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May 29, 2015

Four Myths and Misconceptions About Search Engines: What Should You Avoid?

As search engines become more sophisticated, a number of misconceptions have emerged about how they operate. As such, implementing an effective SEO strategy becomes cumbersome, especially to those brands that are not familiar with SEO best practices. Ten years ago, search engine optimization was simple and straightforward even for beginners, enabling webmasters to tag their websites and pages with keyword information, and then submit to search engines. A bot would then crawl and include the respective websites and pages in their index.

To help you build an efficient SEO strategy, we listed a few of the most common myths and misconceptions about search engines.

1. Keyword Stuffing Is Helping You Rank Higher

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A persistent myth in SEO revolves around the concept that keyword density is an important metric used by search engines to rank websites. While a good keyword density should not exceed one keyword occurrence per 100 or 200 words, a surprising number of webmasters feed on the concept that adding an extra 10 instances of your keyword to the body of your articles will help you rank higher. This is clearly a misconception, specifically because keyword stuffing is now considered a black hat SEO strategy – in other words, a practice that can result in major penalties from Google.

2. Paid Advertising Improves Your Organic Rankings

According to Moz co-founder Rand Fishkin, one of the most common SEO conspiracy theories is that “spending on search engine advertising improves your organic SEO rankings.”

But paid advertising does not impact your organic rankings, because search engines have specifically erected walls in their organizations to prevent this. Many advertisers spend tens of millions of dollars on Google pay per click promotional campaigns, which brings them no special consideration in turn.

As such, the notion that paid advertising can improve your organic rankings remains just a misconception – one that webmasters should stop feeding on.

3. Backlinking Establishes Online Trust

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Backlinking is thought to help websites establish online trust and rank higher within search engine result pages. In theory, a website with many links redirecting to its pages must be extremely relevant and deliver value to readers, because this is likely what caused other websites to link back to it.

As such, manipulative linking was born in an attempt to help webmasters gather backlinks in order to bolster their search engine rankings. Manipulative linking comes in many forms, from reciprocal link exchange to link schemes, paid links, and low-quality directory links. But as Google’s webmaster trends analyst John Mueller stated in a recent Google+ live Hangout, webmasters should try to avoid backlinking, elaborating on how Google takes links into consideration as part of its ranking algorithm. However, Mueller also stated that building links is not the right way to go about it, and that webmasters should aim to create content that “stands on its own.”

Long-believed to be an essential part of the SEO process, backlinking appears to be more of a spammy practice, which does not necessarily impact websites’ ranking unless links are organically earned.

4. Optimizing for Google Is All That Matters

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The vast majority of webmasters implement SEO strategies based on Google’s ranking algorithms, allocating no resources to optimizing their websites for other search engines as well. While Google is indeed the dominant search engine holding a market share of 67 percent and a two-thirds of all search running through them, there are other search engines that you should consider as well. Remember that one trillion searches are performed on other search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, Ask.com, and more.

The notion that Google optimizing is all that matters is a misconception. Webmasters should consider implementing an effective SEO strategy that addresses Google in particular, but takes other search engines into account as well.

Final Word

These misconceptions can not only prevent you from performing effectively, but can also negatively impact your current ranking at a great deal. Review your strategy and identify potential mistakes that you’re making, then proceed to correcting them. We recommend that you look for an Internet marketing agency in London if you want to avoid making mistakes that can possibly result in penalties. Collaborating with a reliable company can get your website ranked higher safely, and give you a significant competitive advantage as well. Make sure to ask about their proven track record of success to ensure that you have chosen the right agency for your needs.


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Joe Ryan is the founder and CEO of Digital Search Group, a U.K. online marketing agency that specializes in smart Internet marketing. He is a specialist in online marketing strategy and brand building. When he’s not considering the next best online marketing strategy with his team, he enjoys travel and spending time with his family. Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn

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