Search engine optimization isn’t easy to understand, which results in a lot of misconceptions. Part of this comes from the fact that SEO continues to evolve, and what worked one day might not the next. Things like keyword stuffing and link schemes are just a couple examples of SEO tactics that were once effective and are now history.

With a new year to tackle, it’s imperative to sit down and understand the best SEO practices you should be following. In order to employ the best practices, you must also be able to separate fact from fiction. This means ditching the misconceptions and replacing them with truths.

Let’s check out 10 SEO myths that you can leave behind in 2017.

Myth #1. Links are better than content.

Building links remains an important part of ranking, but it is by no means more important than contributing quality content. If you have to choose where to put your budget, it’s best to invest in content creation. From there, you can build quality links into the content.

Myth #2. SEO is all about getting the best rankings.

It’s no longer necessary to obsess over rankings, which should give you some relief. Rather, it’s necessary to be useful and relevant to your audience. When people see that you have something of value, they will share your stuff and bring you the traffic you want.

Myth #3. Homepages need a lot of content.

Since your homepage is the first impression you leave on visitors, you want it to be perfect. This makes you eager to want to share all of your information, but a page littered with content will only distract visitors. Find a balance between valuable content that is right for your audience  – who you are, what you do, where you’re located – and a simple, stunning design.

Myth #4. Google can’t tell if there are bad sites linking to your site.

Google knows everything. With penalty algorithms, it’s more important than ever to take a holistic view of your website. Don’t try to fool Google. If you know that you have bad links pointing to your site, disavow them. It’s part of your responsibility to watch your backlinks and other key metrics.

Myth #5. Images don’t need to be optimized.

There was a time when images didn’t need to be optimized, but today, it’s a different story. Search engines can’t see images, so optimizing them with alt text and relevant file names helps Google understand what they are.

Myth #6. You need to submit your site to Google.

You do not need to submit your site to appear in the search rankings. You can still do this, but it won’t guarantee anything. The crawlers will still find your site and index it, so there’s no reason to “tell” Google about the existence of your site.

Myth #7. Having a secure site doesn’t have an impact on SEO.

When a website has a URL that starts with https://, it means that the site is encrypted so that hackers can’t steal any of the information. In 2014, Google announced that it started using HTTPS as a ranking signal.

Myth #8. Pop-ups hurt search rankings.

Though pop-ups aren’t exactly loved by users, they don’t have a negative impact on your SEO unless they are intrusive on mobile versions of your site. If you choose to use pop-ups, that’s fine. Just make sure they don’t interfere with the user experience, otherwise they could impact your rankings.

Now that we’ve debunked the myths, you can clean up your SEO strategy for 2017!