Unbelievably in 2016 there are still lots of myths surrounding SEO and while some of these come from misunderstanding others are just plain wrong. Amazed by how many times we come across these myths we thought it was time to debunk some of the most common ones and give you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Myth #1 PageRank Matters
First up and perhaps the mother of all SEO myths is PageRank and how important this is to getting top rankings for your website.
Named after Google’s co-founder Larry Page, PageRank was an innovative solution for judging the popularity of a webpage. This metric is long outdated and is no longer updated meaning as a metric it is pretty worthless. These days there are far more useful measurements such as Citation Flow, Page Authority and Domain Authority which give a far better indication of how well optimised your website really is.
Myth #2 Link Building is Dead
Every couple of years it is claimed that link building is dead. It’s also claimed it’s bad for your website and that Google will penalise you for links. Simply put this is not the case.
Links remain in the top two ranking factors for your website and saying that link building is dead couldn’t be further from the truth. What needs to be taken from this is the type, quality and quantity of links and like everything else in SEO, relevance is the key factor.
If you are buying links on mass then don’t expect these to help your site as the relevancy will be extremely low.
Myth #3 Keywords Aren’t Important
Yes it’s true that Google uses semantic search to understand the intent and meaning behind both search queries and web content but keywords are still a vital element of SEO.
Rather than trying to stuff as many instances of your keywords into your content you should be focusing on matching topics to individual pages on your site and having related keywords spread through the content. Keyword research is also the key to great SEO and the challenge is in picking keywords that will drive traffic but aren’t overly competitive.
Myth #4 PPC Will Boost Organic Rankings
Just because you are paying to play doesn’t mean that you are going to see an organic rankings boost for your website. This is one of the most frustrating myths as lots of companies say they see an improvement in organic rankings after using PPC.
The most common reason for this is that they improve the content and user experience on their webpages to make them more relevant for their AdWords traffic. These changes help to make their pages better quality with higher topical relevance which also helps them to achieve better organic rankings. Simply paying for traffic will not improve your organic rankings.
Myth #5 Mobile Friendliness Isn’t Important
Perhaps you have a small website promoting your plumbing business, or maybe you’re an accountant looking to target local businesses, whatever your situation you probably think that your website won’t be viewed on a mobile phone. Well the truth is that more searches in the UK come from mobile devices than computers.
With 76% of UK adults now owning a smartphone and a massive surge in mobile commerce over recent years, mobile is now more important than ever. Mobile-friendliness is also a Google ranking factor so by updating your website you are more likely to get better organic rankings.
Myth #6 SEO can be Done Once and Left
As tempting as it is to believe this myth it won’t do your business any good.
SEO is a constantly evolving process with the major search engines making frequent tweaks, updates and in some cases complete overhauls of their ranking algorithms.
Adding new pages, link degradation over time and your competitors making changes are all things that can affect the performance of your website in organic rankings. If you are not keeping on top of your SEO then you will see your rankings drop and the traffic to your website decline
Myth #7 You get Penalised for Duplicate Content
You might have guessed by now that the myths stated are just that and again there is no truth in this one. Google will not penalise your site for having duplicate content, but it will also not reward it either. This is particularly the case for online retailers where you are using the same product content as everyone else.
Take the time to write unique product descriptions and optimise these pages and you stand a much better chance of ranking well for your products.
Myth #8 Local SEO Doesn’t Matter
Where do we even begin with this one? Local SEO is extremely important for your business, regardless of size or industry.
With a rise in mobile usage and continued changes to Google’s search algorithms there continues to be a focus on updating your local results to make them as accurate as possible. The date for local results is taken from a range of sources including citations, third-party data sources, Google My Business and your own website. Having your business appear in local listings is another way that your customers can find your business over your competitors.
Myth #9 SEO can be Automated
There are many automated tools available including plugins for popular platforms such as WordPress but this doesn’t mean they are a substitute for a real person.
Automated tools are normally a recipe for disaster and anything that promises fast results for very little time spent is definitely too good to be true. Someone that does SEO for a living will be able to make informed decisions based on data, experience, website structure, content and hundreds of other factors to make sure your website performs as well as it can. This process simply can’t be automated, so you shouldn’t even try.
Myth #10 Exact Match Domains are Best
A long time ago in a Google far, far removed from what it is now, exact match domains ruled. Thankfully we have come a long way since then and having a keyword stuffed domain name doesn’t mean you will rank at the top of the search engines.
In fact since Google updated their algorithm in 2012 to target exact match domain names the value of them has decreased. Unless you have great topical content, good links and high authority, don’t expect a keyword rich domain name to boost your website to the top of the rankings.
So there we have it, some of the most common SEO myths debunked, hopefully for good.