Common SEO Misconceptions

Search engine optimization is a constantly changing game. Make sure your business isn’t still operating under outdated SEO rules. You may feel like you finally have it figured out, but as user behavior evolves and search engines change rules, SEO best practices change too. What worked years ago may actually hurt your website now.

Fact or Fiction: Four Common SEO Misconceptions

Myth #1: Backlinks galore will boost your SEO rankings

Links leading to your business’ website—backlinks—are an important ranking factor, and a few years ago it was common practice to seek out as many of them as possible. However, now search engines are much better at deciphering between an earned, quality link and a spammy link.

“Today, quality and relevancy of a backlink is most important, not the amount of links pointing to your site,” says Jessica Schwingendorf, SEO specialist for TopSpot Internet Marketing. “For example, if you are a manufacturer, 10 links from your friend’s food blog will not improve your organic positioning the way one link from an .edu website about manufacturing careers will.”

Myth #2: “Keyword stuffing” is king

“The quality of content has become increasingly important since the earlier days of SEO,” Schwingendorf says. “Instead of repeating a keyword a certain amount of times on a page in hopes of ranking for that phrase, Google expects higher-quality content, as their goal is to give their users the best information and experience possible. Useful information, accessibility on desktop and mobile screens, and readability are necessary to give users the best experience on your site and make your site more likely to appear in search engines.”

Nick Groh, marketing technology consultant for Miles Technologies, says that it’s still important to know the keywords being used to search for your business’ products and services, but “keyword stuffing” is now a negative tick for website SEO rankings, especially if the same keywords appear on multiple pages.

Related: Guide to SEO for Your Small Business Website

Myth#3: Pay-per-click advertising will increase organic search results

This is a persistent myth, Groh says, but in fact, Google and other search engines have worked tirelessly to ensure that organic search and pay-per-click advertising remain separate. Organic search results are tied to the keywords or terms that people enter into a search engine. With pay-per-click advertising, your company pays every time one of your ads is clicked.

“This is incredibly important for small business owners, as they often don’t have the time or money to pour into pay-per-click advertising,” he adds. “They would be much better suited using those resources optimizing their site for user experience. If their business does grow and they do decide that they want to begin search engine advertising, then they will already have a huge advantage by having a web design that their visitors respond to.”

Myth #4: SEO has complicated rules

While optimizing SEO is a continuous process, it should be understood that the fundamental rules of integrity in SEO never change, says Ria Fiscina, SEO department manager for digital marketing agency Active Web Group. Focus on:

Serving the needs of every customer of your website

Creating great content that aligns with customer search intent

Building links and other relationships organically

Prioritizing customer needs, relevant content and adding quality links, will help your business fulfill client expectations by enhancing user/visitor experience. Fiscina says this includes easy site navigability, in which users can find what they’re looking for with a minimum number of keystrokes, and fresh content that engages, answers questions, and assists prospects with their buying decision. Ultimately, these steps will help you convert visitors into customers.

Related: 3 Tips to Strengthen Your SEO

By Katie Truesdell


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