5 Myths About SEO – Debunked by SMILE media | SMILE media

5 Myths About SEO – Debunked by SMILE media

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There are a lot of agencies and self-proclaimed SEO gurus out there spreading around a lot of misinformation regarding SEO. With so much information at our fingertips, it can be difficult to differentiate fact from opinion. And, while opinions aren’t always wrong, it’s best to look at the facts when making a final determination.

Here are 5 big fat myths about SEO, debunked:

1. Links, links and more links. You can’t have enough links.SEO

Nope. Not true. It’s not about the number of backlinks you have to your site. It’s about the quality of the website’s that are linking to yours. Links from spammy websites are not doing you any favors. In fact, they’re most likely hurting your website and keeping it out of the top search results.

All backlinks are NOT created equal.

There are many different types of link-building strategies, some of which include:

Reciprocal Linking:

Reciprocal linking is a popular tactic that can be effective, but only when done appropriately. For example, merely exchanging links with multiple websites without relevancy to topic, industry or audience will ultimately have a negative effect on your website. On the other hand, if you exchange links with a small number of organizations in a way that makes sense, then have at it.

Guest Posting:

Just like with reciprocal linking, guest posting can be a great way to generate quality backlinks to your website. However, it’s important that the content you post is well-written, informative, and relevant to both your audience and that of the website it is being published on.

Directory Listings:

You may not even be aware of some of the online directories where your website is listed. Some online directories will post basic information about your organization with a link to your website without notifying you. As long as it makes sense for your website to be listed in a directory, then it will have a positive effect on your SEO.

It’s important to monitor your website backlinks on a regular basis to ensure that they are all quality websites and that the links are relevant to users. In addition, we highly recommend that you read Google’s Webmaster Guidelines before you begin any link-building efforts. Alternatively, you can hire a reputable New Hampshire SEO company to do it for you. This way, you won’t have to worry about being penalized by Google.

2. Focus on quantity over quality.

No. No. And, no. This one’s a little complicated, as recent studies show that “The average Google first page result contains 1,890 words.” But ultimately, it really comes down to quality. Don’t listen to anyone who says that quantity is more important when it comes to links, content, or anything else SEO-related (like keywords).

Quality ALWAYS comes first.

The length of your content depends on where you are publishing it, its purpose, its intended audience, and much more. The number of keywords in your content depends on how your content is structured. And, the number of links to your website will depend upon how many other sites find your content relevant and useful to their audiences. Every piece of content you create should be written to meet a specific objective.

Google (and other search engines) know the difference between a bunch of words dumped on a page and high-quality content. They know the difference between quality backlinks and spammy ones. They also know the difference between relevant content and useless content that has a bunch of keywords stuffed into it. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

3. Create great content and they will come.

Not quite. While creating great content is absolutely necessary and an important part of your overall SEO strategy, it will take a bit more than that to get visitors to your website. It’s what you do with that content and how you optimize it for SEO that will make the biggest impact.

Your content creation should be strategic and data-driven.

For example, if you want to rank for “shoe company in NH”, you can’t simply write a bunch of great content about whatever you like. You need to create content that contains the keyword phrase “shoe company in NH” or something similar (we’ll talk more about that next).

But before you even decide what keywords you want to rank for, you’ll need to see what people are searching for that is relevant to your industry, and what keywords/keyword phrases you have the best shot at ranking for. This requires some in-depth research and analysis by experienced SEO specialists and is a vital element in seeing great results from your SEO efforts.

4. Exact match keywords are the only way to rank for a term.

Actually, that is no longer true. Once upon a time, in order to rank for “discount shoes NH,” you did have to include the exact term “discount shoes NH” in your content. However, with Google’s bots getting smarter and smarter, it is now possible to rank for “discount shoes NH” by using phrases that essentially mean the same thing, but are worded a bit more naturally.

Exact match keywords aren’t required.

For example, Google will likely understand that terms like “cheap shoes in NH” or “discount shoes in New Hampshire” mean the same thing as “discount shoes NH”. This makes it a lot easier to write content that flows well since a lot of keywords that people search for can be difficult to put into a sentence that makes sense.

This is great news for both SEO writers and searchers since writers can write more naturally for humans, and searchers can read content that was created for humans vs. robots.

5. You need to rank 1st or 2nd to see a significant increase in traffic.

It’s good to have high expectations and lofty goals. However, when it comes to ranking for relevant search terms in your industry, it’s okay not to come in 1st. If you get there – congratulations! But if you don’t, even ranking within the top 10 search results for one of your main keywords will give you some tangible results.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.” ~Norman Vincent Peale

Though there is research that suggests being on the first page of Google search results is critical, it’s not terrible to be number 7 or 8 in line. People are used to doing a bit of scrolling and searching for answers to their questions. Don’t get so hung up on not being on top that you don’t appreciate the results you’re getting from your efforts.

Do you need help building and/or implementing an SEO strategy for your organization? SMILE media can help. Contact us today to get started.

Lisa Leslie
A writer by nature, Lisa has a way with words that captures her readers' attention and drives them to action. She has intuitive writing and editing skills, in addition to 6+ years of experience in traditional, digital and social media marketing. When she's not writing, you'll find her enjoying the outdoors with her family.