14 Common Misconceptions About SEO

Adrianna Mieras

Senior SEO Strategist

Once there are myths and misconceptions that evolve around a certain topic, they never seem to go away. Such is the case with search engine optimization. Although SEO has been around for almost as long as the search engines, the opinions and attitudes toward it have been up and down. Regardless of the criticisms surrounding the industry, the fundamentals of SEO have remained largely the same. Still, it’s sometimes hard to let those myths and misconceptions go away completely.

In this post, we are going to discuss 14 common misconceptions about SEO and why they can be chucked away for good! Let’s get started!

1. Content Marketing Has Replaced SEO

Content marketing and SEO are very similar, but they should work in tandem, not separately. Content is important, and it influences where you rank on the search engines. That said, SEO is needed to get your content the visibility it needs to drive traffic and engagement to land those rankings. Make sense?  

2. Social Signals are a Major Ranking Factor

While it’s believed that social signals are a ranking factor, it hasn’t been confirmed definitively, and it hasn’t been confirmed as to how much of a difference they can make. This doesn’t mean that you should put social media on the back burner, but rather that you should focus on the indirect benefits that it offers. For instance, when your content is liked, shared and commented on, you generate more organic links, and that leads to higher search rankings.

3. SEO Delivers Fast Results

Back in the day, it was possible to make some changes to your website and improve its rankings in a short time. But those days are over. SEO is a long-term investment - both financially and timewise. There is no such thing as a quick fix, and anyone who tells you so is either lying or doesn’t understand SEO. The process takes time and starts with frequently publishing content, promoting content and building relationships.

4. Keyword Stuffing Still Works

Wrong. Keyword stuffing doesn’t work. The search engines don’t like it, and your readers don’t like it. Keywords are still important, but they should be used naturally in the content. With RankBrain - Google’s machine-learning artificial intelligence system - it’s even more apparent that Google crawls through sites to make sure that the content is relevant to the user.

5. Number of Links Matter

Links do matter, and they are an important ranking factor. That said, not all links are created equal. Quality always trumps quantity. In other words, one link from an authoritative source holds more weight than five links from a friend’s blog. As you create a linking strategy, try to build relationships with site owners that have authoritative blogs.

6. SEO is Just About Securing the #1 Spot

Many people can’t think about SEO without thinking about the top spot in the search rankings. SEO isn’t just about rankings, however, and if you focus too much on this, you might lose sight of your true goals. Instead, your SEO strategy should be built around increased traffic, higher engagement and higher conversions.

7. More Pages Improve Rankings

Quality over quantity. Your website can have as many pages as you want, providing that they offer value to your users. But there is no value in adding pages just for the sake of it. This won’t result in more crawling through your pages, as not every page gets indexed, and quality is a factor that Google looks at when you attempt to boost your site’s visibility.

8. Image Optimization isn’t Necessary

Visual content continues to increase in importance making image optimization more necessary than ever before. The search engines cannot “see” your images, so providing the right description helps them make sense of your pictures. Google wants you to use descriptive titles and captions as well as keywords to make your images visible on their end. This information can be filled out in the title, alt text and description fields.

9. Mobile Optimization is Overrated

Thanks to Mobilegeddon, Google now considers mobile friendliness a ranking factor. With people checking their phones over 150 times a day, and more searches occurring on mobile phones than computers, Google isn’t go to make mobile optimization an option. Mobile optimization is all about the user experience, so focus on the small but important details such as your site’s responsiveness, number of clicks and page speed.

10. SEO Doesn’t Always Work

If you feel that SEO isn’t working for you, this is a major sign that you either need to learn more about the process or hire a new SEO strategist. A common issue that people have is that they don’t keep up with the latest practices. As websites and search engines change, so do optimization practices. You might need a new SEO strategy entirely.

11. Local SEO is Only for Local Businesses

You don’t have to own a local business to benefit from local SEO. In fact, you don’t even need a physical location! The purpose of local SEO is to help your business gain local visibility. Some of the details you should pay attention to include online reviews of your business, your customer service team and whether or not you’ve claimed your listings on directories like Google Business.

12. Startup Companies Can Wait on SEO

SEO is not too big for startups. By learning about the SEO process, you can strengthen your company’s online presence, drive traffic to your site and increase sales. SEO is an effective way to grow your business - and it’s never too early to start.

13. SEO Takes a Lot of Time to Learn

SEO is an ongoing learning process, but you don’t need to study for weeks to understand its main concepts. All you need is an afternoon and a cup of coffee, and you can get a good feel for how SEO works and why it’s important. And if you really don’t have the time, hire an agency that can do it for you!

14. SEO is Dying

Ah, this is one of our favorites. It’s a popular myth that continues to persist, but it’s just not true. SEO is different. SEO has changed. But SEO is very much alive, and content hasn’t replaced it. Keep in mind that search engines and algorithms aren’t going away anytime soon, so as long as they’re here, so will SEO. This is the way that your site maintains traffic and rankings.

Conclusion

Many myths and misconceptions surround search engine optimization, but it’s important to separate fact from fiction so that you don’t get misguided. SEO is an important tool that helps the search engines make sense of your site so that it can be ranked and found by others. Working with an SEO agency can ensure that you are following all the best practices and not missing out on anything!

About the Author: Adrianna Mieras

Adrianna is an SEO Strategist at SEMGeeks. She holds a BA in Communication Studies with a concentration in Digital Communication, Information and Media from Rutgers University. She takes pride in her work and thrives off of "position one" success. Born and raised at the Jersey Shore, Adrianna spends her free time riding her bike along the beach and swimming in the ocean. She has a passion for people, places and new experiences. It is rare to find her without a smile on her face.

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