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The 5 Biggest SEO Myths That Hurt Your Website

In the movie, “Talladega Nights”, Ricky Bobby’s father said, “If you’re not first, you’re last!”

That sentiment echoes in every SEO nerd’s mind. If you own a business, you want your website to be seen on page one for as many related keywords as possible. How soon? Yesterday.

So, if you’re not on the first page of Google, you may as well be on page 247.

That’s why search engine optimization (SEO) has been an important part of the marketing mix for many different types of businesses. It’s also the very reason some SEO myths persist to this day.

At our SEO agency, we’ve been getting websites to the first page of Google for more than 15 years, so we’ve seen what works and what doesn’t for a long time. In internet years, we’re great grandfathers in the industry simply because we remember when phone books were a thing.

Our job in this post is to explore common misconceptions surrounding SEO that refuse to die. We will debunk these myths, and offer actionable insights to guide your website towards enhanced visibility, improved rankings, and sustained success in the competitive digital landscape.


Myth 1: More Keywords Mean Better Rankings

One of the most persistent SEO myths is the belief that stuffing your content with as many keywords as possible will boost your website’s search engine rankings. In the early days of SEO, this tactic actually worked. We remember websites with white text on a white background stuffed with hundreds of keywords. You may recall coming across such Pulitzer prize-winning prose like this:

“If you’re looking for an auto repair shop in Atlanta, our auto repair shop is the best one in Atlanta, so visit our auto repair shop in Atlanta for professional repairs done by mechanics trained in our auto repair shop.”

That was the type of content that made zero attempts to do anything but rank in Google.

These days, search engines are much more sophisticated, and keyword stuffing is now penalized rather than rewarded.

In fact, that’s kind of the entire point of this post- if you continue to do what you always did to get your site ranked, you’re most likely doing more harm than good to your website.

SEO is one of the fastest-changing industries. When you consider that Google changes the algorithm thousands of times a year, there’s all the evidence you need that if you don’t keep up, you get left behind.


What to do instead:

Focus on quality over quantity when it comes to keywords. Conduct thorough keyword research to identify relevant and high-performing keywords for your content. Incorporate them naturally into your content, ensuring that it reads well for your audience. Strive for a balance that provides value to both users and search engines.

To be clear, if you’re ever in doubt whether you should write for Google or your customer, always write for your customers.

Create compelling, informative content that answers the questions your audience is asking. Search engines prioritize content that is relevant, authoritative, and user-friendly. By delivering high-quality content, you’ll not only improve your search engine rankings but also enhance the overall user experience on your website.

Pro Tip

Each of your pages should have a primary keyword as a focus. Google that keyword and look at the content in the “People Also Ask” section. Incorporate that information in your content to help give your site better traction in the search results.


Myth 2: Backlinks Are All That Matter

Backlinks, or links from other websites of higher authority to yours, have long been considered a crucial factor in SEO. While it’s true that backlinks can positively impact your website’s authority and credibility, the myth that quantity trumps quality can lead to harmful practices such as buying links or participating in link schemes.


What to do instead:

Far and away, the rule here is quality over quantity. The site with the most relevant backlinks wins over the site with the most backlinks.

Prioritize quality over quantity when building backlinks. Focus on acquiring links from reputable and relevant websites in your industry. This is where domain authority matters most. Natural, organic backlinks from authoritative websites or sites with a higher domain authority carry more weight with search engines.

For example, if you have a handyman business, you can understand why a backlink from Home Depot or Lowes may be far more powerful than one from your wife’s candle-making website.

Invest time in creating shareable, valuable content that others in your industry will want to link to. This could include in-depth guides, original research, or insightful articles. Outreach to influencers, industry leaders, and other websites in your niche to promote your content and encourage natural link-building.

The thing to remember here is that backlinking is far and away the hardest thing to do in SEO. It takes a lot of work, reaching out and prayers.

Pro Tip

Using a service like Yext can help you get a new site started with some foundational backlinks. They will get your site listed in various directories to benefit your website.


Myth 3: SEO is a One-Time Effort

Some businesses fall into the trap of thinking that once they optimize their website for search engines, the work is done. SEO is an ongoing process, and algorithms are constantly evolving. Neglecting your SEO strategy over time can lead to a drop in rankings and visibility.


What to do instead:

Here’s how effective SEO works: whenever we start a project, we look at what our client’s competitors are doing to rank on Google and outdo that.

Treat SEO as an ongoing effort rather than a one-time task. Regularly review and update your content to ensure it remains relevant and valuable to your audience. Keep abreast of industry trends and algorithm changes, adjusting your strategy accordingly.

Consistently monitor your website’s performance using analytics tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Track keyword rankings, user behavior, and conversion rates to identify areas for improvement.

Regularly conduct SEO audits to address technical issues, such as broken links or outdated meta tags, that may negatively impact your website’s performance.

Doing SEO is like walking up the down escalator. If you stand still, your site is heading to the bottom.


Myth 4: The More Pages, the Better

Expanding your website with an abundance of pages might seem like a strategy to increase your chances of ranking for various keywords. However, the myth that a higher number of pages automatically leads to better SEO results can result in a bloated and ineffective website.


What to do instead:

Focus on creating high-quality, valuable content rather than increasing the quantity of pages on your site. Each page should serve a purpose and provide genuine value to your audience. Prioritize user experience by organizing your content in a logical and easily navigable structure.

Consolidate similar or outdated pages to eliminate redundancy and improve the overall coherence of your website. Ensure that your website architecture is user-friendly and that visitors can easily find the information they’re looking for. A well-organized site structure not only enhances the user experience but also makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index your content.

Pro Tip

Admittedly, the “build more pages” approach used to work. That’s where the idea of building a topical map comes in. Rather than “more”, you can now focus on a content strategy that targets what’s relevant to your business and industry.

Your topical map should cover every issue that could be relevant to your target customers. Use this to build out the content on your site.

Myth 5: Social Media Doesn’t Affect SEO

There’s a common misconception that social media and SEO exist in separate realms. Some believe that social signals, such as likes, shares, and comments, don’t impact search engine rankings. In reality, there is a connection between social media and SEO, though it may not be as direct as some assume.


What to do instead:

While social signals themselves may not be direct ranking factors, the indirect impact of social media on SEO should not be underestimated. Social media channels can be powerful platforms for promoting your content, driving traffic to your website, and enhancing brand visibility.

Engage with your audience on social media, share your content regularly, and encourage social sharing. The increased visibility and traffic generated from social media can contribute to improved search engine rankings over time. Additionally, having an active and authoritative social media presence can positively influence your brand’s online reputation, which indirectly affects SEO.

Pro Tip

Use social media to amplify the content on your website. For example, we write blog posts like this at least twice a week. I post these blogs on more than 50 business-related groups on Linkedin which brings more traffic to our site and helps our SEO.


Final Thoughts

In navigating the complex and ever-changing landscape of SEO, Make It Loud Digital Marketing stands as your trusted ally. Our experienced team understands the intricacies of search engine optimization and is committed to debunking myths that may hinder your website’s performance.

With a focus on quality content, ethical link-building, ongoing optimization efforts, strategic content organization, and a holistic approach that considers the impact of social media, Make It Loud is equipped to guide your website toward lasting success. Our tailored strategies ensure that your online presence not only aligns with current best practices but also adapts seamlessly to future developments in the digital marketing sphere.

Let Make It Loud Digital Marketing be your partner in debunking myths, implementing effective SEO strategies, and propelling your website to new heights in the competitive online arena.

Cliff Tillery, MBA is the Chief Operating Officer and SEO Director at Make It Loud which is a digital marketing firm located outside of Atlanta Georgia. More than 14 years ago, he started search engine optimization at this award-winning agency and has taught digital marketing skills to business owners at the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, the Gwinnett Entrepreneur Center, and other groups.

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