Writing by Nick Stamoulis in SEO
For many site owners and marketing managers just beginning their foray into SEO there is a lot of information to take in and even more nuances that are hard to understand until you roll up your hands and dive in headfirst into your own SEO campaign. Like any other industry, there is no shortage of SEO myths out there that can mislead a site owner and send their SEO campaign in the wrong direction.
Here are four SEO myths you need to stop putting stock in:
1. Ranking #1 is the only way to “win” at SEO.
No matter how many times it’s said by me and other SEO professionals, this one SEO myth refuses to die. I’m not going to say that ranking doesn’t matter at all, but some site owners get so focused on that number one spot they lost sight of everything else they’re doing.
Never mind the fact that the click-through-rates per SERP position have been steadily declining since 2006 (a good sign that searchers are getting smarter), ranking #1 isn’t the only thing that matters. First off, the SERPs are getting increasingly personalized which means what you see and what I see in the number one spot might be two very different things, even if we searched using the same keyword at the same time. Secondly, rankings fluctuate throughout the day—your site might be #3, #7 and #2 at any given moment and you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to keep track of it all.
Yes, ranking higher typically means you’re going to get more visitors but only if you’re website is ranking for the right keywords. In my opinion visitor growth is a much better metric of success.
2. More links means better SEO.
Links still are the bread and butter of SEO, but this SEO myth has confused many a site owner into thinking that quantity is the only thing that matters when it comes to link building. If that’s how you approach your own link building strategy then don’t be surprised when Penguin comes calling and your site is penalized for web spam tactics. Your link building should be focused on attracting quality links from a variety of reputable and respected sites. This might mean you have a smaller link profile and it takes a little longer to find new links every day but 10 high quality links are going to be worth so much more than 100 spammy links in the long run.
3. Keyword density is the key to getting a page to rank well.
I find it hard to believe that this SEO myth is still alive and kicking but every few months I stumble across a blog post or article that recommends 5% or7% or whatever percent keyword density as the key to getting a page to rank well in the SERPs. Give Google some credit—they have some of the world’s best and brightest engineers working for them and keyword density isn’t going to trump the other 200 odd signals they use to determine website rank. Should you optimize your website for SEO? Absolutely! You want to make it crystal clear to both Google and your visitors what each page of content on your site is about but keyword stuffing and keyword density aren’t the way to go about it.
4. Great content doesn’t need any help getting found.
SEO and content marketing go hand in hand—great content attracts quality links which gets the attention of the search engines which gives your brand better online presence. But this isn’t the Field of Dreams and you can’t count on visitors stumbling upon your fantastic content on their own. Your blog post/article/white paper is competing with billions of other pieces of content and you need to get the ball rolling so it can stand about above the crowd.