There are no magic bullets in SEO, no matter what some may try to tell you. It would be nice and very convenient if you could just package up a sure-fire set of procedures that would guarantee number one rankings, but SEO really doesn’t work that way. But because people are always searching for that one sure thing, SEO myths abound. They tend to be ‘the one thing you should do’ to get top results, or ‘the one thing you should avoid’, and so on. Here are some examples of common SEO myths, and a few facts and tips that are much more likely to result in improved search rankings.
What are the myths?
The myths around SEO keep changing as the techniques evolve. Some of them are (or have been) that:
- Link building is the way to go; or conversely link building is no longer relevant.
- Your focus should be on keywords and more keywords.
- Social media is totally useless when it comes to SEO.
- As long as you have hundreds of followers on G+ you will automatically rank better.
- Your focus should be on guest-blogging; and the reverse that guest-blogging is done!
- Buying paid ads is the trick to getting top rankings, because Google just wants your money… and so on.
These ‘trick’ approaches tend to assume that Google or other search engines have some magic formula and you’re set if you can just obtain it – which is not the case.
In addition, the belief that you can pay for top rankings was recently countered by Google’s Matt Cutts, who claims that Google’s main aim is to produce great search results so that people keep coming back for more – a very sound approach for any business to follow. Matt emphasised in a video that there is no algorithm that will automatically give you better rankings on SERPs with paid ads. Paying for ads may of course provide many benefits for your business, but there is no guarantee of improved rankings from them.
What are the facts?
The main fact is that these days search engines are more concerned with quality than quantity or anything else really. For example, it’s not the number of backlinks you have that matters, but the quality and relevance of those links.
Another example is posting lots of articles or blogs on your site that are full of keywords. This is next to useless if those posts are of poor quality, and especially if they are written with the sole intent of boosting rankings rather than being useful and relevant to your audience.
There is actually a whole range of steps you can take to help improve SEO, many of which we’ve written about previously. These include posting quality content, regular blog posts, guest-blogging, quality link building, social media participation, improving the user experience, becoming a subject authority on your topic, and even paid ads.
But there is no one right way. And while there is nothing wrong with wanting to do quick things to improve rankings, unless you focus on producing great quality and always putting your customers first, your rankings are likely to eventually wane even if they get a temporary boost.
So to sum up, just as some people might go to a doctor looking for a quick-fix pill only to be told they need to change some things in their lifestyle, there are no quick cures for SEO problems. These days SEO needs to be approached more holistically for a business to thrive and succeed in the online environment.