As an SEO professional, I feel the need to discuss (and bust!) some of the most common misconceptions about search engine optimization. There are lots of companies out there trying to sell you their services for dirt cheap, but please be weary of their tactics. You need to choose a company that is reliable and definitely knows that the following ten myths are in fact myths!
1. SEO is dead
Search engine optimization is actually always changing and therefore is not dead…it’s alive and well, thank you very much! SEO is the art of organically improving your rankings on the search engines. SEO won’t be dead until the day people stop using search engines—and even if that day comes, it will likely evolve to a focus on the platforms where people do search.
2. SEO is just spam
This is a very common misconception. True SEO isn’t trying to fool anyone—it’s doing the exact opposite. The purpose of SEO is to make the content of websites more searchable and accessible to the search engines for terms that are relevant to the natural content of the site, and in turn, this helps you more easily find relevant content on a search engine. That is not to say that there aren’t those SEO companies who do not follow proper guidelines. So for the most part, it’s not spam…but as with anything, there will be a few rule breakers out there.
3. Anyone can do their own SEO
If you want to see results, you should hire a qualified professional. Anyone can read some blogs and learn a few tricks of the trade, but only effective training and practice can turn that “anyone” into an experienced, seasoned SEO strategist. Plus, a good SEO company will have tools and resources at their disposal that most individuals will not.
4. Buying links is a quick and easy way to make my pages rank higher
Buying links is first of all not really SEO. It’s pretty much cheating. And once Google or the other search engines find out, you will be severely penalized if not banished from the search results all together. If a company is selling links, DO NOT use them—they obviously are not real SEO professionals. (See number 5 below for further reason as to why buying links is not a good idea.)
5. The more inbound links you have, the better
It is good to have inbound links if, and only if, the sites that are linking to you contain content that is relevant to your site or services. For example, if you are a limo company, it would be fine to have wedding sites linking to your website. However a link from a website about cats would not help. And hundreds of links from sites with unrelated content could actually get you penalized. But please note, having good quality backlinks WILL look good for your site and could give you a higher page rank. Think quality over quantity here.
6. You should end all your URLs in .html
I have heard this one a few times, and I have no idea where it came from. This will not affect your page rankings whatsoever. End your URLs in whatever you want; HTML will not increase your rank on the search engines.
7. SEO is a one-time activity
No, no, no! Just like the number one myth I mentioned above, Google (as well as the other search engines) are always changing their search engine ranking algorithms. New competitors are also likely to enter your industry or your market, so you need to keep up to date with the latest changes and be constantly optimizing your website so you don’t get stuck on page 45 because the last time you “did SEO” was five years ago. Google also favors websites that are dynamic and offer up-to-date content, so if yours is lacking this, you will be likely to fall off the ranks.
8. Social Media and SEO aren’t related
Social media has a huge effect on SEO. With the popularity of social media, search engines are increasingly integrating social content into their search results. You will see Facebook, Google+, Twitter and more social media sites in your search results if it is relevant to your query.
9. A good SEO service provider can guarantee that you will rank in the top 10
No company can guarantee specific results. As I’ve mentioned multiple times now, the search engines’ ranking algorithms are constantly updating to become more effective at serving relevant results to consumers. If you find a company that is guaranteeing specific placement organically, run as fast as you can. You should seriously be skeptical because Google just doesn’t work like that—there are hundreds of factors that go into where you rank, and no one can control all of those. There is no guarantee in SEO. You should look for companies that will set realistic expectations just for you.
10. Have as many keywords as possible
Keyword stuffing makes sites look spammy. Just stick to a few relevant keywords that represent your site. If you include every word in the dictionary, you may be penalized. It is better to have one really awesome (legitimate) article written about your company than to have twenty keywords stuffed onto your site. People get the picture if your website is called bestfurniturestore.com and your header is “Best Furniture Store.” There is no need to write “best furniture store” in every paragraph on your entire website. (Wasn’t that already annoying?!)
I hope that helps you understand a little more about SEO. Please feel free to contact our company if you have any questions at all!