Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the best digital marketing initiatives that produce the best ROI compared to others. Although it’s easy to learn the basics, mastering every aspect of SEO and search engine algorithms is difficult. And that’s why result-driven SEO freelancers and agencies charge a higher price for their services.
Did you know some of the information about SEO on the Internet is flawed?
You don’t agree with me.
Let me give you an example. Since 2016, a lot of so-called “digital marketing experts” tend to believe SEO is dead. Ben Hirons from SmartCompany mentioned in an article that SEO is dead because it’s a lazy marketing strategy that doesn’t work and the methods are confusing.
This topic is still being debated today.
Sometimes I used to think whether some of the marketers just spreading this “myth” to chase them away from saturating the SEO industry.
I’ve seen how SEO has evolved over the last decade and I believe that SEO will keep on evolving and focus on providing the best search experience for people.
In this blog post, I’ve debunked all the common SEO Myths.
This post will also help you get a clear picture of SEO and improve your site’s SEO performance.
So, let’s get started.
** Before debunking some of the myths let’s take a look at the real truth about SEO.
SEO is not a quick-rich scheme
I just love one of the articles published on ZDnet by Stephen Chapman on “How to Get Rich Quick and Make TONS of Money with SEO”. One of the most sarcastic blog posts I’ve ever read. Though it was published in 2010, you should read it!
I agree SEO can be profitable but it’s not a “Get Rich Quick” scheme. Even today there are so many SEO freelancers and agencies claiming to know people in Google to get websites to #1 ranking.
SEO does not provide fast results
We just can’t blame the service providers because this is what businesses demand. They just want everything fast. They want results within a month.
The main problem here is that majority of business owners still don’t have a clear understanding of SEO. They just look at it as a quick fix for their business to make more money.
And that’s one of the reasons I’ve written a resourceful article with the best guides on SEO.
If you’re a business owner who doesn’t know anything about SEO, please read this article:
Misinformation on SEO is Overloaded
According to Orbit Media Studios, 7.5 million blog posts are published every day.
We often believe that some of the SEO information and updates are credible because they come from Google’s content creators. The sad part is that these people who write reports and updates are just writers with zero SEO experience.
When the credible sources misinterpret the core information, it gets replicated by other marketing bloggers. And that’s why some of the mainstream articles on SEO is less helpful in providing the right information for business owners.
SEO is not stagnant, its constantly evolving
SEO is evolving.
Search engines like Google have always been clear with their objectives: They want to provide the best search experience for their users. So, they want to rank sites that provide the most relevant answers to the search queries of their users.
Don’t complicate yourself. The Google ranking signals remains the same. They’re just making those signals stronger.
With the constant improvements in search engine algorithms, some of the SEO practices become irrelevant and outdated.
For example, 12 years back you can get your links placed in any website even if they are irrelevant to your niche and still see your site move to the top of search result pages. After Google rolled out Penguin update where spammy irrelevant links can lead to penalties and get your web pages removed from the search result pages. Fortunately, the implementation of the disavowing tool helped site owners to remove unwanted links.
So, you need to avoid using outdated SEO practices for your site and stay updated with the latest changes in search engine algorithms. You don’t have to dive deep into the technical part of it.
Just get to know the factors affected and make necessary changes to your site.
SEO Myths of 2023
With hundreds of ranking factors used by Google to rank web pages for searched queries, these factors are influenced by thousands of activities.
And these activities lead to hundreds of SEO myths. To be honest, we don’t have to look at each SEO myth.
In this article, I will share the most common SEO myths that influence the SEO strategies you’re implementing for your website. You will take a hard hit if you’re implementing bad SEO strategies to your site in the long run.
I don’t want to debunk all the basic SEO myths that revolve around meta keywords and descriptions, keyword stuffing or other simple stuff.
These are the most common SEO myths you should watch out
Keyword density is an important on-page SEO factor
If you look at some of my articles that talk about SEO techniques or On-Page SEO, I’ve never mentioned keyword density. I’m not telling that you shouldn’t target a keyword. You can use the keyword of your choice as many times as possible and you should not focus on the exact percentage of that keyword in your content.
When you focus too much on the percentage of keywords, it shows that your content is purely written for the search engine and not catered for your target audience. According to the TF-IDF term, the density of a keyword is just a normal indication by comparing a variety of sites on the Internet.
If you manipulate the keywords in your content just to fulfil the suggested keyword density, Google perceives your web page as irrelevant and manipulative.
I must agree that in the earlier days we SEO marketers did focus on keyword density for transactional-related keywords and it worked effectively at that time.
Today, it purely depends on the topic you’re writing about. Focusing on keyword density doesn’t work anymore. (That’s what I believe). Google started recognizing natural language patterns with Google’s BERT update.
So, you should stop worrying about keyword density and focus on providing the best solutions for your audience.
Social signal is a critical ranking factor
This one is quite interesting.
Social signal has been a debate for a decade where some agree that it’s an important ranking factor and some just don’t agree with the statement.
I’m one of those who don’t agree with that statement.
Let me tell you why.
Google has never mentioned in any of its documents or patents where social signals are used as a ranking factor.
Some of the marketing bloggers did mention that Google was evaluating all the social media metrics along with the SEO activities.
Matt Cutts has confessed in one of his videos that they do not use social signals to rank a web page on search results.
If you remember, Google+ and authorship were a big thing those days when it comes to SEO.
Google+ doesn’t even exist today.
This is what social media means to Google: Links!
Backlinks are an important ranking factor. And we know that social media helps with link building activity directly and indirectly. But they only offer a positive impact on links. Nothing more than that.
When you share your content on social media sites, there’s a high chance for it to get in front of thousands of eyeballs. There is a high chance for writers or bloggers from your niche to include your link in their content if they find it valuable.
So, it only helps in amplifying your content and improving your chances of gaining backlinks.
You can still rank without links
Well, how does Google perceive your site’s popularity and authenticity?
Do you think the Google bots just skim through your content and your page miraculously ranks higher on search result pages?
It doesn’t work that way. Google still looks into your links.
Because this is how Google understand how popular your site is compared to others within your industry.
Some marketers portray link building to be less important due to its challenging nature. Links will remain as one of the most important ranking factors as long there are search engines and websites.
If you’re targeting low-competition keywords with an average monthly search volume of less than 100, there’s a big chance for you to get your content ranked on the first page without any links. But, what if others in your industry with better link profiles start targeting those terms?
You’ll certainly get pushed down or to the next page.
If you want to learn some of the best link building practices, check them out here:
You don’t have to focus on content
It’s important to have a clear understanding of how SEO works.
Google measures the authority of your website based on the backlinks you’ve acquired. And the content on your site shows the relevance of your website with your industry or niche.
Your content is what Google ranks on search result pages and your backlinks tell Google how high your content should rank.
You get it right?
Backlinks = higher rankings on SERPs
Content = rank for keywords or terms people are searching for
Do you know why many people still tend to propagate that “content is dead”?
Well, they want to create a false impression that SEO is easier than you think.
If an SEO person you work with talks nothing about content creation, it’s a red flag. This person just going to talk about social bookmarking, blog comments and all other outdated SEO strategies that don’t provide any results.
Think about this from your potential customer’s point of view. How do you expect to purchase a product or service offered by a business when they don’t have enough content to make an informed purchase decision?
Your potential customers will just click the “back” button and look at the other search results even if you surprisingly manage to rank higher for targeted keywords or terms. If you’re unable to help your potential customer to move towards sales with your content, you’ll never convert them into paid customers.
If you’re not creating content or updating your old content, you’re throwing money out of the window.
Content is the engine that drives your SEO campaign to success.
SEO is a one-time thing
We can go for days debating about SEO.
If you think SEO is a one-time activity, try answering the following questions:
- How am I supposed to cope with constant Google algorithm changes?
- How should I outrank my competitors on the search result pages?
- What should I do if there are trending new keywords in my industry?
Do you think you can answer the questions with a one-time SEO implementation?
Even you know it’s not possible to just set and forget about your SEO campaign.
But why do SEO service providers suggest performing SEO for 6-12 months to see results?
I don’t know about other SEO service providers. But for me, when a client hires me for SEO service, I’ll tell them clearly that I’m using % of their marketing budget to improve your website’s search presence for the next 6 months to a year from now.
At the end of the agreed period, I will provide them with an SEO action plan to stay competitive in their industry. I often let them decide whether to continue with my SEO service or to look at other alternatives.
If they choose to completely abandon their SEO activities, they will slowly see a decline in their organic traffic and their rankings will start to drop.
SEO is a long-term investment. You should accept the fact that SEO is like any other form of marketing and advertising. To stay relevant in your industry and appear in front of your target audience you need to invest for the long haul.
Please don’t waste your time and money if you think of doing SEO halfway. From my experience, it takes 6-12 months before you see results from SEO. However, in a certain niche, it can take longer due to competition.
You should only aim for the #1 position on Google
Everyone wants to rank number 1 for their targeted keywords. According to Backlinko, #1 result on Google has an average CTR (Click-Thru-Rate) of 31.7%. The CTR reduces gradually till the bottom of page 1.
When looking at Google Ads which often appear above the organic search results get an average CTR of 11.38%.
And you should know that smart users know the difference between Google Ads and organic results.
Even if your web pages are ranking 2nd or 3rd on search results, you can still drive a good amount of organic traffic to your site. If you make your title and meta description more attractive and relevant than the ones ranking above you, there’s a high chance for people to click on your search result.
There are other factors like structured data that can help you stand out. One of my articles is ranking #2 on Google search results for “digital marketing pricing” but has a high CTR due to structured data (sitelinks) that shows below the meta description.
Although the page that ranks #1 also shows sitelinks, the one ranking #2 shows a more relevant one to the topics.
Do you know what you should do instead of aiming for the #1 position?
Focus on the following things:
- Create the best user experience (UX): Google started to rank sites that offer the best user experience. They don’t care about “best optimized” pages anymore. Focus on providing the best experience for the users who land on your pages. In the long run, you’ll be positioned higher on the search results even if you don’t achieve rank #1.
- Improve conversion rate: Increasing organic traffic doesn’t guarantee sales. You need to continuously test your landing page elements and improve your chances of converting most of your visitors to paying customers.
- Increase organic traffic growth: Stop being obsessed with keyword rankings and focus on increasing overall organic traffic to your site. Even for Navenpillai.com, I just focus on increasing the overall organic traffic. As long there is positive growth month over month, I’m happy.
Purchasing high DA backlinks on Fiverr will work
Have you ever tried purchasing backlinks on Fiverr?
The easier a link is to acquire, the worst the quality of the link.
If you’re purchasing links from Fiverr, others are buying as well. When there are hundreds to thousands of external links on a website, all the links are considered worthless by search engines.
You don’t want to get your site tangled in link farms. When a link is available for anyone to purchase, that’s a spammy and worthless link.
Google indicates these sites as FFA (Free for All). These sites often have content and links around casinos, online gambling, porn, enlargement pills and more. You don’t want your site to appear around them. It is a big red flag in the eyes of Google.
Don’t get your site penalized for this reason. Always remember that the best backlinks are the ones that are earned naturally or built using white hat link building methods.
It takes approximately 2 months to recover from link penalties. But the worst part is that your site will take more time to gain Google’s trust and appear in search results.
Do you want to risk your business website?
Think about it.
Spending on Google Ads increases the organic ranking
I’ve heard this from one of my clients.
The client received a proposal from a PPC agency based in Malaysia that included that spending on Google Ads on monthly basis also improves their organic rankings.
I was surprised. I’ve never heard this bold statement from anyone. So, I decided to make simple research on this subject.
And I found a study by Google on Incremental Clicks Impact of Search Advertising. The study shows that 89% of traffic generated by search ads was not replaced by organic clicks. And the research was conducted on 400 paused Google Ads accounts.
Some experts have mentioned that CTR (Click Thru Rate) is a ranking factor and getting clicks from Google Ads to a specific page on your site has the potential to improve your organic rankings. Although there are studies that show that there’s a positive correlation between CTR and organic rankings, there’s no evidence that Google Ads directly improves organic search rankings.
Google Ads can help you to identify the right keywords that you can target organically. This is because you already have data on the number of impressions and clicks for those keywords from your Google Ads campaign. So, it provides the insights you need to rank your site organically on search result pages.
Domain Authority (DA) is essential for better ranking
Until 2013, Google used the PageRank score to measure the authority of a website. The score ranges from 0-10. After Google stopped displaying PageRank publicly in 2013, many SEO tools came up with their very own PageRank metrics:
- Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) by Moz
- Trust Flow (TF) and Citation Flow (CF) by Majestic
- Domain Rating (DR) and URL Rating (UR) by Ahrefs
- Authority Score (AS) by SEMRush
Most SEOs use these scores to determine the quality and value of websites and their pages. These are just indications based on the backlink profiles. Although backlinks are considered as one of the most important ranking signals, these score does not accurately indicate how search engines evaluate a web page.
Just focus on offering the best information for your visitors and nurture them to become your loyal customers.
Cheap SEO services still work
This is the last and dumbest SEO myth to avoid. I’ve seen SEO service providers who guarantee to rank #1 for any keywords on Google. Please don’t get tempted or fall for these spammy snake oil sales tactics.
SEO is not cheap. It involves a lot of work. Following are some of the core activities involved in SEO:
- Audience & industry research
- SEO Audit
- Keyword research
- Understand user’s search intent for keywords
- Core Web Vitals
- Page Speed Optimization
- Technical SEO
- Content Creation
- Link Building
- Analytics and Reporting
Do you think SEO services that include all these activities will be cheap?
If anyone is charging less than RM2,500/month for SEO in Malaysia, I can assure you that they can’t offer the results you’re looking for. They can only do limited SEO activities that don’t incur any cost.
If you want to learn more about choosing the right SEO service provider for your business, check out some of the articles I’ve written:
- 6 Reasons to Avoid Cheap SEO Services at All Costs
- SEO Pricing Malaysia 2022 [UPDATED]
- How to Choose The Right Malaysia SEO Agency in 2022
Debunking the SEO Myths in 2023
If you’ve read the article thoroughly, you should have a clear understanding of the most common SEO myths and why they are not true. You will certainly hear these myths from time to time even after 20 or 30 years. Just don’t believe them and do your own research.
What works for me might not work for you. As SEO is constantly evolving, there are tons of strategies you can test and focus on the ones that work for you. You just have to make countless trials and errors.
The basics of SEO will remain the same. Just don’t bother about what others say about SEO. SEO is here to stay and will become stronger in years to come.
Always remember that SEO is a long-term process. Monitor your site’s performance and focus on the aspects that need improvements.
Are there any other common SEO myths that I’ve missed?
Please share it with us by commenting below.