SEO is constantly changing. We see major updates from Google multiple times every year. So we have to constantly educate ourselves. Without constant education & adaptation, you’ll see a reduction in organic traffic.
Because SEO is constantly changing, what tactics works, what’s outdated or what simply doesn’t work. To help you, I’ve created a list of 10 SEO myths that keep hard-working bloggers from improving their search ranking.
1. More links are better than more content
In the past, links had more value. it was better to have more link than content. If you had lots of links, your website was sure to rank higher. So everyone started to do link buildings without giving any thought to quality. Google realized that webmasters were abusing their system, so they released an update called Penguin 2.0 in 2013.
Building links is still a very important ranking factor. But you have to focus on the quality of the link you are obtaining. Does that mean you should only invest in obtaining links? No. You also need to invest in creating content. Both are important. One will not work without the other.
2. You must submit your site to Google
Many people still think it’s not possible to appear in search results without submitting their website to Google. You can submit your new site to Google. But without submitting it, Google can still find you.
Even if you submit your site, it doesn’t mean Google will instantly index your site. It will be done in due time. If you are still doubtful, you can use Google’s URL submit form or the Search Console.
3. SEO is all about rankings
Searchers favour the top three results. There’s a strong correlation between clickthrough rates and search result placement. But ranking in the top three shouldn’t be your only goal.
It’s possible to rank well, get tons of traffic, and make no money. None of us wants that. There are a couple of reasons why this may happen. The most common one is, you have failed to optimize your keywords correctly. You’re trying to rank for a keyword that isn’t very relevant to your page. So make sure you’re doing keyword research properly.
To make sure people click on your site, craft meta description that is inviting to searchers. If it’s too dull or not compelling enough, people won’t click on your site.
4. Pop-ups always hurt SEO
Pop-ups can sometimes be annoying. But there is no doubt they work. If you want to generate leads, I will argue there are no better alternatives than pop-ups. But there are lots of controversy about whether we should really use pop-up if we want to rank well.
From last year, Google penalizes sites that use what Google calls “intrusive interstitials.” So a lot of people stopped using pop-ups. But you don’t have to stop. Google only penalizes the sites that use pop-ups that stops visitors from easily access the content.
You can use pop-ups that use a “reasonable” amount of screen space (banners, slide-ins) without disrupting user experiences. You can even use them for mobile-devices without hurting your SEO.
5. Keyword optimization matters most in SEO
Not too long ago, we had to write contents with exact matches of the keywords we want to rank for. But this has changed with Google’s RankBrain. RankBrain is a machine-learning algorithm that can understand keyword topics that is related to one another. So it can handle search queries it hasn’t seen before pretty well.
One of the main reason Google introduced RankBrain is, due to voice search, queries are becoming more conversational. Now there are hundreds of thousands of long-tail keywords that are regularly searched. You should try to rank for them. But keyword optimization is less important now because Google can understand more what a page is about.
6. Keyword density should be at least 2%
This is a continuation of the previous point. Many people think without repeating the keyword verbatim 2/3/4% of times, they won’t rank. They constantly ask themselves what would Google’s algorithm think when they are writing. This is the wrong approach. You need to ask yourself what your reader would think.
Instead of awkwardly forcing keywords in your writing, focus on readability. If you shove too many keywords in your page, Google may see it as keyword stuffing. Keywords stuffing is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. So you may get penalized.
One place where many people force keyword is the headline. Use a keyword that make sense in the headline. When you are writing a headline, clearly explain what that piece of content is about. That should be your only goal.
7. Social media helps to rank
If you do it well, social media will get you exposure. It may also help you get links, which in turn will help you get better rankings. That’s all social media does to increase ranking. By only posting on social media, you won’t rank better.
There are also some people who artificially increase their like or share to rank better. It’s known as black hat social media tactic. It’s also a futile attempt. You won’t rank better by getting more like. What’s more, your social media accounts are likely to get banned.
8. Duplicate content/syndicate content hurt seo
If the same content appears in more than one website, that’s duplicate content. If a third party publisher takes a content from a source while mentioning it (it’s important that the original article is clearly mentioned), that’s a syndicated content. Neither will see your site get penalized. Only article spinning and copied content will see your site get penalized.
One issue with duplicated content is if there is more than one item of content that is the same, Google will only rank one for the same query. It doesn’t make sense to show the same content multiple times to searchers.
9. There is no need for a sitemap
Google can’t easily crawl your whole site. The reducing size of navigational elements in mobile-first indexing makes it harder for Google crawlers to find all your pages. If you have a sitemap, you’re making it easier for crawlers to index and rank all your pages.
A sitemap will ensure that your pages get indexed quickly. But it won’t boost your ranking. Sitemaps in no way affect the actual ranking of a page. They only work as a guide for search engines.
10. Speed isn’t that important
When all other factors are equal, Google uses page speed as a tie-breaker. If your site has a severe speed issue, solving it can also boost your rankings. You will also retain more visitors.
When Google evaluate page speed, it pays most attention to how long the DOM takes to load. The DOMs (Direct Object Models) are the visible items on the page. It’s important to keep in mind that the Google Page Speed Insight tool only measures how long how long the DOM takes to load.
Did you believe any of these SEO myths? Are you doing anything that isn’t improving your ranking? Have you done anything that surprisingly improved your ranking? Let me know in the comment.