Common SEO Myths That Can Actually Hurt Your Rankings

There are several tried-and-true ways to help increase search traffic and page rankings for your website, but there are also a number of misleading fallacies surrounding search engine optimization (SEO) floating around. How do you know what advice is solid and what you should ignore? In this article, we’ll explore some common SEO myths and highlight other tactics to use instead.

Three SEO myths (and how you can avoid them)

SEO is constantly evolving. As a result, what worked well for ranking in the past may not work for your efforts today — in fact, it could actually harm them.

Although there are a variety of tactics people use to rank highly with search engines, the simple truth of SEO is to focus on communication. Let’s look at three common SEO myths and how you can focus on quality SEO instead.

The simple truth of good SEO is to focus on communication.

Myth #1: Only long-form content ranks well

Quantity versus quality has long been debated by SEO experts. Although content length can correlate with better search engine results (presumably longer content provides an opportunity for more in-depth exploration of a topic), it’s not a guarantee for a great ranking.

Providing value for your readers matters more than how long your articles are. Write with that in mind, and you’ll likely come out ahead.

Fact: Quality is more important than quantity.

Myth #2: The more backlinks, the better

In the early days of search, website owners craved backlinks to the extent they would participate in link exchanges or even purchase links in an attempt to make their site seem more important to search engines.

The more backlinks you have, the higher your Google PageRank, right? Wrong.

According to a Google Help article on backlinks, “PageRank is Google’s opinion of the importance of a page based on the incoming links from other sites. In general, a link from a site is regarded as a vote for the quality of your site.”

“Spammy” backlinks are against Google’s quality guidelines, and these low-quality links can actually hurt your SEO.

Fact: Not all backlinks are considered equal.

Myth #3: Keyword density wins

A persistent (and rather annoying) SEO myth out there suggests that the more times you can use a keyword in an article, the greater the odds of ranking well for that keyword.

Content creators who focus on keyword density attempt to shoehorn a keyword into sentences even when it doesn’t make sense to the readers.

“Keyword density is kind of dead,” says Rebecca Gill, vice president of digital marketing services at Emagine. “It doesn’t have the priority that it once did. Instead, Google’s really more focused on semantic search. Semantic search is trying to better understand what your content is and how it relates to a user intent.”

Ultimately, Google cares more about matching search results with a user’s search intent than counting keywords. That’s good news: you can write more naturally, which is better for your readers and your SEO.

Fact: What’s helpful for your readers is good for your SEO.

Think of your audience

You may have noticed a trend in this article: do what’s good for your readers. Despite the constantly evolving nature of SEO, helping your readers achieve their goal is a trend that will never go out of style with search engines.

Are there other SEO myths you’ve encountered or particular strategies you’ve found helpful? Leave us a note in the comments!

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