Search engine optimization is a must for any business, whether you’re hiring SEO services or attempting to spearhead your efforts independently. However, there are several factors that need to be considered before you get started. After all, there are thousands of search signals that influence results. And with algorithms that are admittedly changing hundreds of times per year, navigating the world of search engine optimization is much easier said than done. With that in mind, here are a few myths you need to keep in mind:
Links Aren’t Important
Backlinks are links that point to your domain. Because backlinks are a part of off-page SEO, many newbie marketers opt not to focus on it, convincing themselves or their clients that it isn’t important. But Google has stated time and time again PageRank—the part of Google’s algorithm that focuses on links—is one of the most important ranking factors. No matter how much SEO changes with the digital landscape and consumer patterns, the importance of high quality backlinks will never go away.
Buying Backlinks in Bulk Will Bump Your Position Quickly
As previously mentioned, backlinks are an integral part of the SEO strategy. Because of this, many marketers or business owners will purchase hundreds or even thousands of backlinks in hopes that it will bump them up in Google search engine results quickly. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Search engines don’t just consider how many backlinks you have, but the quality of those backlinks as well. When you order high-volume backlinks, chances are your links are going on very low-quality websites and forums, which will ultimately hurt your SEO and could result in a site penalization.
More Keywords = Better Ranking
One of the first things you’ll learn about SEO is that keywords play a very critical role in your overall SEO strategy. Your keyword research will serve as the foundation for all of your SEO efforts. However, when it comes to content—whether it’s on your landing page or blog posts—more keywords does not equate to better engine positioning. Google has become much more proficient in their ability to recognize language and know when the keyword density is too strong, even in cases where you alter the keyword slightly by using word stems like “ing” and “s.”
Only the First Position Matters
Who doesn’t want to appear first in Google search engine results? Sure, the first position gets the most clicks, but it isn’t the end all be all. For starters, other links on the first few results still hold plenty of equity. Moreover, Google now displays text boxes featuring content from websites that clearly answer questions that the user is searching for. These display boxes are based on the site that answers the questions best—not the site that answers the question first.
For instance, take a look at the screenshot below. You’ll notice that the text box preview at the top of the results actually comes from the website in the third place position, rather than in the first. This proves that being first isn’t always the same as being the most relevant.
SEO Is “Set it and Forget It”
SEO isn’t something that you launch and then forget about. Although it’s true that your SEO efforts will continue to work for you throughout the lifetime duration of your website, this doesn’t mean that you can do it once and forget it. When you create an SEO strategy, the main point is to let that strategy guide you forward consistently and constantly. For instance, the keywords that you’ve come up with should be a reference point for all content efforts moving forward. As trends change and your products, services, and business goals change, so too should your strategy.
Your Site Needs to Be Submitted
Perhaps by now you’ve already received some sort of unsolicited communication that informs you you’ll need to submit your site (and pay) in order to appear on search engines. This is a major misconception, and it’s one that newbies often fall for. Once a domain is registered, the submission that follows is hands-off. In some cases, you may need to submit inbound links that Google hasn’t found to Google Search Console Fetch and Render, but you will never need to submit your website as a whole to the search engine. By now, the search engine acts as its own registrar and understands when a new site is live and active.