6 SEO myths that need to die

Image of a tablet displaying search data for a website

SEO is often held up as some kind of magic potion that will solve all of your website woes, but the reality is that SEO is just as understandable as any other marketing methodology… as long as you don’t fall into the trap of believing these kinds of myths, of course.


1) Keyword stuffing

Once upon a time, finding highly searched keywords and stuffing your content full of them was effective.

Once upon a time.

This is no longer the case. Filling this blog with “SEO myths” and variations of those words (“myths about SEO”, “search engine optimisation myths”, etc) every other sentence is going to do nothing but get me penalised by Google. So I don’t do it, and neither should you.


2) SEO is all about leads

Businesses care about making money—that’s a fact—and the way they make that money is by converting leads into customers. Anything that doesn’t help generate leads often gets left by the wayside.

As a result, search engine optimisation often gets sold as a way to generate leads first and foremost. “Customers will love your content so much that they’ll instantly convert and empty their wallets directly into yours!”.

I think not.

Your strategy can be designed around purely generating leads, but it’s not the only valuable part of SEO.

While SEO is extremely effective at generating leads in the right context, it is also often used as a way to build your brand, rather than just creating leads.

In many ways, it’s actually better than just generating leads: this way, you have a long-term strategy for getting your brand into the minds of your customers.

Your strategy can be designed around purely generating leads, but it’s not the only valuable part of SEO.


3) SEO is a scam

SEO gets a bad wrap. There are a lot of cowboys out there, it’s true, and a lot of them are either going to be unable to deliver on what they promise, or use techniques that end up doing more harm than good.

Most people who believe that SEO is a scam are those who have been hit by “black hat” techniques: tricks to get around the system to improve rankings artificially. They sometimes work in the short term, but eventually they end up doing more harm than good.

Eventually, Google catches up with what is going on and will happily derank your site for trying to game the system.

Far more effective are white hat techniques, which are essentially the same as user experience techniques. Make the content good, make it searchable and focus entirely on the user, and you’ll rank. It really is as simple as that.


4) #1 ranking is everything

Ranking on the first page is a pretty big deal. A lot of people consider it to be the epitome of SEO success to rank #1 for a commonly searched phrase—and they’re not wrong. The first page gathers the vast majority of the total clicks, with rank #1 getting about half of them in total.

Unfortunately, these impressive statistics can result in people believing that ranking for a single keyword is more important than anything else. I’m here to tell you it’s not.

It’s better to rank #3 for, say, SEO consultant, website design and user experience than #1 for just SEO consultant.

In reality, having a selection of keywords, usually long-tail, that you rank well for (not even at #1) is far more valuable. It’s better to rank #3 for, say, SEO consultant, website design and user experience than #1 for just SEO consultant.

The vast majority of the time, unless you are in a very narrow field, it’s better to spread your net rather than focus your laser.


5) SEO works instantly

SEO takes time. There’s no way around it, and anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

There’s generally a 6 to 12 month lead time in SEO; meaning that it takes up to a year of regular, consistent content posting and optimisation before you start seeing tangible effects.

Remember that SEO is about more than just leads and views and customers and conversions. It’s about setting a baseline customer experience to build upon, and one that will take time, but will pay dividends if you give it the chance.


6) It’s all about longform

Longer content tends to do better, it’s true. But it’s not doing better because it’s long form.

It’s a correlation. Longer blogs tend to do better because they also tend to be better researched, better written, and published by those with higher authorities.

Take this for example: I could publish a 5000 word UGLYdraft blog right now, filled with waffle and random links and basically completely rubbish. It wouldn’t rank, even if it was longer than all my competitors.

Longer blogs tend to do better because they also tend to be better researched, better written, and published by those with higher authorities.

It’s really about how valuable the content is: how often people click through, how long they stay once they do, what they do once they get onto your site. The better your metrics are in this regard, the more likely you are to rank, and longer form content (unsurprisingly) tends to capture focus for longer.

To borrow a coarse euphemism, it’s not about the length, it’s about how you use it.

 


 

These are just a few of the common misconceptions that people have about SEO. To discover the real value of optimised content, get in touch with me for a quick chat over a coffee—or a beer—and let’s get your content the attention it deserves.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s