8 SEO Myths: What Are the Most Questionable Ones in 2020 and Beyond?
by Mike Khorev
It seems a lot of things in digital marketing develop myths over time, which only makes it more difficult for beginners like you to find truth. SEO is one of those digital marketing techniques that have more myths than arguably anything else. A lot of these myths developed due to ubiquitous online tutorials trying to simplify the process.
While you can do SEO well with a little knowledge, it doesn’t have to become complex to a point of confusion. What’s important is to go after the myths and debunk them so you have more clarity in your marketing efforts.
Let’s take a look at eight of the most common SEO myths we see persist. You’ll encounter these through the rest of 2020 and beyond.
Along the way, you’ll learn truths about these myths and how you can go about making them work more efficiently, or avoiding altogether.
1. Buying High Authority Links
One of the most prevalent SEO myths we’ve seen around for a while is the idea that buying high authority links is a good idea. Before the time when Google started penalizing this, it was easy to get by.
Nowadays, buying high authority links is far too risky, even if some businesses still make the attempt. They do this because a lot of backlinks are cheap to purchase.
You also see a myth permeating saying Google can’t tell the difference between paid and natural backlinks. This isn’t true since Google can now scope out the difference compared to a few years ago.
Keep in mind most metrics like page rank, page authority, and domain authority are absolute, so purchased backlinks won’t help your SEO. Take some time to check your website’s organic traffic on SEMRush to see if you’re in good standing with Google.
What’s most important is to focus on creating valuable content that inspires people to link to your site. By taking time to inspire genuine backlinks and organic SEO, you won’t play risk with Google punishment.
2. Cheap SEO Services, or “Free Trials”
The old idea that anything looking too good to be true usually is might not always apply to everything. In the world of SEO, it has complete validity. You’ll usually find this in the guise of free trials from various SEO services. In other scenarios, it’s a company offering services for under $500.
Those who attempt to give you cheap services like this usually do so for a reason. They know many businesses suffer from budget limitations and look for the cheapest alternative.
Unfortunately, many of these companies usually offer backlinks rather ranking and traffic improvements. Providing fast backlinks once again ups the risk you’ll end up with more Google algorithmic penalties.
You’re better off paying premium for SEO, though check how much experience these experts have. Anyone can claim SEO expertise since there isn’t any official certification or degree involved.
3. Guaranteed SEO Results
It’s worth noting you have no ranking guarantees, no matter if you hire someone with a superior SEO track record. No matter what their experience level is, Google algorithms are extremely complex and always scope out unnatural optimization behavior.
Stay away from experts claiming they can give you positive SEO results within a specific time limit. A lot of companies like this claim they can help you rank high within 10 to 20 days.
In reality, it’s impossible to dictate what Google is going to do within a specific time frame. If you work with a reputable SEO expert, expect about six to twelve months before seeing ranking results and traffic improvements.
4. Keywords Stuffing
Unfortunately, too many businesses still get tempted to do keyword stuffing. You may have some people who claim this is a good idea just for the sake of winning the search engine game.
You’re just playing risk, because it can lead to serious repercussions in two different ways:
- Places like Google are going to penalize you for repeating too many keywords, mainly because it eliminates value from your content.
- You’ll also have visitors leaving your site because they’ll plainly see you have nothing of value based on what they wanted to find.
One reason so many businesses continue to do keyword stuffing is because they think it’s an easier process without hiring a digital marketing team. The worst scenario is Google could completely remove your website from their search results.
Remember, create content for people and not merely for search engines.
5. Sneaky Redirects
Another SEO myth you’ve perhaps overlooked is the sneaky redirect, or the overly vain attempts to try to outsmart Google.
You should never try to fool Google, because their algorithm is far too astute in picking up content details. They’ll know when you’re trying to create a redirect and likely issue a penalty.
Sneaky redirects come from those who try to direct visitors to pages that differ from what’s shown on Google or what crawlers scanned. It’s a crooked tactic to improve search engine ranking, but it doesn’t work anymore.
Before you do any redirects, ask yourself why you’re doing it and whether a user is going to like where they’re being redirected.
6. Using Automated SEO Software to Build Links
Automation is a great tool for many industries today, though don’t think it’s the best type of technology to use on your SEO. If you’re at least using automation in your marketing efforts, you should stick to that for better targeting and timing.
You’ll find some SEO experts who may tell you automation is the best way to produce keywords and backlinks to save time. While it’s true manual SEO does take more time, you won’t have to deal in risk with Google penalties. You can also handpick your backlinks, which improves your off-page SEO.
Most automation programs typically produce low-quality backlinks and degrade content quality. Plus, once Google detects you’re creating ten or more automated backlinks per day, they’ll put you in the sandbox for at least a couple of months.
Google could also give an algorithmic penalty, something you’ll find hard to detect. This could possibly slow down your search results for years.
7. Just Create Great Content Rather Than Worry About SEO
How many times have you heard so-called experts claim simply creating content is enough for high search engine rankings? While it’s important to think about creating original and quality content, you can’t tuck SEO away.
To help balance this out, think about it through the law of averages. By doing 20% content creation and 80% promotion, you’ll find more inroads into doing SEO more successfully.
You can get started with effective SEO and writing original content by simply creating backlinks in your content from related websites and pages.
In some cases, organic search traffic isn’t always top of the list for every business. Some companies manage to get found through strategies like Facebook ads or PPC campaigns. Nevertheless, if you do e-commerce of any sort, being found organically is absolutely essential.
Balancing SEO principles with targeted content can work mostly in tandem so you don’t have to separate them.
8. Mobile Optimization Doesn’t Matter
Are you still hearing from superiors that mobile doesn’t matter when doing SEO? If you’re getting this message from company managers, they’re more than a few steps behind on today’s SEO strategies.
Search online and you’ll see a multitude of reports showing mobile now exceeding desktop use by far.
If you’re going to optimize your SEO for mobile, it’s best to start with using AMP web pages, otherwise known as Accelerated Mobile Pages. This is an open-source code you need to employ into your mobile content to create faster-loading pages for any mobile device.
The truth is, no one is going to stay on your mobile site if your pages don’t load within seconds. Most important, Google now adheres to the AMP standard, giving you top priority in SERPs. Along with being fast loading, you also want fast responsiveness to different mobile screens.
Don’t listen to any myth shunning mobile. It’s going to become the #1 tactic in SEO far into the next decade, so don’t count on having to reinvent the wheel.
All the above SEO myths should become easier to debunk now and take you forward into a world where SEO becomes more understandable and effective. With more ways than ever to become found online, it’s worth every effort to fit these techniques into your schedule.
June 6, 2020