In SEO, there is one universal truth; SEO is about trial and error. There is no one thing you can do to massively improve your website’s SEO, nor is there a cheat sheet you can use to help your website to rank better. Ask anyone who’s been in SEO for any amount of time, and they will all tell you the same thing. In SEO, there is no one surefire way that will help your website overnight. It requires patience, and multiple trials. In fact, according to Google, there are 10,000 signals which influences their search rankings. Which is partly the reason why there are so many popular SEO myths that are making the rounds. So in this article, we’re going to be discussing the top 10 popular SEO myths that are making the rounds, and how they are actually hurting your website.
Why SEO Myths Are So Prevalent
But first, we need to discuss why SEO myths are so prevalent in the current SEO industry. As mentioned above, Google previously made the claim that their search rankings are influenced by 10,000 signals they receive from your websites.
Some experts believe that this is a massively boasted claim, just to one-up Bing who previously made the claim that their search rankings are influenced by 1000 signals. Although this might be true, it doesn’t change the fact that Google’s ranking factors remain a mystery for most people.
This helps create an environment where myths and half-truths prevail, as no one is sure what works, and what doesn’t. Hence, the popularity of SEO myths.
Here are other reasons why SEO myths are so prevalent;
1. It’s Profitable
It’s unscrupulous and downright scummy, but it is profitable for some people to propagate myths regarding SEO. This can be seen from reports of the US’s Federal Trade Commission shutting down businesses that ran a telemarketing scam, pretending to be Google.
And the only reason they can operate is because there are a lot of confusions and misunderstandings around SEO, and how Google operates. As long as business owners don’t possess the knowledge of SEO, unethical businesses can capitalize of their ignorance.
And let me tell you, even in 2020, there are more business owners that don’t understand SEO than those who do understand it.
In the world of SEO, information are almost always gotten from blogs or other experts, not Google themselves. And this is a problem as the information that makes it’s way to the users are often third-hand, or even fourth-hand.
This gives way for misinformation and misunderstanding to spread, and even sensationalism to rear it’s ugly head. It also doesn’t help that Googlers are often contradicting themselves, which leaves even more room for popular SEO myths to spread.
Another reason why popular SEO myths keeps getting peddled as truths in the SEO industry is because as an industry, SEO is constantly evolving.
What might pass as the truth 2 years ago, might not be the case anymore in 2020. Combined with the lack of information as we have discussed in the previous point, this means that it’s even easier for the uninformed to take popular SEO myths as the truth.
Disproving Top 10 Popular SEO Myths
So now that we have gotten that out of the way, let’s look at the top 10 popular SEO myths that have been making it’s rounds, and how it’s actually hurting your site instead.
1. Keywords Density Greatly Improves Pages Ranking
Keywords density do matter. Let’s get that out of the way first. But in extreme cases, it can be harmful instead.
Back in the stone ages of SEO, pages used to try and stuff as many of their targeted keywords on a single page, hoping that will help them get ranked on Google for their targeted keywords.
Although that might have worked in the past, it is no longer working now. In fact, now it’s harmful for your site.
But still, this myth keeps making it rounds, making some people employ keyword stuffing as their main SEO strategy.
However, this strategy not only no longer doesn’t net any results anymore, it’s even harmful for your site.
Why? Because Google has announced in recent years that although keyword density is a measure when they rank sites, but they don’t do it in a more=better fashion.
Instead, they use something called the TF-IDF, which means Term Frequency – Inverse Document Frequency. If you want to read more about this, Google explains this in further detail in one of their blog posts.
But for the SEO layman, all you need to know that it’s still talking about density. That’s what Term Frequency means. However, it doesn’t mean that keyword stuffing is still going to work.
Why? Because with TF-IDF, Google is also considering the context and what is natural compared to everything else on the internet.
Which means that if your page or website is unnaturally dense in keywords, Google will be able to flag this as unnatural and penalize your page.
So what you should be doing instead is keeping your content as natural as possible, with the keywords thrown in only when it fits.
2. Social Signals Are A Ranking Factor
Way back in the stone ages of SEO (2010s), almost every self-proclaimed SEO experts and blogs are convinced that social signals are one of the biggest ranking factor employed by Google. Back then, it’s just another popular myth. Now? It’s still a popular myth.
Basically what they believed is that Google was tracking everything, from your social media, and using this information to determine your website rankings.
This is just plain wrong. It was wrong back then, and it’s still wrong now.
In 2010, Google came out to say that social signals were not a ranking factor. In 2012, Google announced that they were trying it. But in 2014, Google confessed that their social signal experiment didn’t work out, and it was again not a thing.
The only way how social media can help your rankings is by helping your backlinks. And we all know that backlinks are a legit ranking factor employed by Google.
Unlike the previous myth, this myth doesn’t hurt your rankings too much. But it will however waste your resources by allocating it to something that doesn’t work.
3. Backlinks Are Not A Ranking Factor
While we’re on the topic of backlinks, let’s get one thing straight; Regardless of what anyone tells you, backlinks are definitely a factor.
No matter how many SEO doomsday prophets you listen to, backlinks have always been a major ranking factor, and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.
Why? Simple. Because Pageranks has always been and will always be about link building. Backlinks at its core, is a system that is very difficult to manipulate on a large scale, which means that it is very secure.
No matter what is the current fashionable SEO trend, backlinks will always be one of the core ranking factors for Google.
Now this myth can hurt your site immensely. Without backlinks, you will be hard pressed to rank for any of your pages, let alone your website.
4. SEO Is A One-Time Activity
Here’s another popular SEO myth that is very prevalent. Some SEO agencies are adamant that SEO is a one time thing that you only have to do once, and never look at again.
However, this is cannot be further than the truth.
The truth is, SEO is always evolving, which means that there will always be an opportunity for you to tweak something on your website for better SEO.
If you think of SEO as a one time thing and neglect it after your initial SEO efforts, you will undoubtedly see your website overtaken by other sites in the future.
5. Bulk Buying Links Helps You Rank Better
We’ve mentioned before in this list of popular SEO myths that some people propagates the myth that backlinks don’t really matter in the big picture of SEO. As you can see above, we’ve mentioned why backlinks do matter, and why it will continue to matter for the foreseeable future.
But there are also people who take this idea to another extreme. There are people who mistaken believes that if backlinks work, then buying backlinks in bulk will help them rank faster.
Here’s a simple reason why buying backlinks in bulk does not work.
Because of how PageRank works, a universal truth can be observed; the easier the link is to get, the worst the link is.
The more links on a page there are, the less those links are worth.
Another reason why bulk bought links are worthless, because consider who else are buying these links.
If a link is available for everyone, Google will mark them down as a ‘Free-for-all’ links. These links are quite simply the worst of the worst, filled with porn, dodgy pill affiliates, and other dodgy stuff that you don’t want to be associated with your website.
If you use these bulk bought links, best case scenario is that it’s worthless for your SEO.
Worst case scenario, your site will be penalized heavily for trying to game the system and it might take you years for you to rectify.
6. In SEO, It’s #1 Or Bust
This is one of the most popular SEO myths that has been making its rounds since the dawn of SEO.
It’s true, that in SEO, your goal will always be to get your website/page on the #1 ranking on Google. After all, studies have shown that the first placed page on Google SERP receives 35% of the clicks and falls off rapidly from there.
However, this doesn’t mean that the other positions are worthless. Why? Because it’s still better performing than Google’s own Google ads.
According to the another study, only 3%-4% of users clicks on the paid search ads that comes up on the SERP.
So don’t be discouraged even if your page/website doesn’t rank on the #1 spot, instead try to improve your CTR from where you are.
7. Content Is Irrelevant
Now this is one of the most hurtful and disruptive popular SEO myths around, that content doesn’t matter in SEO.
Some people think that content is irrelevant because they believe that link buildings and other SEO strategy is more important.
But I’m here to tell you, in order to rank good in Google, you need both good content and a good SEO strategy.
The reason why this popular SEO myth is so hurtful? Because Google has said that their ultimate goal is to present good content for their users. So as long as your website has meaningful, informative and useful content, then it will get picked up by Google.