­ing with user intent. And, of course, we can’t for­get the impor­tance of strate­gi­cal­ly placed key­words. In the end, it’s about deliv­er­ing val­ue to the read­er, whether that’s in a brief sum­ma­ry or a deep dive.

8. Images don’t affect SEO

A sur­pris­ing­ly com­mon over­sight among web­site own­ers is the indis­crim­i­nate use of images. Many sim­ply pluck any visu­al­ly appeal­ing image and pop it onto their site, giv­ing lit­tle thought to the poten­tial SEO implications.

This lais­sez-faire approach might stem from the idea that the pri­ma­ry focus of SEO is tex­tu­al con­tent. How­ev­er, this could­n’t be fur­ther from the truth.

Images play a piv­otal role in the over­all user expe­ri­ence and SEO of a web­site. When prop­er­ly opti­mised, images can dras­ti­cal­ly improve page load times – anoth­er known rank­ing factor.

A faster-load­ing site offers a bet­ter user expe­ri­ence, reduc­ing bounce rates and increas­ing the time vis­i­tors spend on the site. Addi­tion­al­ly, with the rise of visu­al search, images pro­vide an avenue for vis­i­bil­i­ty in image search results, open­ing up anoth­er chan­nel for organ­ic traffic.

To har­ness the full poten­tial of images for SEO, con­sid­er the fol­low­ing tips:

  • Opti­mise image size because large image files can slow down your web­site. Before upload­ing, com­press images to reduce their file size with­out com­pro­mis­ing quality.
  • Use descrip­tive file names and alt text. Instead of gener­ic names like “IMG_01.jpg”, use descrip­tive file names relat­ed to the image con­tent. Sim­i­lar­ly, always include alt text that describes the image. This not only aids visu­al­ly impaired users but also pro­vides con­text to search engines about the image content.
  • Choose the right for­mat. Depend­ing on the type of image (pho­to­graph, illus­tra­tion, icon), choose the appro­pri­ate for­mat (JPEG, PNG, SVG) that offers the best qual­i­ty with the least file size.

9. Mobile SEO is secondary

In the ear­ly days of the inter­net, desk­tops reigned supreme, and mobile devices were just a dot on the dig­i­tal hori­zon. While mobile SEO was unim­por­tant then, the tables have turned now.

Today, with the surge in mobile search­es, hav­ing a mobile-opti­mised site isn’t just a nice-to-have—it’s essen­tial. Peo­ple are increas­ing­ly turn­ing to their phones for every­thing, from quick queries to online shopping.

Recog­nis­ing this shift, Google intro­duced mobile-first index­ing, which means the search engine pre­dom­i­nant­ly uses the mobile ver­sion of a site’s con­tent for index­ing and ranking.

For web­site own­ers look­ing to enhance their mobile SEO, here are a few steps to consider:

  1. Respon­sive design ensures your web­site design adjusts and looks good on screens of all sizes, from desk­tops to smartphones.
  2. Opti­mise page load speed because mobile users often have less patience for slow-load­ing sites. Com­press images, lever­age brows­er caching, and con­sid­er using AMP (accel­er­at­ed mobile pages) to speed things up.
  3. Sim­pli­fy nav­i­ga­tion on small­er screens because a clut­tered menu can be a night­mare for users.

In the cur­rent dig­i­tal land­scape, pri­ori­tis­ing mobile SEO is not just a strat­e­gy; it’s a neces­si­ty to remain com­pet­i­tive and rel­e­vant.

10.More pages = better SEO

Anoth­er com­mon myth that has remained rife over the years is the belief that more web pages equate to bet­ter SEO results. The log­ic seems sound on the sur­face: more con­tent equals more key­words, which should equal more traf­fic, right?

Sim­ply hav­ing count­less web pages does­n’t guar­an­tee bet­ter SEO. What tru­ly mat­ters is the qual­i­ty, rel­e­vance, and val­ue of those pages. Search engines pri­ori­tise deliv­er­ing the best

pos­si­ble con­tent to users, and if your mul­ti­ple pages are filled with thin or repet­i­tive con­tent, they’re unlike­ly to rank well.

Con­sid­er these two dif­fer­ent scenarios:

  • A local bak­ery has a web­site with only a few pages—Home, Menu, About Us, and Con­tact. Each page is opti­mised, and filled with rel­e­vant con­tent, appeal­ing images, and clear calls to action. Despite its small­er size, the site could rank excep­tion­al­ly well for local search­es because of its qual­i­ty and relevance.
  • An e‑commerce giant is a mas­sive online retail­er with thou­sands of prod­uct pages. While the sheer num­ber of pages pro­vides numer­ous rank­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties, if prod­uct descrip­tions are dupli­cat­ed, pages load slow­ly, or user nav­i­ga­tion is con­fus­ing, many of these pages might strug­gle to rank well.

The key take­away? It’s not about the quan­ti­ty of pages but the qual­i­ty. Whether your web­site is a com­pact, curat­ed col­lec­tion or a giant dig­i­tal heavy­weight, the focus should always be on deliv­er­ing val­ue to the user.

Final thoughts

The main thing about SEO is that it’s always chang­ing. Google reg­u­lar­ly updates its algo­rithm to weed out unhelp­ful con­tent or pages that have been manip­u­lat­ed. As long as your site stays true to Google’s val­ues, its SEO should remain afloat.

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