May 6, 2013
The whole point of SEO is to gain traffic and get people to stay on your site so they can be entertained or buy your products and services. As such, SEO very much goes hand in hand with usability, because this is what will make a difference in whether or not someone stays on your site for long. If your site is hard to use or navigate, it is very easy for people to go to the next search result. Also, the search engines themselves will look at layout and usability. If your site is hard to navigate for your viewers, it will be hard for the crawler as well, and having bad usability can definitely affect your rankings.
Myth #16: The .edu and .gov Backlinks are the Best
It is true that most .edu and .gov sites are well ranked and have a high authority, because typically they are official sites that are well maintained and contain no spam. However, if you have a backlink from one of these sites, it will only be as good as the authority that site has. You gain nothing by the fact that it is an educational or government site. Having a backlink on an obscure .edu site will not help you any more than posting it on an obscure blog.
Myth #17: SEO is based on the Quantity of Links a Site Has
Believing that the success of a SEO campaign is based on having as many backlinks as possible is misunderstanding how ranking works. Any ranking algorithm, whether it is Google’s, Bing’s, Facebook’s, etc. will rank sites based on many different factors. To do successful SEO, you have to address all of these factors, and having a lot of links is just one small piece of the puzzle. Also, each link has its own quality value. Often, a single link from a popular news site talking about your product will be much more valuable than spamming hundreds of links to unknown blog sites.
Myth #18: Backlinks are More Important than Content
SEO usually costs time and money, and as such it is unrealistic to think you can do everything possible in every facet of online marketing. So often you have to make choices, and some may be tempted to focus on link building instead of content. However, the goal of SEO is to bring good traffic to your site. Quality is very important, not just quantity. Not having good content means your site has no value to anyone, and as such it will quickly lose any benefit that the extra links gave you. In fact, the most useful backlinks are usually not those you have direct access to. They are reviews from celebrities in your niche, news sites, and anyone who already is an authority talking about your product. By having good content, those links can actually come by themselves, simply through PR or word of mouth. But a bunch of backlinks on low authority blogs will not help you much at all, and the ranking you may get from them will not last long as those sites clean up those links. Instead, focus on your audience and try to know who you are writing for. By producing good content you are helping your site more over the long run.
Myth #19: Paid Links will get You Banned from Google
There are a number of ways to get links and some include some type of payment. Not all paid links are bad. It depends on how that payment occurs. For example, many sites, including Google, offer advertising services. You can buy an ad on Adwords, you could go to another ad network, and many sites offer their own ad services. While some of them will not give you any ranking, others might, and those are completely legitimate. Paying a site that focuses on your niche to have a link in a strategic location will likely not get you banned. However, you have to remember that there are methods that will. Buying low quality links in bulk is one of the best ways to get your site removed from Google’s index.
Myth #20: Good Content is All You Need
Just like building an army of links will not help you keep traffic for very long, having good content and nothing else is also not enough. Most people agree that good content is the cornerstone of having a successful site. By having engaging, useful posts for your visitors, you can ensure that they will want to visit your site and stay there for a long time. However, simply building it does not make it known. Even a very good site has to do some SEO in order to bring traffic. Branding is incredibly important for any site and getting your brand out there through SEO is the only way you will get those eyes onto that content. Your articles and posts have to be paired with good incoming signals, and that includes doing a lot of the typical SEO methods which can get you ranked in search engines so that people can find your content.
Myth #21: Google actively Penalizes Certain Sites
Myth #22: Google AdWords will give You Preferential Treatment
Adwords is a very useful program by Google where you can place an ad on other sites to advertise your own. It should be part of any online marketing campaign. However, AdWords by itself does not help boost your rankings. Some think that because a company pays Google, Google will give them preferential treatment in organic search, but that is not the case. On any typical search page, you can easily see that organic results are separated from paid advertisements. A PPC ad campaign will give you a ranking in the sense that it will allow you to be seen on the ads side of the page, but it does not affect your ranking on the organic side in any way.
Myth #23: SEO is Something Done Once Only
A lot of sites make this mistake. When a site is new, the owners will invest in doing some SEO, and then think that everything is done. But just like marketing in the real world, SEO is not something you can do once and then forget. Instead, it is a continual process which has to be done over a long period of time, often the entire life of the site. This is because the web is not a written encyclopedia. It is a medium that changes constantly. New competitors appear, search engines change their algorithms, new opportunities for marketing appear, and links that used to be good can become stale and not that important anymore. By constantly keeping an eye on your SEO efforts you ensure that your ranking does not drop, and you can keep focusing on new techniques that may prove to work better.
Myth #24: SEO Companies can get Guaranteed Results
This is a very common yet completely bogus claim which some marketing firms like to use. They claim that by using their methods, your results will be guaranteed. But the truth is that no one can claim a certain method is foolproof for the same reason that SEO is not something you do once then forget. Everything changes online and you never know when something that used to work well will stop working. Some tactics are clearly better than others, but none is guaranteed. Also, if there was a magical way to get a high ranking, you can be sure that it would leak out at some point, and then everyone would be using that same tactic, making it worthless.
Myth #25: Placing too Many Links Per Page can Penalize You
Some people have been told that a certain number of links on a page can be bad for your rankings. For example, placing more than a hundred links on your landing page will be bad for Google and you will get penalized in some way. While it is true that spamming links on a page is something you should not do, and the Google bot has ways to detect when a page is link bait, you should not be afraid to create pages with lots of links. As long as they are relevant and part of the normal navigation of your site, then there will be no penalty. The worse that could happen in these cases is that Google may decide to ignore links past a hundred, but that’s all.
Myth #26: Internal Links don’t Matter for SEO
Many people think of linking only in terms of backlinks, and only focus on having other sites link to their own pages. But internal linking is also important, just like your site layout is important, because search crawlers try to act as much like a normal web viewer as possible. If your site has bad internal navigation, Google will be able to detect that, and this could penalize you. Take the time needed to create good internal links and an easy to use navigation system for your site. This is something that is easy to do and should not be overlooked.
Myth #27: Facebook Likes or Tweets are the Number One Factor in SEO
Social media has taken a central role in how people find information on the web today, and the signals sent by these sites are fed into search engines in real time. No modern business should ignore social media, simply because of the amount of time people spend on Facebook or Twitter. However, no one social site is the holy grail of SEO. Even if getting Facebook likes is important, it is not any more so than the many other techniques that can be used. Also, there are arguments that point to the fact that while many people spend a lot of time on social networking sites, they do so to talk to friends, not to buy products, so the benefit of a like is still not as understood as the benefit of ranking well on Google. You should not ignore traditional SEO to focus solely on social media.
Myth #28: Keywords are no Longer Relevant
Sites used to be created with a paragraph at the bottom filled with keywords in order to attract more traffic using something called keyword stuffing. In recent years, knowledgable marketers have realized that this is no longer needed. In fact, it is a practice that is heavily discouraged by search engines. However, this does not mean that keywords are not still very important. While you should not do keyword stuffing on a page, getting a good percentage of your keywords in your actual text is still crucial. When someone looks for a specific term on Google, the number of times a keyword comes up on your page still weighs heavily in the search results.