Ever since Google came on the scene in 1997, search engine optimization has been growing more important in digital marketing campaigns. With its growing popularity, many misconceptions have arisen in regards to SEO.
This article will dive into the eight most common misconceptions I hear and why they are wrong.
1. Backlinks Don’t Matter
Backlinks are links from one website to another. Google treats these backlinks as votes or recommendations to your website.
Why does Google need recommendations?
Google is smart, but it still needs help from humans to decide if the content is good or bad. Not only does the number of backlinks matter, but quality is equally important. Let me put it this way, would you rather have a recommendation from your Uncle Bob or Bill Gates?
Probably Bill Gates. It means more. It is of higher quality.
Google thinks the same way. Backlinks from more authoritative and well-known websites give your more value. Sometimes a single high-quality link can be worth more than one thousand low-quality links.
Domain authority takes into account many data points, including the number and quality of links. More authoritative websites have higher domain authority. For example, Forbes’s domain authority is 95/100, while this website is currently 27/100.
Some people have recently said that backlinks do not matter; only high-quality content and frequency of content matter. While each plays a vital role in SEO, how will Google ever know if your content is valuable? With no recommendations, it is forced to rank other content with good recommendations, even if your content is better.
Many times, people try to ignore backlinks because they are arguably the most challenging part of SEO. Unfortunately, they cannot be ignored. They DO matter.
2. Keyword Stuffing
What is keyword stuffing? It is when you use your targeted keyword too much in a piece of content. For instance, if your target keyword was “blue pool floats,” which piece of text is stuffed?
- We offer the best blue pool floats around. Our blue pool floats are better than anyone else’s blue pool floats. Make our blue pool floats your favorite blue pool floats yet!
- We offer the best blue pool floats around. Our products are better than anyone else’s. Get your blue pool floats today!
The first is keyword-stuffed, and yes, people do write like this because they think it will help them rank. In reality, it harms you. Why?
Google’s primary goal is to provide its searchers the highest quality content available. The first piece of text is much poorer in quality and is frankly hard to read.
This may have worked with PageRank (Google’s original algorithm) in 1999, but it certainly does not work now.
3. Word Count Is Irrelevant
While this statement directly is true, it also isn’t. Let me explain.
Google has said that it does not use word count in its algorithm. What it does use is content depth and relevance. How detailed is your content? Is your content relevant to what the user was searching for?
Once again, everything with SEO is related to a search engine’s goal of providing users with the best quality content. By writing more detailed and relevant content, you are more likely to see your rankings improve.
4. SEO And Content Are Unrelated
This is a conversation I have too often with potential clients:
Prospect: “I want to get 10,000 visits to my website per month organically.”
Me: “Okay, how often do you currently publish to your blog?”
Prospect: “We don’t have a blog, and I am not interested in one. I just want visitors to my site, mainly my service pages.”
Can you guess why this won’t work? If you don’t have any content, Google will not rank your site on searches. It is uncommon for a website to get a large amount of traffic from just a few pages, especially service pages.
No content = no search traffic. Period.
5. SEO Should Be Cheap
Everyone wants that $100/month SEO plan that guarantees you get on the first page of Google. The problem is… it doesn’t exist. Search Engine Optimization takes a lot of work and knowledge, leading to higher costs.
If you find someone who offers a package at this price, I would advise against doing business with them. They either do not know what they are doing or are doing no work for you at all.
The same goes for people who “guarantee” SEO results. Even masterminds of SEO such as Neil Patel or Brian Dean cannot guarantee results. All we can do is what we can control, and no one can control search engine results.
If you do not have much of a budget for SEO, I recommend learning it yourself through free online resources and courses.
6. SEO Is A Replacement For Ads
No. No. No. Noooooooo!
SEO is not a replacement for ads. Let me say that again, SEO is NOT a replacement for ads.
If you want to quickly and efficiently drive sales or leads, ads are for you. SEO is not a fast process, and it does not always directly lead to more sales or leads.
SEO is part of the complete inbound circle to attract, engage, and delight users. The goal is to take people in this circle and convert them to customers. It usually is not a fast process.
On the other hand, ads are fast and usually send someone directly to a service or product page.
7. SEO Is Easy
SEO is not easy. As Brian Dean has said, Google takes into account 200 ranking factors ranging from titles to keywords to backlinks. Many parts of SEO take place off a website requiring SEO experts to interact with other websites to produce results.
To be successful, you need to have extensive knowledge of many different tools. On top of this, Google constantly updates, requiring experts to educate themselves on changes and updates. You need to be able to distinguish between truth and SEO misconceptions.
SEO is not easy.
SEO Misconceptions: Conclusion
In conclusion, SEO is not easy, and many misconceptions surround it. However, by educating yourself, you are one step closer to SEO success. Good luck.
Hi! My name is Carter Stroup. I am the founder, president, web and SEO professional at Render Results. I have been a web developer for over four years and currently hold five professional certifications. My number one goal is to provide custom websites for an affordable price to help grow small businesses.