When did SEO turn “bad”?
It never did! SEO myths (and misrepresentations) are a sign of the times! Plus, SEO has been around since the 90s and keeps continually evolving.
Plus, with the rapid change in search engine algorithms, how people search and how much new content gets posted by the second, makes SEO a challenge. It’s no wonder why search engine optimization myths abound!
The negative reputation of SEO is happening due to the spread of outdated information, misinformation, and even the marketing of shady practices. When you mix these things, you get a spoiled tsunami soup of SEO myths spilled all over the interwebs! (Does Bounty make a virtual paper towel?)
Anyway, every year, Google changes search algorithms several hundred times (minor) and rolls out a few significant updates here and there too. While it seems Bing updates as needed to keep up with Google, which many don’t notice due to Google holding a majority of the market for search engine searches. Thus SEO mainly focuses on how Google works, which can get pretty confusing especially when someone offers advice for other search engines.
So to help make some sense of this mess, I’ve come up with the below list of search engine optimization myths. I’ll break them apart, clarify and piece them back together as much as possible. Let’s get to it!
9 SEO Myths — DEBUNKED!
1. “Social media doesn’t impact SEO.”
There is a lot of argue and debate on SEO myth — social media does indeed affect SEO! Maybe not in the ways you want or think they should, but it does!
How does it help? Glad you asked! Social media affects SEO in several ways.
First, we all know that social media helps to spread your brand’s message, show what you offer or how to find your products. However, nowadays, the great thing is that a majority of people search for info about items BEFORE they decide to buy. When they do that, a branded keyword search (company name + keyword) usually follows, and then they choose the result that best fits their needs. P.S. When that happens, search engines learn more about your site/company too — possibly causing your website to rank better for a search term that you didn’t even consider!
Tip: if your website utilizes the Google Search Console, you can see which search terms lead people to your website by going to Performance
Second, with all this extra promotion for your content and making it easier to find, someone is bound to see the relevancy of your post. If so, the author will link your copy to whatever it is they’re writing about to add more depth to their piece. Then, viola a backlink is created!
Finally, social media helps by making your name known and trusted (depending on your message and quality). When these people turn to a search engine for an answer, and they see your name in the results. Guess what, the chances of them clicking goes way up because they want to know what you have to say. Ultimately, this increases your CTR (click-through rate) and decreases the bounce rate if this content answers their question. These two things help search engines know that your content helps people solve their issues. In turn, increasing your rank for that search term.
2. “Guaranteed to ‘rank #1’ SEO services.”
Ranking #1 in anything feels pretty darn incredible, but we soon learn that that being #1 in something can have less value than other #1s. With this first feeling of greatness breeds a market that offers services to rank first on search engines, which upfront does sound pretty amazing. Even with such rankings does not guarantee actual results such as traffic or leads.
However, do not fall for these services. These are not the goals you want to achieve with SEO. You want to attain visible growth that brings in high-quality traffic and leads that interact with you. The other thing you need to know is that a website’s ranking for keywords changes almost every day and will undoubtedly change after a month.
3. “Get quick results with SEO.”
Diving into SEO with hopes or promises of immediate results will leave you feeling very angry and overall frustrated.
When planning to use SEO, keep in mind that it’s a long-term plan and if you keep at it, you’ll see results down the line.
How long will it take to see results? If done correctly, you’ll START to see results within six months. Maybe as soon as four months. The work put into SEO needs to be maintained and worked on to help keep and improve outcomes.
Debates still ensue over how soon quality results do or don’t happen. We’ve all seen the magical company who offers quick results of ranking #1 overnight. It is possible to rank overnight on a low-quality keyword that sounds good; however, those keywords will not bring quality results. Plus, SEO isn’t a do it and then it’s complete, type of thing. Real effects build over time!
4. “SEO is a scam!”
SEO itself is not a scam. However, the person who performs SEO services and promises to rank you #1 is another issue. As mentioned above, SEO takes time to see results. Improving your organic SEO is a long-term, neverending project.
The whole point of SEO is to bring organic traffic to your site in exchange for the time and effort you put into your website. In other words, it’s a cost-effective option for marketing.
(As for the person who performs SEO services.) It’s possible for them to set it up as a scam.
Quality work won’t happen at $50 – $400 per month compared to someone charging $800 – $2,000 per month range. Higher quality work is more likely to occur in the higher price range, but still, it’s important to research what they’ve done in the past and for them to provide proof that they know their stuff. References help too.
Before falling for this SEO myth, become more familiar with how SEO gets used, how to monitor it yourself, and how to find a reputable service company.
5. “There is no difference between HTTP and HTTPS.”
FALSE! This myth is dying, but you’ll still see it here and there. In short, people want their information/data safeguarded, and search engines know that. So what are search engines doing to help? They now include specific security measures into their algorithms! Using HTTPS for your site will provide a minor boost in ranking, but it also helps to give you and your visitors peace of mind.
A quick example of the differences between HTTP and HTTPS. (Besides the extra S, standing for Security)
Over an HTTP connection, information and passwords appear like standard text while being sent or received.
Example – Password: Qwerty123 → Qwerty123
Over an HTTPS connection, information and passwords get encrypted through a complex formula that is hard to decipher.
Example – Password: Qwerty123 → RSxyfgstuvza233445
Now, which one is easier to figure out? The one over the HTTP connection! Passwords are supposed to be a secret and HTTPS will help keep those passwords, passwords.
6. “Ads on search engines help with SEO.”
Ads on search engines do not help with SEO and Google will even tell you up front that ads DO NOT help with SEO. They get displayed as advertisements which will go through a different link before entering your website, which will bypass their algorithm for ranking factors determined by click-through rates (CTR). That is my guess on how they do it to provide search results that is the most relevant to what their searchers want.
7. “The Age of your website helps you to rank better.”
Yes, to a certain degree. The big difference will be how much content the other site distributes, how relevant the past content is and a whole bunch of other things that search engines deem essential.
However, if you produce more (and better quality) content, consistently, and keep your site updated, there’s a chance you could outrank an older website.
It’s hard to do though because older, more established websites have more resources for research and distribution and have more content.
Next, if you think buying an old website domain will help, you are mistaken. Unless you also get all of the website’s content too, of course.
8. “ALL backlinks improve your rank.”
Backlinks are a potent factor in ranking a website; however, they can either help you or harm you if not handled right. Sure, it may seem like the more, the better but that is not always the case. You want to make sure all backlinks are relevant to the content that they are linking. Irrelevant sites and sites with tons of links connecting to your site will either harm your rank or do nothing. Plus, low-quality backlinks won’t send quality traffic that you need. (search engines KNOW!)
But these services state they are getting you high-quality, relevant backlinks?
Guess what? You don’t want to buy those links! Let alone, buy ANY links. Ever.
Even if backlinks look “high quality” and relevant, they can still be low quality if the content of the site is taken from other websites (scraped content = BAD) or it’s from a place where your visitors just aren’t located.
9. “Doing SEO once…is enough”
SEO is not something you can set and then forget. Websites need to get updated on a consistent basis! If you create a site and then implement SEO, you might get a rise in traffic but once the updating stops, so does your continually improving SEO! When that happens, you’ll start to see a significant drop in traffic.
The best analogy would be that SEO is like a car. You need to add the right amount of oil and be sure to change it when it becomes old. Things will break over time or will become outdated which then needs to get replaced or updated.
That’s all for now!
So there you have it, SEO myths of past and present and why they often get misinterpreted! If you’re looking for more info on SEO, check out these posts:
- The different types of SEO and how to utilize them
- 3 quick ways to optimize SEO
- Why you should avoid buying backlinks and followers
- Why you need a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- 5 local SEO tips
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