Debunking The Rumors: 16 SEO Myths You Really Should Ignore

James Devonshire / seo

As Creative Mindscape COO and co-founder, Neil Henry, wrote in his piece SEO Misconceptions: The Truth Behind The Chatter in November last year, “[SEO] has become a bit of a victim of its own success.”

It’s a reality that isn’t really surprising when you analyze it. After all, here’s SEO, a seemingly all-powerful, yet often misunderstood practice that (potentially) holds the key to catapulting your website to the first page of the SERPs.

SEO myths is actually a topic that enraptures me because it is so polarizing and there is so much conflicting information out there. That’s why it was a pleasant surprise to receive this awesome infographic from My Biz Niche on the subject:

Let’s look at it in a little more detail.

1. SEO Gets You Quick Results

If you begin an SEO campaign expecting quick results, I’ve got news for you: you’re going to be disappointed. That’s because while SEO absolutely can produce results, they’re very rarely instant.

With that in mind, you should be very wary of any companies that “guarantee you fast results” or promise to get your website to the first page of Google within X days. At best, it’s a broken promise. At worst, your website could become the subject of black hat SEO tactics.

Do things correctly, invest sufficient time and you’ll be rewarded for your efforts.

2. Get Your Site To Page One Of The SERPs And Your SEO Work Is Done

SEO is a constantly-evolving discipline, which means what works today may not necessarily work tomorrow. The search engines of the world change their algorithms for a pastime. For them, it’s all about improving the user experience, and so while your website may be sitting pretty on page one of the SERPs right now, that doesn’t mean it’s still going to be there in the short-, mid- or long-term future.

In fact, keeping a website on the first page of the SERPs can be as difficult as getting it there in the first place. The bottom line is that SEO is definitely not a one-time, big-time affair. Stay abreast of industry changes, what the search engines are up, and what your competitors are doing.

3. The Older Your Domain, The Better

People think that older domains automatically receive an SEO boost over younger ones. And while it’s true that older domains do often carry more value (more content, more backlinks, more time spent on SEO), they are not given preferential treatment by search engines.

When it comes to SEO, Google and the other big players hate giving unfair advantages and try to keep the playing field as level as possible. This is highlighted by the fact that some new websites with oodles of great SEO work can outrank their older counterparts.

4. Keyword Research Doesn’t Matter

When an individual conducts an Internet search, they enter a number of keywords or phrases that they think will return the most accurate, relevant results. If your website content does not contain any of these keywords or phrases, there’s a very good chance it’s not going to appear in the search results for them.

Keywords remain one of the most effective ways to rank organically and that’s why keyword research should definitely still be a part of your overall SEO initiatives.

However, the black hat SEO practice of keyword stuffing remains a big no-no. It’s unethical and is a surefire way to get your website penalized by the search engines.

5. Guest Posting Is Dead

Says who!?

Okay, so Google’s Matt Cutts famously called the decay and fall of guest blogging back in January 2014, but he was very specific in what he wrote:

“I just want to highlight that a bunch of low-quality or spam sites have latched on to “guest blogging” as their link-building strategy, and we see a lot more spammy attempts to do guest blogging. Because of that, I’d recommend skepticism (or at least caution) when someone reaches out and offers you a guest blog article.”

The bottom line? Quality will always stand out. Have standards when accepting guest blog posts, demand high quality pieces always, and don’t appear spammy.

The content farms of old have died a death at the hands of the search engines, and rightly so. But that doesn’t mean guest blogging is dead. Far from it.

6. The Best Links Are From .edu & .gov Sites

My immediate challenge to anyone who stated this would be to define ‘best’. Are they the best because .edu and .gov websites tend to have higher domain authorities? Or is it because such websites are considered highbrow, so any links they publish must be valuable, informative, and relevant?

The reality is that there are numerous .com websites which outrank .edu and .gov ones. They get more visitors, have much larger social followings, and are often vastly more relevant to your niche. Getting a backlink from one of these sites would be much, much more beneficial to your SEO than one from a lower-ranking .edu or .gov website.

7. A Dedicated IP Helps Boost Your Google Rank

I think the best way to approach this statement is to turn it on its head and look at it from the point of view that a shared IP might damage your Google rank, but a dedicated one isn’t necessarily going to improve it.

That’s because websites that share IPs can suffer from poor performance and have their security undermined by other sites residing on the same shared servers. As a result, Google may lower their search ranking.

So, while a shared IP could result in your ranking taking a hit, a dedicated IP isn’t necessarily going to proactively boost it.

This video by Matt Cutts from 2010, despite being eight years old, provides an excellent overview of how Google views shared hosting:

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8. Linking Out Helps You Rank

I must admit that I am a huge fan of linking out. But only to be a good Internet neighbor and give credit where it’s due.

From an SEO perspective, though, linking out does little to boost your ranking. Backlinks, on the other hand, can be worth their weight in gold.

Now there is an argument to say the more you link out, the more backlinks you’ll attract, but that is obviously not guaranteed.

9. You Can Only Do SEO When You Finish Building Your Site

When you’re building a website (or having one built), there will be a focus on performance, security, content, mobile friendliness, and much, much more. All of these considerations have the ability to positively (or negatively) impact your SEO.

That’s why SEO should be at the forefront of your mind before you even kick off a new website project. It could, in fact, play a significant role when you’re choosing your domain name.

10. Great Content Is Enough To Get High Rankings

As a professional writer, high-quality content is something that really resonates with me. And there’s no denying that superb content makes people naturally want to share and link to it – both of which can positively impact SEO.

However, you can have the best blog post in the world, but if no one finds it because you haven’t optimized for certain keywords or promoted it via your social channels, it could ultimately be wasted.

Great content and SEO should go hand in hand.

11. Any Inbound Link Is Good For SEO

Remember I mentioned content farms earlier? These low-quality websites built solely to generate backlinks are a hideous reminder of how black hat SEO practitioners try and cheat search engines.

Rightfully, Google took firm action against these websites and even went as far as to penalize domains that were getting backlinks from them.

So is every inbound link good for SEO? The answer is no. Solid, genuine inbound links can benefit your SEO efforts, but low-quality, spammy ones definitely won’t.

12. You Need To Update Your Content Constantly To Rank

While you should get into a routine for posting new content, publishing more doesn’t necessarily guarantee an SEO boost. It does, however, help drive engagement and build more meaningful relationships with your followers.

Post as often as you can, but bear in mind that a lengthier, more informative post will likely produce better results than several lower quality ones. Quality > quantity, always.

13. Your Site Doesn’t Need A Blog

You may think that because of your organization’s industry, a blog is not going to be an effective use of your time. However, regardless of your sector and even if you are a B2B business, a blog can still provide an excellent platform on which to share industry news, company announcements and other relevant information.

Blogs are great for adding relevant keywords to your website, as well as driving engagement and creating a buzz around your brand.

14. Internal Linking Has No Bearing On SEO

Internal links serve to highlight other relevant content or webpages to your visitors. If someone has enjoyed a recent article of yours, there’s a good chance they may also enjoy some similar content, too.

By utilizing internal links effectively, you can also help visitors navigate your website. This can in turn reduce bounce rates – something Google and the other search engines take into consideration when ranking.

15. Your Site Doesn’t Have To Be Mobile-Friendly

If there’s one thing you take away from this article, make sure it’s this: Today, in 2018 (and beyond), your website absolutely categorically HAS to be mobile-friendly.

That’s because we’re living in a mobile-first world where people are far more likely to reach for their smartphones to browse the Internet than they are to open their laptops.

And it’s not just enough to add some mobile-friendly elements as an afterthought. Your website needs to be built from the ground up with mobile in mind. A responsive theme is an absolute must at the very minimum.

Not sure how mobile-friendly your website is? Use Google’s own Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out.

16. SEO Is Dead

While organic reach on Facebook has taken a bit of a hit in recent times since the social network made changes to enable users to “have more meaningful social interactions,” organic search still drives over 51% of all traffic to websites worldwide.

To say SEO is dead is a very blinkered view. For me, SEO will never die. Sure, it will continue to evolve and change going forward, but that’s all part of its charm.

Are there any other SEO myths that you’ve come across which we haven’t talked about here? I’d love to hear about them! Tweet me @JDevonshire