SEO Myths

1. It must be right if [Insert Fortune 500 Company] does it that way.

Just because they are Fortune 500 doesn’t mean they are doing it right. Large companies often just throw money at their problems without researching what really needs to be done. This can lead to thousands of wasted dollars and even penalties from Google. JCPenney was actually penalized for bad linking practices in 2011.

2. Onsite SEO doesn’t matter.

Title tags, internal linking, and well formed and clean code are just some of the onsite SEO factors that will contribute to significant improvements in rankings, indexing, and usability.

3. Buying links are bad and paid links can get you banned in Google.

Purchasing links isn’t always bad. Products and services that cost money to use but generate links to your website can be beneficial. These could include directory listings, sponsorships, press releases, etc.

Also the recent argument that using paid links will doom your site should be taken with a grain of salt. Are there ways you can sink your rankings using paid links? Absolutely. Are you going to get banned on Google for strategic placements of paid links? Probably not.

4. Keyword density doesn’t matter.

This is a no-brainer: all search engines use algorithms to calculate relevance of content on a page. Obviously search engines track keyword density on that page to determine the primary subject matter.

5. Look what I did in [insert past year here].

Old SEO tricks and tactics are about as useful as a car without tires. Will they work? Maybe, but you’re much better off spending your time and money to improve content, fix technical issues, and build links rather than hoping to rank on outdated tactics.

6. Matt Cutts [or insert Expert Name here] said it [insert year here] so it must be true.

The search algorithm that Google uses changes significantly several times per year. In addition, hundreds of other factors can influence rankings with varying degrees of weight and decay unevenly over time.

Anything written by Matt Cutts or SEOmoz several years ago should likely be stricken from the record as the game has indeed changed significantly.

7. Content is king.

This is a phrase you hear all too often when discussing SEO. While content, social media, site architecture, and well connected pages all contribute to search ranking in some form, they pale in significance compared to links. You should find a balance between content and links in the organic search monarchy.

8. Stop paying for keywords that you rank for organically.

There has been a long-standing debate on which is more important – SEO or PPC – but the truth is success in either is mutually beneficial. Rather than turning off paid search completely as organic rankings improve, try to leverage high organic rankings for higher quality score (and therefore lower cost per click).

9. Meta tags have a huge impact.

Several years ago this may have been the case, but as stated before, search engines are constantly changing how they rank websites. One might argue that meta descriptions have some impact on search rankings, if the search engine chooses to utilize them in the search results, but meta keywords died several years ago. Please let them rest in peace.

10. You can’t hurt a site with bad links

This could get you into trouble quickly with the search engines. In general, bad links scattered across your inbound link profile aren’t going to hurt your rankings. However, if you’re the recipient of a large amount of bad links which is overwhelming the good and you don’t do something about it, you could be in for some trouble.

The best protection against spam links or bad links is to be proactive. Measure inbound links on a routine basis, keep an eye on unusual inbound linking, and enact a good link building regimen.