Are You a Victim of the 5 Biggest SEO Content Myths? – A SEO-News Exclusive

spn_exclusivePublishing great SEO content is harder than you might think. After all, you need content that wows readers, teaches them something new, and convinces them that you’re a bona-fide expert – all while letting the search engines know exactly what keywords you’re trying to rank for.

Anytime you’re dealing with SEO content, you’re walking a fine line. That next article or blog posting you publish has the potential to make you stand out, make you blend in with the rest of your competitors, or make you look downright bad.

Making matters even more difficult? There are a ton of SEO content myths floating around out there. On the surface, many of them look legitimate – so it can be tough to separate the wisdom from the rubbish. In fact, you may not even know that you’re operating your entire content writing philosophy under a myth!

Are you falling victim to any of these 5 popular SEO content myths?

1. The Best SEO Content is 1,000 Words. (or 500 words, or 250 words)

This is a common sentence uttered by people who just don’t know a whole lot. You may be inclined to think that longer is better, or that shorter content will leave people yearning for more – but the truth is, there is no “magical” SEO content length.

Instead, the best length for your SEO article, blog posting, or sales copy depends on your topic. Sure, it may be easy to create 1,500 compelling, well-researched words about getting over a divorce – but imagine what it would be like to read 1,500 words about heartburn medication or pipe welding. Trust me, your readers won’t want to do it, either!

Great SEO content writing leaves readers feeling like they’ve learned something new, and it instills enough trust in you that readers want to see what else you have to offer. Sometimes, you can do that in 400 words. Other times, it takes 1,200 words to do it.

2. If Your SEO Articles Get Re-Published on a Bunch of Different Sites, It’s Duplicate Content

This might be the biggest SEO content myth out there! If one of your SEO articles gets picked up (either from your site, an article directory, or from a site you published a guest post on), it’s called “syndication,” not “duplicate content.” That’s because “duplicate content” refers to have the same content on multiple pages of your own site. Syndication, on the other hand, is a great way to build links and get exposure.

Anytime you publish SEO content, the goal is to get it syndicated. That way, it winds up in front of the eyeballs of people who are going to do business with you.

3. Your SEO content Isn’t as Important as Your Backlinks

The high-quality links out there – you know, the ones that are going to boost your ranking in the search engine results – are not the ones that you trade for, or buy. Instead, the only way to get those high-quality links is to offer something that other people WANT to link to. That means coming up with SEO content that knocks people’s socks off. If you publish content that people can’t help wanting to share with their friends and colleagues, you’ll wind up getting a ton of high-quality backlinks.

4. Your SEO Content Has to be Updated All the Time

Actually, this is a half-myth!

Yes, the search engines like websites that are updated on a regular basis. That’s why your new SEO article or blog post can bump you up a few spots in the rankings right after you publish it.

However, that doesn’t mean that you have to edit your existing content. For example, if you have a great homepage that’s generating results, don’t change it just to appease the search engines. Instead, add new content to the internal pages of your site.

5. Optimizing SEO Content Properly Means Having a High Keyword Density

Of course, you need to have your target keywords sprinkled throughout your article, blog posting, or sales copy. After all, that’s how the search engines know what you’re trying to rank for.

However, if you use your keywords too frequently, all you’ll do is turn off readers and search engines.

The right keyword density for your content depends on the keyword itself. Some keywords lend themselves nicely to a density of 1.5% or 2% – while others can only be used less than 1% of the time and still look natural.

Remember, your readers shouldn’t be able to read your content and pick out the keywords you used. If your keywords stick out like a sore thumb, you’re not optimizing your content properly. Instead, your SEO content will cast a negative light on you and your business!

A former award-winning journalist,
Nicole Beckett now focuses on
SEO content writing
. As the owner of Premier Content Source, Nicole knows what it takes to create content that’s well-researched,
compelling, and strong enough to get results.

About the author


Nicole Beckett

Nicole Beckett knows that content marketing will always play a huge role on the web.Β  That's why she spends her time helping business owners come up with the very best strategies.Β  Find out how she can take your web content to the next level by visiting Nicole and the team of journalists at Premier Content Source.


Click here to post a comment
  • Thank a lot of information full article of Search Engine optimization in content myths ! !

    Nice Article ! !

  • WOW! great article with very important facts everyone needs to be aware of.

    i do not think there is any other simpler explanation than this out there!

    anyone could be successful with their site if they understand optimization like this.

  • Yeah, It’s a great article to read. I will definitely recommend this news to my friends. It contains a lot of informative things and I hope it will hep them in a massive way!

    Great Work Dude!

  • We applaud your wisdom especially to the newbies who have yet to learn all this the difficult way. Our hats off to you for exposing those myths! Thank you so much.

  • I don’t agree with number 2. Both Matt Cutts (head of Google’s web spam team) and Rand Fishkin (founder of SEOmoz) have videos where they discuss article syndication and say its NOT good for SEO, although it might yield some short term results.

  • Thanks for taking the time to comment, Nick! πŸ™‚

    I haven’t seen Rand’s video, but I’ve seen Matt Cutts discussing article marketing – and he’s right… The article directories themselves aren’t a giant help to your SEO because your articles are going on PR0 pages.

    But, remember, when you get articles syndicated, they’re getting re-published on pages with a higher PR than 0 – and that will definitely help your SEO efforts.

    But syndication isn’t just about SEO. Sure, getting additional links is always nice, but the best part about syndication is getting your content out in front of targeted traffic.

  • Hi Nicole, thanks for your reply. Here’s the video from Rand that I referred to: http://www.seomoz.org/blog/article-marketing-mostly-a-scam-whiteboard-friday

    As far as SEO is concerned, article syndication is considered a grey-black hat technique. As soon as you start talking about spinning software, white label content and content scraping, which I don’t know if you’re advocating, then it’s definitely black hat.

    The thing with these techniques is they might work in the short run but the search engines are trying to write algorithms that detect and lessen their influence so their effect is going to reduce over time and might abruptly stop one day. If you rely on this technique for a lot of your traffic then that could have a major effect on your business which is why it’s a bad idea to use these techniques.

    SEO aside, I can see value in getting your article in front of targeted traffic but in my experience, most sites that syndicate content are pretty low quality and probably don’t really have any ‘targeted traffic’ to speak of. What’s more, Google doesn’t want to rank your article on their pages because it’s not unique so it doesn’t do them a whole lot of good either.

    A much better technique is to pick one high quality site or blog and write a unique guest article for them. This ticks all the boxes and remains white hat.

  • Hi Nicole! I agree with you, except maybe for #4. I’m sure that you know the Google algorithm changes quite often and I find that adding new content all the time is hard for me. Lately, I find that Google is looking basically for three things right now: Good overall content, activity dealing with changes in content, and link popularity. I find that even structural changes in my content, without any other changes, makes a big difference in the amount of traffic I get from the search engines. Bobby

  • Thanks for posting the link to that video, Nick. Rand and I are on the same page – doing article marketing the right way (by focusing on quality content, guest posting, etc.) is a great way to build links and drive traffic.

    You’re right – content scraping, spinning, and the like is a shady, black hat technique. But true article syndication (the kind where someone reads your article and says “Wow, this is great. I want to re-publish this on my website and share it with my readers,” isn’t black hat at all. It’s what helps make the world wide web an actual “web” πŸ™‚

    And I wouldn’t be so quick to judge sites that syndicate content as “low-quality”. In fact, you’re on one right now! πŸ™‚ All of the non-exclusive stories on Site Pro News were published somewhere else first (like on an author’s own website, for example). Sure, the authors are submitting their own articles here, but the articles that get published here wind up getting picked up by dozens of other sites. While there may be some exceptions, those sites are syndicating these articles because they’re informative and interesting – and that’s exactly how syndication is supposed to work!

    Thanks for chiming in, and keep those comments coming! πŸ™‚

  • Excellent way to explain syndication, most people dont understand it. Also I have been ignoring keyword density for years now, only focussing on making sure its of good quality for my readers.

  • Thanks for bringing that up, Tiggerito (awesome username, by the way!). Most of what Google refers to on that page does apply to content on your own site. In the case of having the same content across different sites, Google says it’s only a problem when you’re deliberately trying to manipulate the rankings – and that’s not what legitimate article syndication is.

    If you were to publish an article on an article directory and it got syndicated on 100 different sites, you wouldn’t have to worry about being penalized by Google. Take a look at this article… it’s been syndicated by dozens of other sites already – and it hasn’t damaged my site’s rankings one bit. In fact, I’ve even moved up a little bit since this article was published! πŸ™‚

    If it were possible to damage a site’s rankings by having its articles re-published on websites all over the place, then your competitors could just take your articles off the directories and syndicate them everywhere.

    And, remember, syndication isn’t just about SEO. Yes, the links that you get out of it will help you, but you can get targeted traffic from syndication, even if your site is nowhere to be found in the rankings.

  • Hi Nicole, to me this is mixing up duplication issues with being punished.

    Full syndication of an article is duplicating it, but you won’t get punished or penalised unless Google has decided it’s theft. Referring back to the original article will reduce the chances of that.

    What can happen is Google may filter out duplicate results from SERPs, so in effect your syndicated copies are in competition with each other, and can kick each other out of the results. Not really an issue either, as you will be there one way or another.

    I agree with all your reasoning for syndication though. I should do it more.

  • Exactly, Tiggerito! Google has a Supplemental Index (which is what you’ll see if you click “similar” in a search). If your article is syndicated on 100 different websites, Google’s not going to list all 100 of them in its main results, simply because that wouldn’t be helpful to searchers. But having something listed in the Supplemental Index isn’t a punishment. I think that’s where lots of people get confused.

    If you’re going to take articles that have been published on your own website and try to get them syndicated, wait about a week before you do it. That will ensure that the article is indexed on your site first – meaning you’ll be seen as the “original” version, which should keep your copy of the article out of the Supplemental Index.

  • Hi Nicole, thanks again for replying, this is turning into quite an interesting discussion.

    Perhaps I was a little too harsh on sites that syndicate content in my previous comment. It looks like there are some good quality sites out there that are doing this and if you can get your content republished on a good quality site, it does seem to be a good way to get more eyeballs on it which is always good.

    However, since your article is about SEO and you say that syndication “…is a great way to build links…” then I still disagree with you.

    I went back to the Matt Cutts video that I mentioned earlier (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5xP-pTmlpY&feature=youtu.be) and while he does mention low quality sites and low quality articles as being part of the problem, its clear to me that he thinks that any kind of article syndication is a bad idea.

    At 0.45 he says “…you end up with a lot of duplicate content across the web…” – this is in direct opposition to your statement that duplicate content is only on your own site. He goes on to say that the links from this are not really editorial links.

    This aspect of not being a true editorial link is the main problem I have with article syndication. The reason they’re not true editorial links is because, as Matt alludes to in the video, the website is getting the opportunity to use the content in exchange for the link.

    However, I wouldn’t say that its a black hat technique or that these links have NO value. I would call them partially editorial links which probably carry some value.

    Matt sums up the video by talking about the trend and how he and Google don’t see article marketing as a value add to the web. Again, I think he’s referring to all article marketing here, not just the low quality stuff. I would agree as I don’t see how having multiple copies of the same article published across the web adds any value overall.

    Finally, I think the trend will be that Search Engines put less and less value on these ‘partially editorial links,’ meaning that any article marking and syndication that you are doing now will decrease in value and effectiveness, for SEO, overtime. Perhaps time would be more effectively spent trying to get true editorial links that should maintain or increase in value over time.

  • Once again, as much as it seems to be already to “cliche”–Content is king.
    The myths you posted are worth keeping in mind. Then we’ll be free to do really good SEO.

  • You’re right, Nick… this is quite the discussion! And I’m glad! πŸ™‚

    I think Google made it clear with Panda (and the subsequent drop in PR for many of the aritcle directories) that they’re not big fans of people “blasting” or “mass-submitting” articles to directories simply as a way to gain links. But that’s not what true article marketing is; it’s what a bunch of internet marketers have twisted article marketing into.

    As far as the SEO benefit for legitimate article syndication goes, I can only speak for my own experience – and every time one of my articles (either one that was published on my own site or that I published someplace else) has gotten syndicated in lots of different places, I’ve seen my rankings go up.

    As far as the duplicate content talk is concerned, yes, the articles are duplicated when they’re syndicated. That’s why Google has the Supplemental Index – so that you don’t wind up with pages and pages of results that are nothing more than the same content on different sites. But, again, winding up in the Supplemental Index isn’t a penalty – whereas, if you had a site that was nothing more than a bunch of pages all with the same (or mostly the same) content on them, you wouldn’t find that site anywhere in the rankings – and that *would* be because of a penalty.

  • I learned a lot from this post. Some of my blog posts and articles have been copied by some publishers without my consent. I just wish they don’t hurt my site. But still, I doubt that kind of syndication where the whole content is copied be considered as plagiarism.

  • Thanks, Vic! If you’re publishing on article directories and the like, as long as other webmasters follow the terms of service (namely, keeping your article unchanged, with all of the original links intact), they’re not plagiarizing, and it won’t hurt your site.

    However, if you’re finding your content around the web with things like your links removed, another person’s name in the byline instead of yours, or an article that’s been spun, that is a copyright violation – and you’re well within your rights to contact the owner of the website and tell them to take it down. If they refuse, you can file a DMCA complaint against them (which is easy to do, and you can do it right online).

  • i think Nick just has a misunderstanding and mix up of genuine article syndication, and duplicate content.

    duplicate content is when 2 pages on your site consist of the same, and perhaps even the same with “slight” alterations – such as many affiliate commission based websites for simple product listings, though these are still acceptable, they will of course weigh a bit less(unless they use canonical urls). Then there is of course taking peoples content without credit i believe falls into duplicate content as well

    true quality article syndication is simple.

    i mentioned nicole and her article, gave her some links, copied, pasted put it in a post at my blog. it only helps her the engines know it is true article syndication.

    i couldn’t have worded it any better than Nicole and i know all of it to be valuable and very true for proper white hat SEO. congrats

  • Thanks for the publicity on your blog and the kind words here, Linkz! πŸ™‚

    Syndication definitely doesn’t mean feeling the wrath of Google. Try typing “U.S. Constitution” into Google, and you’ll see that 282,000,000 search results pop up. OK, so not *every single* result has the entire Constitution on its site, but many of the top ones do – and you can be sure that these sites haven’t been “slapped” or punished by Google. After all, they’re right at the top of the results! That, right there, is syndication at work πŸ˜‰ Otherwise, you’d have 1 website that was considered the “original” source of the Constitution, and the rest would be in the “supplemental” index.

  • With regard to duplicate content, does this mean that I can publish on my site the articles that I’ve submitted to article directories and not be penalized for duplicate content?

  • That’s right, Ben!

    However, a better way to do it is to publish those articles on your site *first*, wait for them to get indexed, then publish them on the directories. That way, you’ll be credited as the original source, and your odds of winding up in any kind of supplemental index will be very, very small.

  • another myth i see is that getting too many links in one day or a month can get you penalized. while that may be true if your getting your links by paying for them or unnatural linkbuilding, if your getting huge spikes naturally anyone should be overjoyed, because you did something that is making people link to you off the charts.

  • SEO, I think it’s all about the links you’re getting. While none of us know for sure, I’d be willing to bet that Google knows the difference between “good” and “bad” links (after all, they’re using relevancy in their algorithm now). Get a bunch of “good” (relevant) links in a short time, and you look authoritative. Get a bunch of “bad” links in a short time, and you probably look spammy.

    From my own experience, I can tell you that my articles here on Site Pro News get syndicated by dozens of other sites, all within a day or so if them being published here – and my rankings are better than ever. The surge of links has helped, not hurt in any way.

    Thanks for chiming in! πŸ™‚

  • Hi there, just thought I’d jump back into the conversation to qualify my position and contribute some new info.

    When we had our original conversation back in November I wrote this blog post collecting my thoughts: http://www.internetmarketingadelaide.com/2011/11/is-article-syndication-white-hat.html

    I have since come across an interesting article that is very relevant to this debate: http://www.searchenginejournal.com/syndicated-content-duplicate-content/28833/ and a section from Google’s webmaster guidelines stating “If you syndicate your content on other sites, Google will always show the version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you’d prefer.” (http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=66359).

    Now this is slightly different to what I thought was the case but still doesn’t really effect my original point which was about link building.

    Think about it this way… Google is looking for indicators that a website is high quality and they often use links. However, links gained by article syndication are not indicators that that website is high quality at all. The reason they have these links is because the link was contained within the article that other people wanted to use on their websites. Therefore these links are NOT indicators of a quality website to Google.

    The other point against article syndication for link building is that people have the ability to create hundreds of links for one article which would likely receive very few links if only published on their own website (or in one other location). Anyone using links as an indicator of quality has to consider this ease of acquisition and give the article syndication links less weight. In a perfect world, the more websites you syndicate an article to, the lower the quality of websites you’re going to attract, because high quality websites don’t articles that have been syndicated to hundreds of other sites, but this is not a perfect world.

    In conclusion, links gained from article syndication are not true indicators of a website’s quality and should be given less weight than other links.

    Having said that, article syndication, even very low quality article spinning and marketing is still working in Google so I’m not saying that it won’t work. What I’m saying is that in the long run this technique will eventually be completely discounted.

  • Nick, thanks for coming back – and thanks for the link to the SE Journal article! I hadn’t seen that one before, but I think it summed up alot of big points very nicely.

    I’ve read through your comment a few times now, and I wonder if you’re thinking of article syndication along the same lines as mass-submitting.

    Here’s why:

    You say, “The other point against article syndication for link building is that people have the ability to create hundreds of links for one article which would likely receive very few links if only published on their own website (or in one other location).”

    Let’s use this article as an example. Site Pro News is the only place I submitted this article to. (I also submitted the link to this page to BizSugar, which is similar to Digg, but for internet marketers) When I Google the title of this article, 3,740 results come up.

    Does that mean that all of the sites that syndicated my article are low quality? No, it just means they liked the article enough to publish it on their own sites. How is that bad? How does that make those sites less of an authority? Presumably, those sites are all internet marketing-related sites, so the links I’m getting are relevant (which Google says it’s now actively taking into account).

    How is this a bad thing for anyone involved? I’m getting links, and visitors to those sites are getting something that’s presumably interesting to them. Why would Google not like that? Isn’t that what the “user experience” is all about?

    Now, if I were to take a so-so article and use software to mass-submit it to 3,740 different article directories – and no one else ever picked it up – I can see why Google would frown upon something like this. Clearly no one’s getting much use out of the article (or, at least, not enough use to syndicate it themselves). Plus, the links I’m getting from those article directories aren’t relevant to my site. It would be easy to see why those links wouldn’t be a big SEO boost for me.

    Like the SE Journal article points out, syndicating *quality* articles is no different than a print journalist syndicating his column. It doesn’t make the newspapers less authoritative for running a syndicated piece. They’re simply doing what they feel is in the best interest of their readers. Why should the web be any different?

  • I think you’re missing what I’m saying.

    I’m not saying that article syndication is bad for anyone, what I’m saying is that the LINKS generated from article syndication are not indicators that the website they link to is good quality.

    When hundreds or thousands of people syndicate your article and hence link to you through the bio link, this is an indication that they like your ARTICLE, not your website.

    So, when a search engine looks at all the links pointing to your website from the syndicated articles they must realise that these links are NOT indicators that your website is good quality, only your article.

    Therefore, article syndication is not a good source of quality links to your website.

  • How much time it takes for a republished article to reflect in google. Some bloggers republish by changing to current date and time and meta desc.
    I found few sites doing this every day based on niche and they get reflected immediately in google.
    but when I tried republishing, it still not reflected in Google the changed date, time and meta desc.
    Does it depend on google crawling on the sites, etc … ?

  • Priya — yes, it all depends on when that page gets crawled. I’ve found that a helpful way to keep track of everything is to set Google Alerts for my name and my company name. Among other things, I can use that to find out how long it takes for Google to see stuff that I’ve published.

    You could also Google the title of your article and see what the results say. Everything that pops up will (obviously) be indexed by Google.