9 Common SEO Myths You Should Ignore

By Ashley Orndorff, aka Marketing Geek Simple SEO chart drawn on tablet paper

Although the SEO industry has been around for decades and more information is more readily accessible than ever before, there are still some myths that continue to hang around. Believing that they are true and letting them guide your SEO strategy often has negative consequences. Here are some common SEO myths you should ignore:

Myth #1 – SEO is All About Ranking #1 for “Your Keyword”

Rankings do still matter in SEO. After all, people should be able to find you when they are looking for things relevant to your business. However, it’s not just about rankings and it’s about way more than just ranking #1 for “x” or “your keyword”.

SEO is About Showing up When Potential Customers Are Searching

The goal of SEO is to increase targeted, relevant traffic to your website over time. This should also result in an increase in leads for your business and increases in revenue over time.

Showing up when the right people are searching for the right things is part of it. But, it’s important not to get caught up in specific keywords or vanity keywords.

Vanity Rankings Aren’t Usually the Money-Making Rankings

It’s not about showing up for what you think you should; it’s about showing up for what your potential customers are searching for. Sometimes those two things match up, but sometimes they don’t.

Ranking at the top for terms that look good may be a confidence boost, but it may not help you if those aren’t the things that actually drive leads or revenue for your business.

It’s Not About a Specific Keyword – Context and Search Intent Matter

Since 2017, Google has maintained that around 15% of daily searches have never been searched before. They’re brand new. To be able to process and serve the best results for these searches and others, search engines have had to figure out how to determine context, search intent, and more.

Focusing on a specific keyword and the rankings for that one keyword, especially if it is too broad or a vanity keyword, is limiting. And, doing so can cause you to miss out on search opportunities that matter more and make a bigger difference for your business.

If you’re focusing on the right content topics for your website, following SEO best practices, etc., then you’re focusing on how to provide sufficient context for search engines to understand your page and also on giving searchers what they are looking for.

This positions you to attract more of your target audience, meet their expectations, and also convert them into leads for your business. This approach also gives you a better chance of showing up for a broad range of searches that are relevant to your business, including those that have never been searched before.

Myth #2 – It’s a Quick Fix

SEO covers a lot of ground. You can get some quick wins in some areas, especially if you are fixing a technical issue, but SEO should not be viewed as a quick fix for low traffic, leads, revenue, etc.

Good SEO efforts compound over time. And, it can take some time to start seeing progress, especially in a highly competitive industry. Plus, there are a lot of factors to consider.

A sampling of SEO tactics cannot fix bad branding or a broken website. Web design impacts content marketing, SEO, branding, and more. A solid SEO approach needs to be holistic. It needs to include fixing technical and user experience issues on your website and correcting other issues holding you back.

Fixing those things is often an ongoing process that takes time. The same goes for SEO – you need consistent effort over time and you need to give it enough time to work for you.

Myth #3 – SEO is a One-Time Investment

Usually paired with the myth of SEO being a quick fix is the myth of SEO being a one-time investment. Because consistent SEO efforts compound over time, you can’t just “do SEO” once and then expect results. It’s not something you check off of a list and forget; this is one of the biggest SEO mistakes to avoid.

Your competitors are continuing to grow, new competitors are breaking into the industry, technology is constantly evolving, search engines are always changing and updating to keep up, and more. Plus, the way your customers search for things related to your business can change over time.

It’s important for you to do the same. Even if you have a strong SEO foundation, you’ll end up outdated and left behind if you aren’t continuing those efforts. Ongoing SEO efforts can help you stay updated, stay competitive, and continue to maintain and grow.

Myth #4 – You Can Set it and Forget it

You can’t “set and forget” SEO. A lot of the basic principles may tend to stay the same, but you can easily get left behind if you’re not paying attention.

Search trends fluctuate and change over time. The way your potential customers search changes over time. The SEO tactics you use may need to change to accommodate these changes. At the same time, ongoing SEO requires testing of everything.

There are best practices you can follow. But, the approach and specific tactics that work best for your business, in your space, and in your industry may vary. You need to be testing things and monitoring results to figure that out.

Myth #5 – SEO is All Growth, All the Time

SEO is about growing a business over time, but expecting consistent increases all the time is a mistake. You should see overall growth for your business, but fluctuations should be expected.

Search interest in your industry fluctuates, search engines are always updating, and external things can happen that affect search. Google Trends can help you get a handle on how search interest fluctuates in your industry and how it is affected by external events.

If your industry is typically slow during the summer months and your customers are not searching for your services during those months, you’re going to see traffic drop off accordingly. That doesn’t mean your SEO “isn’t working”; it just means your industry slows down during that time.

Looking at SEO growth on a graph is not going to be “up and to the right” all the time. There are going to be drops, fluctuations, adjustments, and more as your business grows. The overall trend should show an increase in growth, but you will see fluctuations throughout the process.

Myth #6 – It’s All You Need

SEO is essential for online growth and organic traffic from search engines is an important marketing channel. But, it’s not the only channel your business needs. Over time, SEO can help grow brand awareness, traffic, leads, revenue, etc. However, SEO alone isn’t enough when it comes to a full marketing strategy.

In addition to SEO, you still need to be using other channels that matter to your business, focusing on customer retention strategies to build loyalty, and more. The right mix for you could include social media marketing, paid ads, a heavier focus on public relations, local promotions, email marketing, etc.

Myth #7 – Google Only Ranks “Fresh” Content

It’s not the freshness of your content that helps search engines index it; it’s the relevance. This SEO myth comes from the fact that there is a lot of outdated content out there that may take a hit in traffic when compared to newly published content on the same topic.

This isn’t necessarily because the other content is newer or “fresher” – it’s more likely that the newer content is more up-to-date and relevant than the older content. This is one of the reasons why regularly revisiting content and updating it when needed is one of the ways to keep your old content working for you.

This also depends on the topic. For some topics, it may take a lot longer for content to be considered outdated compared to others. Posts that round up annual trends will quickly become outdated by the next year or so. On the other hand, something like “how to tie a square knot” is less likely to become outdated as quickly.

Myth #8 – You Only Have to Optimize Content Once

This once-and-done approach is one of the SEO myths to avoid, and usually, is one to avoid across the board. Content can be “SEO-optimized”, but it will often need to be revisited and refreshed to remain relevant.

This is particularly true for time-limiting blog posts, like trend-related posts, that need to be updated regularly to stay relevant for the topic they cover. But, the same is true for other website pages. Although you may not have to re-optimize them frequently, you will need to keep an eye on search trends, queries, competitors, etc. over time and make changes as needed.

Over time, the way potential customers search for your products/services can change and evolve. If you’re not updating your content to address those changes, it can quickly become outdated and no longer meet search intent for those potential customers.

There may also be gaps that become evident over time that you need to address in your content or new features you need to talk about or new questions you need to answer. All of these reasons, and more, are all why you can’t optimize your content once and then ignore it.

Myth #9 – Meta Tags Don’t Matter

Although it is true that Google and other search engines ignore the meta keywords or phrases part of the meta tag of a page, that is not true for the other meta tags. Meta tags are HTML tags that are incorporated in between the opening and closingtag of a page.

Not only do these tags provide valuable information to search engines about your page, but the title tag and meta description are also often displayed in the search engine results pages. These two meta tags provide a snippet of your page to searchers and can entice them to click or drive them away. This is why customizing and optimizing the title tag and meta description is one of the essential on-page SEO tips.

Ignore SEO Myths and Avoid Mistakes for Better SEO

These are just a few common SEO myths you should ignore. Avoiding many of the mistakes that these myths can lead you into can help you build a better, stronger, and more efficient SEO strategy to drive traffic to your website, increase leads and revenue, and grow your business over time.

Your website has a big effect on how your brand is perceived by potential customers and also on whether they contact you or buy from you. If your website is underperforming, it may be time for a new design and a fresh build.

Contact us for a meeting of the MINDs to talk about how we can help get your website back on track and performing for your business!

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