2015. What a time to be alive. More people than ever have access to the internet and the wealth of information that it provides, potentially enriching our lives and helping us understand more about everyone and everything.
With a tap of the keyboard and click of the mouse we can answer any question we want and become masters of any subject area. But with great power comes great responsibility.
Why then, do SEO bad practices litter online guides and forums? How do SEO ‘experts’ still get away with lazily employing outdated and black-hat techniques?
The answer is simple. There is such a wealth of content out there that the good stuff gets lost in amongst the waffle!
Here are 15 SEO myths that we still keep hearing in 2015 and that we strongly recommend you should ignore:
The no-no list
1. “We can get you ranked #1 on Google by tea-time tomorrow!!”
No you can’t. Be wary of anyone who guarantees page or position one on search engines in a ridiculously short period of time. 9 times out of 10 they will adopt spammy methods that could see your website hit with a penalty.
2. “It’s all about the number of links you can get.”
Contrary to popular belief, link building isn’t the be all and end all. I hope any webmasters reading this realise that it’s definitely a case of quality over quantity for link building today.
However, what a lot of people don’t realise is that 1 million links from 10 referring domains is nothing compared to 100 links from 50 authoritative domains. It’s an unrealistic looking backlink profile.
3. “Link building is dead.”
Although backlinks have lost some of their power in driving the rankings and they’re not as powerful as they were just a few years ago, they still have a lot of live left in them. Competitors telling you to stop building links as you’ll only get penalised? Wonder why?
4. “Any part of SEO can be automated.”
There is undoubtedly a wealth of great tools out there that can automate some of the mundane and repetitive tasks to save time and improve efficiency.
However, if you’re using tools that automate blog posts, social media updates, directory submissions, links or content in general then you will most definitely come unstuck. Google isn’t stupid. If it’s not natural, enriching content then it’s worthless.
5. “Keyword stuffing works. Keyword stuffing works. Keyword stuffing works.”
See what I did there? Okay it’s pretty basic knowledge but you’d be surprised at how many DIY SEO’s still believe that keyword stuffing is good practice.
Don’t be afraid to repeat keywords that are relevant to your product or service on your website, but bear in mind that when it because unreadable gibberish, it’s likely to be marked up as spam.
6. “Great content will go viral by itself.”
You could be the hypothetical lovechild of William Shakespeare and Jane Austen who’s just created the next ‘1984’ but if you don’t promote your content the most exposure you’re going to get is a ‘RT’ off your mate.
Highly targeted PPC ads can be incredibly effective and Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn offer promotion and advertisements to amplify and push your posts.
7. “Once I’m ranking #1 on Google then I don’t need SEO anymore”.
Maintaining first position is often as tricky as getting there in the first place; if not more so. Competition at the top of the SERP’s is fierce and the only people who will benefit from you stopping a, clearly beneficial, SEO campaign is your competitors. SEO isn’t a video game; you can’t complete it.
8. “It’s all about rankings/ It’s all about traffic.”
Truth is, it’s about both.
Now that Google and other search engines have become so algorithmically clever with its use of semantic and personalised search, the ‘top 10’ results that you see may vary greatly to that someone else sees. Either way, the difference in traffic in ranking 1st and ranking 11th is huge. Rankings still matter.
You must, however, consider the quality of traffic you receive. Ranking highly for irrelevant keywords and getting a bunch of traffic from users with no interest in your product or service, then what’s the point?
9. “Social Interaction is the new link building”
Social Media is great for driving highly targeted traffic, increasing brand awareness and yes, it is now one of Google’s many ranking factors, but replacing that bedrock of Google’s algorithm that is links?
Remember, it is a case of developing an all-encompassing strategy where you succeed in every aspect of online marketing and not just focusing on the latest trend.
10. “Guest blog anywhere and everywhere!”
Since Matt Cutts declared early last year that the link building technique of Guest Blogging should be stopped, there has been wild theories banded around the SEO world.
“You must stop guest blogging all together”, “blogging gets you a penalty!”
The fact of the matter is that not a great deal has changed. Guest blogging is still a great way of improving SEO. However, of the past few years, black-hatters have spammed the technique so much that Google have tried to tighten up on it.
Ask yourselves these questions:
- Is it relevant?
- Will the reader be interested/benefit from the post?
- Are you ‘black-hatting’ with exact match anchors/keyword stuffing?
- Is it actually any good?
11. “You should optimise anchor text”
Don’t get me wrong, this used to work. Using keywords for what you want to rank for as anchor text was commonplace but it’s so outdated. Again, focus on linking naturally. Benefit the user. A branded or bare URL anchor won’t hurt either.
12. “Reviews are the new most important ranking factor”
Whilst reviews are important in helping you rank well locally, there are several other factors that Google takes into consideration when positioning local websites.
This piece of bad advice is closely related to the ‘get more backlinks’ gem. And, just like with links, don’t ever consider buying reviews! Did I even have to tell you that!?
13. “We should ‘do some SEO’ ourselves”
Yeah great idea. I mean, it’s not like there is a plethora of SEO and Digital Marketing agencies out there who do it for a living. With years of experience. Possibly working for your competitors. (Apologies for the severe sarcasm).
SEO today forms part of a wider digital marketing strategy that takes hours of research, planning and implementation. ‘Doing SEO yourself’ with no experience is essentially digging your website its own grave and you will most probably do your business more harm than good.
14. “Pages with thin or duplicated content don’t affect your rankings”
In the words of Matt Cutts:
“Duplicate content issues are rarely a penalty.
It’s more about Google knowing which page they should rank.
Google doesn’t want to show the same content to searchers for the same query; they like to diversify the results”
Although unlikely to land you with a manual penalty, duplicate or thin content will merely mean that many of your pages will not be indexed.
This is of added importance for eCommerce companies who want to display many similar products, or even the same product perhaps in a different colour, with an accompanying description.
15. “SEO is all you need”
What about similar marketing methods that intertwine and support SEO such as Content Marketing, Conversion Rate Optimisation and Social Media Marketing? Paid techniques such as PPC and more traditional tactics such as Email Marketing?
Do some research into your niche, decide what’s appropriate for your company and take it from there. There’s a lot of noise out there, and not all of its true! If you are still following these truly worrying tactics then we recommend you check out this video for further ‘help’.