SEO is a peculiar thing.
From being a braindead and not very people-friendly activity, it has evolved into a user-centric practice.
Today, the true purpose of SEO is clear: Create the best possible experience for the user, and you will be rewarded with a nice view from the top of the search engines.
Most professional SEOs (that’s us with a conscience) take pride in doing it right, and we don’t want anything to do with the old ways. Neither do our customers. Does that mean that the old ways – the stupid ways – have left the building?
For some reason, a bunch of old and ineffective SEO myths are still alive and well. Some of them are so persistent that it’ll probably take years for them to turn into giant supernovas and dissolve into a gazillion miniature drops of stupid-sauce.
Hope I don’t get something on me!
Let’s dive into some of the most ridiculous SEO myths, so you can get the hell away from them before they explode.
SEO myth #5: I can reach top-5 in a jiffy
No, you can’t.
Unless you’ve found yourself an absolute niche without a trace of competition, you can’t get to the top just like that. SEO is … well … a marathon. It’s for the tenacious workhorses who can go on forever. I hate to break it to you if you don’t already know, but SEO isn’t done in a day, a week, or a year. It goes on. Forever.
Now, don’t lose courage on me. Your hard work will pay off, but slowly. Writing two articles on your company blog won’t get you far. Neither will a few crappy backlinks from shady places. You have to continually add new content. Old content has to be updated. You need to search for new quality backlinks at least every month.
If by some inexplicable reason you choose quantity over quality in your SEO, it might get you quicker results. I’m talking about buying a case of random links or letting some indifferent intern craft your articles by the dozen. You need passion and patience, my friend.
Because easy comes easy goes.
SEO myth #4: SEO is all about my keywords
No. No. No.
If SEO is all about something, it’s about user experience and user signals. Google’s ranking factors are designed to create the best possible user experience. Thus, Google rewards quality-centered websites.
But keywords embedded in quality content is only part of SEO.
The other parts that you have to think about are:
- page speed
- link profile
- meta tags
- duplicate content
- HTML errors
- internal linkbuilding.
And so on.
So you better get to it.
SEO myth #3: I only need to rank on a handful of keywords – and I need the 1st place
Good luck with your business, Chuck. You’re gonna need it. ‘Cause if your only goal is to rank no. 1 on a select few keywords, you might as well quit. Now.
Yes, the top-results get the most traffic. But you can rank no.1 on any number of keywords, and each great position can earn you a ton of traffic and benefit your business.
Generic keywords are by far the hardest to rank for. Generic keywords are keywords that consist of a single or maybe two words. These are very broad and the competition is fierce. You might think that these keywords are the way to the big bucks. While you’re not necessarily all wrong, you’re definitely not right.
You’re missing out on a truckload of traffic if you ignore your long-tail keywords. Long-tails are keywords consisting of four words or more.
And you know what the best part about them is?
They are much easier to rank for – and they can turn visitors into customers just as easily as generic keywords can. Also, people using long-tails in their searches know what they’re looking for. They are more likely to have made a decision to buy.
Utilize that by creating great content around your long-tails.
SEO myth #2: I got a gazillion backlinks so I don’t need great content
I have to tell you – this one hurts a lover of words.
You can’t eliminate the need for world-class content just by getting a ton of external links pointing to your site. You really can’t. It’s illogical – what would all these backlinks point to if there is nothing to be found on your site? How is the buyer supposed to know how – or feel inspired – to make a purchase?
Content can be all sorts of interesting stuff. You can post videos, infographics, or pictures. Me? I’m in the words department. I’m a writer. I prefer to try to reach your heart through my texts. But feel completely free to do what works for you, your readers, and your viewers. As long as you present them something of value when they take time out of their busy schedules to visit your site.
We’ll end the countdown with a stubborn little SEO myth that seems to have an endless amount of lives. No matter how many times you put it to sleep, it just keeps coming back, the sucker.
SEO myth #1: Keyword stuffing is the way to go
Aah, keyword stuffing. The greatest SEO myth of all. The SEO miracle of the past.
The PAST, fercrisssake!
Keyword stuffing is the not-so-brilliant strategy of forcing large numbers of selected keywords into your text causing it to sound completely idiotic to a human brain.
Imagine that you have a nice set of coffee mugs that you want to advertise for. You write the following text on your website:
Coffee mugs for sale. You gonna love these coffee mugs because coffee mugs are easy to love. Plus coffee mugs are great for drinking coffee, though coffee mugs can also be used by tea-drinkers …
You go on like that. On and on and on. For half a page you mention the words ‘coffee mugs’ twice in every single line of the text. And there you have it – you committed the SEO sin of keyword stuffing. May Google Almighty have mercy on your advertising soul.
I can assure you that no one is ever going to enjoy a hot cup of joe in one of your mugs as long as you write like that. See, a keyword-stuffed text is designed for one thing only: search engines like Google. And yes, 10 years ago, Google would probably have ranked your text right up top.
But not today.
Search engines want nothing to do with idiotic texts simply because they don’t want to treat their users like idiots. Google figures that nobody wants to read uninspiring, mechanical, and repetitive text.
Makes sense, right?
Keyword density still matters
Though keyword stuffing is banned, keyword density still matters. In order for a search engine to understand what you’re writing about, you need to feed it all the central words.
But here’s the magnificent part …
… it will come naturally to you as long as you write for people instead of machines. In fact, think of it as keyword variation, and not keyword density. The more you can vary your writing, the better. Variation means using synonyms and related words. It also means varying your sentences. Variation is key.
Because human beings like their texts that way.