Because SEO is still a relatively young industry and because it’s always evolving, there’s a lot of misinformation being spread throughout the industry. Some of this misinformation is based on old SEO techniques that actually used to work, and some of it is just flat out lies spread by SEO snake oil salesmen.
Being able to spot these SEO myths is crucial to making sure your SEO campaign is headed in the right direction. Below, you’ll find 5 common SEO myths debunked, but I’m sure there are several more SEO myths I’m overlooking. Please leave a comment with other SEO myths you’ve heard and come across.
Myth #1: Keyword density plays an important role in your search rankings
Simply put, keyword density plays NO ROLE in determining search engine rankings. There’s no magic keyword density that you have to hit if you want Google to push your website to the top. Keyword density is a poor way to gauge a page’s relevance for a particular keyword, and it’s far too easy to manipulate for any search engine to take it seriously.
That being said, I do think keyword density serves some purpose. It helps you see if you’re using your keywords so much that it disturbs the natural flow of your website copy. But you can also just read your copy aloud to find that out.
Myth #2: A high Page Rank automatically means you’ll rank well
Susan Moskwa, a Google employee, recently said “We’ve been telling people for a long time that they shouldn’t focus on PageRank so much; many site owners seem to think it’s the most important metric for them to track, which is simply not true. We removed it [from Google Webmaster Tools] because we felt it was silly to tell people not to think about it, but then to show them the data, implying that they should look at it. ”
Instead of worrying about your toolbar Page Rank, you should be focusing on building quality links to your website, creating optimized copy, and making your site easier to crawl for the search engines.
Myth #3: Buying PPC ads increases your search rankings
You can’t pay Google to give you a high organic search engine ranking. They won’t reward you for having a huge PPC budget. All search engines have dividers between their PPC and organic search results. Paid campaigns never directly affect organic rankings. Period.
Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to buy PPC ads. If you aren’t currently ranking well, a PPC ad can place your website above the fold in the search results. PPC ads can also drive targeted traffic to well-designed landing pages that convert clickers into buyers.
Myth #4: Your website copy needs to be at least 400 words to rank well
I do a lot of copywriting for various SEO/internet marketing companies and their clients, and to this day, I still hear this. Some SEOs still swear that every page on a website needs to exceed a minimum word count (400 words is the one I typically hear, but I’ve also heard people say having at least 250 words is a must).
This one is fairly easy to debunk. Just Google a few different keywords, and see which websites turn up on the first page of the search results. You’ll probably find everything from 50 word pages to 1,000 word pages. So, instead of focusing on hitting a certain word count with your website copy, focus on providing clear, easy-to-scan copy that clearly communicates benefits to your customers.
Myth #5: You can guarantee search engine placement
If you ever come across an SEO company that promises a specific ranking—whether it’s #1 ranking or a first page ranking—in the search engines, run away as fast as you can. No SEO can guarantee a specific ranking. They don’t work for Google, and they don’t control how the search engines will grade any particular website.
Honest SEOs will never promise a specific search ranking. However, they will tell you that by using proven SEO techniques, your website should increase its search engine presence, but there are never any guarantees.
Do you agree that these are SEO myths? What other SEO myths have you heard? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.