myths

It’s 2014 and SEO is as mainstream as it has ever been. Heck, National Car Rental mentioned SEO in their national TV ads. So why is there still so much confusion and misconceptions about SEO? Laugh all you want, but these 10 statements are ones that many SEOs still encounter today.

1. “SEO is Just About Keyword Stuffing & Keyword Density, Right?”

Keywords? No, SEO is not about keywords. This misconception is likely the primary reason why most writers hate working on any SEO related projects because they believe SEO is ruining their writing.

First off, let’s remove the concept of “keywords”, and replace it with the term “key phrases”. Secondly, SEO is about not just specific keywords, but synonyms as well. Lastly, there is no ideal percentage or number of times a key phrase should appear within an article. It should be about readers first, SEO second.

As a writer, just remember, it’s about writing using the language that your readers are using to search Google. It’s also about using these key phrases smartly within an article such as the article title.

2. “SEO is Just About Meta Tags & Stuff”

Actually, meta tags haven’t been a prominent ranking factor in SEO since the early days of Alta Vista & Yahoo. The only meta tags that you need to be mindful of is the meta description which Google sometimes uses as a descriptor of your web pages in search results.

3. “Isn’t SEO Just About Getting As Many Links Pointing to My Website?”

Think of links like employment references. It’s not about getting a bunch of low relevance references from just anybody. It’s about getting references from very authoritative sources, like getting references from a VP or a senior executive.

Are links important in SEO? Yes.

Then is it just about an ideal volume of links pointing to a website? No.

When it comes to links and SEO, it’s all about quality & authority. Think of links like employment references. It’s not about getting a bunch of low relevance references from just anybody. It’s about getting references from very authoritative sources, like getting references from a VP or a senior executive.

4. “Don’t Worry, We Can Do SEO After the Website has Been Launched”

Actually, SEO should be considered during the planning stages of your digital marketing strategy.

SEO should be considered when:

  • Selecting a domain name
  • Deciding on a web platform or CMS
  • Determining development requirements
  • Figuring out your content strategy

If you bypass SEO during some of these critical stages, you may have to re-do a bunch of steps just to make your website search engine friendly.

5. “SEO Will Happen Naturally as Long as You Produce Lots of Content. Any Content.”

Does content matter in your SEO strategy? Absolutely!

But it’s also about creating content that your users are searching for. As well as creating search optimized content.

If you don’t factor these two elements in your content strategy you may find yourself in the following situations:

  • Not seeing organic search traffic as a result of your content strategy
  • Attracting unqualified organic search traffic from readers who may not be interested in your company or products

6. “My Web Designer or Web Developer Should Know What They’re Doing, I Don’t Need Someone to Look After SEO”

Would you take your new luxury car to just any mechanic for a tune-up?

Would you take your new luxury car to just any mechanic for a tune-up? Yes they may know about the general concept of engines, but they don’t specialize in getting the most out of your new luxury car.

SEO is a specific niche of digital marketing. It requires a handful of technical and creative skills that your web developer or designer may not be as well versed in.* So it’s best not to assume that every web designer or developer knows the latest SEO tactics.

*Note: There are web developers out there that are very SEO savvy, so I wouldn’t apply this statement to every web developer out there.

7. “I Don’t Need to Do Any Other Form of Marketing or Social Media. I’m Good with Just Doing SEO.”

SEO needs to be part of an integrated inbound marketing strategy. It involves great design, user experience, professional copywriting, a strong social media presence, a great strategic content marketing vision, etc.

Google is smarter today than it was 10 years ago. And so are your users. A crappy website with a sub-par content or social media game will no longer fly in 2014. Either Google will ignore you, or your competition will beat you hands-down.

8. “My Company is the Top Company in Our Industry, Google Has to Send Us Website Traffic.”

Google is showing a strong preference for well-known, credible brands. However, if your website doesn’t follow the basic tenants of creating a search engine friendly website, you could find yourself behind lesser companies on Google.

I’ve personally seen this where a global enterprise worth a few billion dollars was getting trounced by smaller companies in Google.

9. “Doesn’t Running Google AdWords Campaigns Help our SEO?”

No, Google does not give your website extra credit in organic search results if you run Google AdWords campaigns. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) are two distinct tactics to drive traffic to your website. Buying ads in Google AdWords does not improve your organic search engine rankings in Google.com.

10. “SEO is Dead. It Doesn’t Work.”

Legacy SEO tactics just keep dying and new tactics surface.

Legacy SEO tactics just keep dying and new tactics surface. Anytime someone says SEO is dead is likely referring to the old tactics they leveraged that is no longer relevant.

The majority of companies that rely on their website to directly or indirectly generate revenue, rely on organic search engine traffic to sustain their business. That includes small businesses as well as Fortune 1000 companies. So no, SEO isn’t dead and many companies still rely on it today to sustain their business.

So there’s the 10 common SEO myths that still persist even in 2014. What other myths do you still come across in your practice?

Hey there, I'm Marc!

I'm the Director of Growth Channels @Hootsuite. I've worked in digital marketing since 2000 for agencies, startups and companies like Electronic Arts & SAP. Thanks for checking out my site where I share digital marketing strategies on how to increase website traffic and generate more revenue.

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