The SEO community presents few authoritative voices amidst the endless crowd of upstarts, self-proclaimed gurus, and DIY enthusiasts. Taken in combination with the regular updates to Google algorithms that fuel constant shifts in SEO, the inevitable result is a community plagued by rumors and misconceptions. To help clear the muddied waters, here are a few SEO myths that belong up there with Bigfoot and fan death.
#1 Keyword Density is Crucial
In the early days of the web, it was common to come across pages that packed endless blocks of the same keywords at .1 size font with colors matching the background. Back then, it was an effective way to game the Google algorithm. However, it turns out that Google has come a long way since. The importance of keyword density was brought into question after the Panda and Hummingbird updates, but the verdict came in a while ago. Keyword density doesn’t have a correlation with ranking, so you don’t have to worry about stuffing your page with as many instances as possible
#2 Keyword Targeting is Irrelevant
On the flip side, the initial panic over Hummingbird had some SEO professionals jumping ship entirely to declare that keyword research was dead. The misunderstanding was that Hummingbird killed efforts to game keyword density, but it was done in favor of detecting query intent. Getting an accurate hit for a query still relies on targeted keywords, with a special emphasis on the long-tail variety.
#3 Links Don’t Matter Anymore
This one is another misunderstanding from muddied concepts. Backlinks and reciprocal links are outdated practices that aren’t going to help your ranking. In the same vein, Google has gotten better at catching cheap imitations from discount link farms. However, and this can’t be stressed enough, legitimate links from quality sources will still help boost your rankings. Content is huge, but quality links are the proverbial milk to the content cookie.
#4 Social Media Presence Boosts Your Ranking
A solid social media strategy can be a powerful element of your digital marketing campaign, but there's a subtlety that's lost here in the myth. Increased page visits help boost your ranking, and this can be achieved through the exposure that a good social media account provides. However, social media postings, in and of themselves, do not affect your search ranking.
#5 Google Penalizes Duplicate Content
Don’t get it twisted. Duplicate content is still not ideal for optimization. However, this one is really about semantics. Penalties are issued for violating Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Duplicate content is not a violation. The downside to duplicate content is that only one result of the duplicates will show up in search, but there is no ranking penalty for simply having a duplicate page.
Hopefully, this helps clear up some misconceptions. You really don't need a tinfoil hat or a rain dance to make SEO work. There are legitimate ways to boost SEO ranking, just don’t get caught up in all the old wives tales.