In our age of limitless information, it’s crazy how misunderstood SEO is.
SEO misinformation is passed around the internet like workout tips are passed around groups of steroid-injecting muscle heads on the bench press. We’re not sure about you, but we’re tired of website owners with mild SEO success flexing at us and saying “Check me out! It obviously works, bro!”
The internet is fertile ground for anecdotal evidence and bad advice. Here are a few of the worst offenders that we see time and time again.
1. You can game Google
Full stop. You can’t. While black-hat tactics might have flown in the earliest days of SEO, Google has put an obscene amount of effort into protecting itself from websites that try to manipulate the system. Plus, Google’s standards are always evolving to stay one step ahead. Anyone SEO guru who tells you he/she can game Google to get you a higher score is more interested in your wallet than your site.
2. The more links, the better
We’re not talking about obviously illegitimate tactics like link buying, here. We’re talking about the pervasive idea that the more backlinks your site has, the better off you are.
The numbers links doesn’t actually matter. What you want to monitor is the number of referring domains. A single website could give you fifty backlinks, but the SEO value of that is nothing compared to the opposite scenario: Fifty sites giving you one backlink each. Far more SEO value is derived from managing a wide network of referring domains than from a mere tally of inbound links.
3. You need to work on SEO
Yes and no. While the truth of this advice depends on the business in question, people treat SEO management as a holy grail for improved business performance. Not so. Many businesses would be better off forgoing their SEO efforts in favor of more cost-efficient marketing strategies, particularly small businesses with limited digital marketing budgets. Not everybody can compete on SEO—and not everybody should try to.
4. Just create great content
We hear this one a lot—SEO experts parrot this mantra left and right as a magic catch-all that can’t really be disproven. Not having SEO success? Well, your content isn’t good enough!
Sure, great content is necessary for SEO, but just as necessary are the on-site factors that allow it to be found and the engagement metrics that determine how readers interact with it. There are lots of variables at play, and the singular idea that great content will move mountains needs to go.
5. Your SEO needs constant updating
This one is tricky, but wrong all the same. Yes, SEO efforts will occasionally need to be updated to reflect current trends in keyword usage (or if you’ve just had a site redesign, obviously) but once it’s done, stop messing with it! We’ve had plenty of clients come to us after multiple SEO iterations, frustrated that their tinkering isn’t producing results. SEO is never finished, but be wary of micromanaging it.
Quality SEO Management
The misinformation surrounding SEO is due, in part, to the policies of search providers like Google that deliberately keep us in the dark about how their algorithms work. Nobody can tell you with one hundred percent certainty how to outdo your competitors. What business owners need to do is find a web development company with a proven track record of quality and trust in their expertise. SEO myths are slow to die—and still prevent companies from getting the most out of their websites.