With a topic like SEO, there are always multiple opinions. Either one person hasn’t caught up on a search engine update or the other has found success with a tactic that shouldn’t technically have worked to boost their ranking. And with most SEO arguments arise a myth or two that most people believe. So are any of those SEO myths true? Or are they all mere rumors that have spread and confused everyone attempting to optimize their content?
SEO is Dead
False. This is one of the most common myths going around about SEO. Since Google has gotten smarter and begun to answer questions directly, people have wondered if SEO even works anymore. The truth is that search engines are still working and ranking your content. They are just doing things differently now. Don’t believe it’s still alive? Try publishing an article and try to find it using a search engine.
Mobile Optimization Matters
True, but not directly. The action of making your website mobile does not automatically boost its ranking. It just makes it more likely to be boosted. If a person can’t view a site within a couple seconds, they’ll click off. That instant bounce is what hurts your ranking. Since more searches are made on mobile than on desktop today, being mobile responsive is very important. Just as a person clicking off will ruin your ranking, someone who stays on a website will help your ranking. What will cause them to not click off? The user experience on the mobile site, responsiveness, design, and page speed (do they have to scroll five times for the page to move?). The second they have to wait, your reader is gone to find someone else with a friendlier site and boost their search engine rankings.
Keyword Stuffing is the Way to Go
False. Stuffing isn’t quite the word for it. Keyword stuffing is usually obnoxious and should be avoided at all costs. According to most SEO gurus, ranking isn’t even about the right keyword density anymore. No, that doesn’t mean SEO is dead; it’s just changed. Ever since Google RankBrain and Hummingbird, search engines look for different things now than before to determine a ranking. It attempts to focus more on the content and its relevance rather than a specific keyword. It looks at user experience rather than how many times a keyword was used. That means don’t sacrifice a clever headline to squeeze your keyword into the beginning of it. Let yourself instead focus on being creative to get people to read your article. If people are drawn to the article by the title, search engines will notice that people are spending time there and will boost its ranking.
Keyword stuffing is different than keyword optimizing. Stuffing is throwing around a keyword wherever it sort of makes sense because you haven’t used that word enough. Keyword optimizing is using your keyword as it sounds natural. Keyword stuffing would have been to write “SEO myth” in every headline and throughout each paragraph. But that would sound silly and be overbearing. If someone knows what your keyword is because you’ve repeated it so many times for no reason, you might be stuffing.
Images Have to be Optimized
This rumor is actually true. Search engines can’t see your pictures. You have to tell them what they’re looking at by using descriptive titles and captions. Just make sure your images are relevant to the content. Some would suggest that your keyword be in your image’s description or alt text. If you choose to use your keyword, search engines will at least know it’s not a random picture. If you choose not to use a keyword in the description, make the description related to whatever you are talking about in your article or on that web page.
The More Webpages, the Better Ranking
False. Just because you have tons of pages on your website doesn’t mean search engines will rank your site over another. They key is quality, not quantity. This applies to publishing fluff content. It does you no good to produce a bunch of content in a short amount of time rather than producing quality content. Quality is what is going to get people to stay on your page longer, not how much stuff you have. Perhaps they’ll click through more pages and stay longer, but they’ll only stay if it’s quality. You should worry more about if you’re relevant to your audience’s needs and if you are providing a quality solution to those needs.
Social Media Helps SEO
True and false. It depends on how you look at it. Directly, no, having something shared on social media will not boost your ranking. However, indirectly it can. If you write a post that gets a couple hundred shares, your article is going to catch search engines’ eye. But not because of the number of shares, but rather because of the number of people who read that article and remained engaged with it as a result of the social share. So, no, sharing an article on social media doesn’t actually help your ranking. A better ranking is simply a side effect of the social shares.
Quality Content Doesn’t Have to be Optimized
False. While good quality content will naturally attract search engines because of their popularity and amount of time people spend on there, search engines won’t know what search terms to rank you under. The only reason you might not optimize your content is if your site is already popular with lots of visitors and followers. Then quality content could stand alone. But still, why would you not want to get as many readers as possible?
SEO Isn’t a One Time Thing
True. You have to keep optimizing your site and content. Some businesses think that because they’ve optimized their site once, it should be good forever. But that’s not how it works. Search engines look for up-to-date content. If your site hasn’t had any additions in a couple years, search engines will think your information is irrelevant. Also, the way search engines work changes all the time. What worked a couple years ago may not work with new search engine updates.
While it seems with all these SEO myths and rumors that SEO will never be explained down to all facts, you can count on the need for quality content that engages the reader. Focus on your audience and their needs first before diving into optimizing that content for search engines. That is your goal. Then focus on being relevant to your keyword (if you can use your keyword without stuffing) and providing the user experience people want. Search engines will keep changing their terms, but people won’t. They just want to be educated. So write the quality content with your audience in mind and then with the search engines in mind second. It’s difficult to do those in the other order.