Debunking SEO myths

There are a few common SEO myths or mistruths that emerge occasionally on blogs or amongst SEO professionals, sometimes they have a basis on past fact and other times they’re just based on mistaken ideas. We debunk the top myths in SEO below and investigate what real and what’s not.

Debunking SEO myths

Keywords are the be all, end all

There is no doubt that keywords are important to SEO, but it’s a bit more complicated than just using keywords as frequently as possible.

In fact, Google uses something called TF-IDF or Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency. Frequency is still an important factor, but it’s compared in context to what is normal in comparison online for the same topic. If you’re website is an obvious outlier because you’re keyword stuffing or trying to manipulate your on-page content purely for better rankings, then Google will perceive your site as less relevant and valuable to users and it could result in a demotion in the rankings.

Synonyms are also recognised by Google, this is one area where Google has made great gains in recent years. It used to be the case that words terms such as ‘ing’ wouldn’t be recognised by Google.

Back in the day, the keyword density sweet spot was around 5.5%. If you stuck around there you would climb in the rankings, abut if you crept up closer to 7% you were likely to be penalised. It’s not as simple as that anymore, density still matters but so do natural language patterns. Good SEO content has to sound natural.

Social Signals as a ranking factor

So this one is a bit complicated because for a while your social ‘authorship’ was a ranking factor, but it’s not so much the case anymore. Some people out there believe that Google is ranking based on everything from your Instagram filter, number of followers or you’re Facebook likes. Whilst they’ve trialled Google+ and +1 buttons on their ranking pages, it’s not a thing now.

The importance of social media to your websites ranking is now mainly through links. Backlinks are a major ranking factor, so social media can have a big impact on your link profile. Social media popularity has a positive correlation with lots of links. Being a social media influencer can help you build back links quickly, that’s a ranking factor, but being a social media influencer is not a ranking factor.

Links aren’t important

Changing SEO trends sometimes lead people to theorise that links aren’t important, but they most definitely are. In fact, Google regularly reminds people that PageRank is the most important element when it comes to determining rank. Links are Google main way of determining popularity and relevancy.

Content isn’t important

In the same way that links are occasionally opined to be dead, so is content. It is definitely very much alive and the main determinant for what terms to rank your pages for. Well written content is the main way which Google determines relevancy.

SEO is something you only need to do once

A lot of people view SEO as something they can ‘fix’ and move on from. They view SEO as a checklist of simple bets practices, and think that if they just do an audit and fix any issues then it’s done any you can move on. If you expect to be competitive this isn’t really the casse though, because SEO is a constantly changing space, there are thousands of different tactics you can take or opportunities to improve your ranking, meaning it’s an ever evolving, on-going challenge to get the most out of your website and Google algorithm’s.