5 Common Misconceptions about SEO

Over the years, SEO has garnered a reputation for being incredibly complex, somewhat deceptive – and at times, even a downright waste of time. This reputation hasn’t been helped by unscrupulous agencies offering dodgy services, nor Google’s constantly changing search algorithm. Thanks to the fickle nature of SEO, myths arise and evolve – making it hard to discern fact from fiction.  

Here, we look at five common misconceptions about SEO that are still alive and well in 2016.  

1. SEO is primarily about achieving a number one ranking with Google.

A number one ranking with Google is impressive – and it’s certainly going to help brand awareness. However, topping the search engine results pages (SERPs) isn’t the primary goal when it comes to SEO; sales and leads are the real reason you’re spending all that money!

The most important thing is that you’re ranking for the right key phrases and attracting the right audience. There is no use ranking for key phrases that no one searches for – just as there is no reason to acquire site visitors whose needs you can’t address.

It’s far more productive to identify your target audience, work out what they’re searching for, and then ascertain how your website can address their needs information-wise. Of course if you can do this well and rank number one that’s great – but if you’re further down the page, you’re still better off than topping the SERPs for useless key phrases or ineffective searches.

2. PPC can boost search engine rankings.
There are some people that operate under the impression that pay per click (PPC) advertising has a direct positive influence on organic search rankings. PPC does have the potential to help you appear higher up the SERPs, but only in the advertising spaces – not the organic listing spaces. In other words, Google doesn’t favour those who are high PPC spenders when it comes to organic rankings.
However, PPC can indirectly help your SEO campaign – perhaps partially explaining where this myth originated. PPC is an excellent keyword research tool, as it provides you with actual data. Build a research campaign within AdWords using Broad Match Modifier keywords and capture a wider audience; it’s a far easier way to target long-tail keywords!

3. More content is better.

Long-Content   Image credit www.semrush.com

Content has always been an important ranking factor, however over the past few years it has become even more crucial to the success of an SEO campaign. Many believe that the more content you produce for a website (whether it’s on-page content or blog articles) the better.

However, there are two things wrong with this belief. Firstly, Google hates poor quality content. If the content on your website is spammy, keyword-stuffed, duplicated/scraped, spun, light on details and research, or generally useless from a user perspective, then you’re better off without it as it could result in a penalty. Secondly, poor quality content is of no use to site visitors. Even if your site does manage to rank well and attract traffic, the bounce rate will be high due to useless content – and therefore the conversion rate will be poor.

Focus on creating quality content that is in-depth and informative. If this means you can only produce one blog a week rather than every two days, so be it!

4. Meta tags are useless as they are no longer a ranking factor.

It’s important here to differentiate between meta tags – as some are useful while others aren’t.

Meta keywords – which are basically a number of keywords you deem relevant to your page – has been all but outlawed by Google. Back in the day, marketers could inset any keywords (even ones irrelevant to the website) in an attempt to improve rankings for these phrases. Basically, meta keywords are too easy to abuse, which is why Google doesn’t take notice of them anymore.

However, title tags and meta descriptions are important. Title tags (which appear at the top of the browser and as the SERP title) tell Google and searchers what your site is about, while meta descriptions give a brief overview of the page (think of it as an advertisement) on the SERPs and help with the click-through rate (CTR).

In summary, meta keywords are useless – however title tags impact SEO and CTRs, and meta descriptions affect CTRs.

5. Guest blogging is a waste of time.

Some website owners fear that guest blogging could result in their site being penalised. However, this simply isn’t true – providing you’re sensible about how you approach this link building tactic.

Marketers and experts contribute guest blogs to sites for many reasons; it’s not an activity exclusive to those carrying out SEO. Therefore, Google cannot dismiss this tactic entirely. However, it’s important to ensure you don’t overdo it – for example, don’t have large volumes of guest posts published all at once, and choose your sites carefully. In other words if you’re posting primarily to generate a large number of backlinks, you’re going to have a bad time!

As with other aspects of SEO, it’s about quality over quantity. Try and secure a guest blog on a reputable site, and make sure your articles are genuinely informative and useful here is a useful guide.

When it comes to SEO, there are many misconceptions and myths in circulation. As an ever-evolving industry that will always have its fair share of cowboys, these fallacies are inevitable; however the truth is always out there for those who take the time to search!