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SEO 13 min read

The Top Twelve SEO Myths: Avoid These Traps to Grow Your Business

Natalie Yelton photo

Natalie Yelton

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

Published 24 Nov 2020

It can be a struggle to keep up with the latest trends and developments when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO,) especially if you’re a business owner with many other essential tasks to get done.

Content marketing can sometimes take a back seat to business development, customer service or product support. You have good intentions to figure out why that blog you spent hours writing isn’t getting any views or why you aren’t getting any traffic to one of your main product pages. You just haven’t managed to get around to doing it yet.

Several SEO myths are lurking in corners of the internet to complicate things further, disguised as tips to help you rank higher on search engines like Google. These myths can confuse even the most experienced SEO professional when approaching digital marketing and creating an effective SEO strategy. 

Which SEO tips are you meant to believe? And which SEO myths should you ignore altogether?

Let Galactic Fed be your personal SEO fact-checker! We’ve compiled what we think are the top 12 SEO myths and explain how to avoid them to allow search engines to find and favor your business online and accelerate organic traffic to your website. If you’re a small business reading this, check out our step-by-step guide for setting up an SEO strategy.

Why listen to us? Well, we know a thing or 2 when it comes to search engine optimization. We provide world-class SEO services for several businesses, from early-stage startups to Fortune 50 companies. 

SEO Myth 1: SEO (itself) is a myth 

Probably the most dangerous myth making the rounds when it comes to reaching customers online is that SEO - itself - is a myth. This rumor, more times than not, stems from businesses who are burned by dodgy SEO services. Nobody likes getting ripped off. And some unscrupulous SEO outfits can deliver far less than they promise after taking your money, adding to the belief that SEO isn’t real. 

If SEO is a myth, then someone should tell the big brands with entire full-time SEO teams. We’ll make a guess they will reply with details of their impressive ROI and maybe give their SEO experts a raise having reviewed the numbers. 

How to avoid: 

Do your research before committing to an SEO service. Don’t partner with a  company unless they can provide tangible evidence of improving organic traffic to known company’s sites, backed by data and insight.

SEO Myth 2: Your site’s UX doesn’t matter 

With an expected focus on user experience (UX) in Google’s algorithm update next year, your site’s UX matters more than ever before - and will directly impact where you end up on your targeted search engine results page (SERP.)

There’s no time like the present! Improve your site’s UX now so that when Google favors user experience even more in 2021, your site will be ready. 

And, if your site is a joy to use, it will attract more customers and keep them coming back.

How to avoid:

Ensure your site is user-friendly, both on desktop and mobile, and get it ready for Google’s expected algorithm update with an anticipated focus on UX in 2021.

SEO Myth 3: Accessibility doesn’t impact SEO

Don’t think alternative text for the images on your website matter? Think again. Maybe you just haven’t got around to adding complex captions to your videos, images, charts, and graphs yet. Don’t delay doing this. You could miss out on opportunities for Google to find relevant content and index it, not to mention improving your website’s UX, making it accessible to many more potential customers. 

How to avoid:

Prioritize adding alternative text and complex captions to your videos, images, and charts - so it can be picked up by both screen readers and Google. 

SEO Myth 4: New content is all you need to rank 

This myth does have a bit of truth in it. 

If your website has content that’s out of date and not useful to your customers, this will impact your site’s UX and have a knock-on effect on your SEO.

But churning out relentless content that’s stuffed with keywords won’t help or assist anyone trying to improve their SEO either. Search engines can penalize sites that overuse keywords.

There could be perfectly acceptable content sitting on your site that just needs some tender loving care. Blog posts, web pages and meta tags can all be tweaked to boost your SEO. Take a blog post, for example. Could your blogs benefit from adding or amending existing headings and subheadings? Google crawls websites for descriptive headings that answer people’s search queries. Sometimes a simple content audit and edit can drastically improve where your business ranks on search engines. 

How to avoid: 

Don’t assume you can’t improve the existing content on your website. Refreshing and republishing the content already on your site to better serve your users can do wonders for your SEO. 

SEO Myth 5: Paid media will improve organic traffic to your site 

Just because you pay Google per click on your paid ads doesn’t mean it will do you a favor and improve your ranking when it comes to organic search results. 

There are 2 ways paid media can indirectly influence where you end up on a SERP, and that’s through:

  1. Intelligent keyword research 
  2. Backlinks 

Keyword Research

Before you even pay for an ad, Google Ads is a fantastic resource for researching keywords to use to improve your SEO. If you are paying for ads, the resulting click-through rates (CTRs) can tell you which keywords to utilize for high-quality organic traffic to your website. 

Backlinks 

If you launch an engaging paid ad that people take notice of and they start to share it, you can produce a long list of backlinks. Backlinks, as explained in a later myth-busting section, can boost where you end up on a SERP as Google takes backlinks from reputable sites and people as a sign your content is useful, credible, and real. 

How to avoid:

Remember that paid media can’t improve your SEO, but it can indirectly boost your organic traffic through insight into keywords and backlinks.

SEO Myth 6: Social Media doesn’t affect SEO 

Again, there’s a bit of truth in this myth. 

Activity on social media alone won’t affect your SEO. Social Media is about building brand visibility. 

Social media puts your content in front of people who should care about it, increasing engagement and visitors to your site. Shares and links to your site from others do impact where you end up on Google’s SERP. 

How to avoid:

Focus your social media efforts around content that’s engaging, compelling, and uber-sharable. Don’t forget that social media can indirectly impact your SEO.

SEO Myth 7: Your website’s speed isn’t important 

We’ve all been there. 

You’re sitting on a website watching the spinning wheel of doom, waiting for a page to load. 

Slow page speed is a massive turn-off for customers and can stop you from easily converting customers on your website. It can also impact how search engines index pages of your site.

How to avoid:

Test your site’s page speed with Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Google analyses your URL and gives you suggestions for making improvements to your site. 

PageSpeed Insights results of google.com/

Source: Google PageSpeed Insights

SEO Myth 8: You can ignore your metadata 

Google doesn’t use metadata to rank your site. But guess what Google does use? Click through rates. 

And a meta title and description that’s irresistible and speaks to your audience? Probably will get clicked on more times than not.

Ignoring your metadata is another missed opportunity to engage customers and show how your product or service meets their needs. It’s another indirect way of moving up the SERP, so spend some time writing a great meta description. See our guide to writing the perfect meta descriptions to help you get started.

How to avoid:

Ensure the most important pages on your site, like landing and product pages, include metadata - a meta title, meta description, heading tags and alternative text for images. Keep a close eye on your meta description word count and try to hit that sweet spot between maximum character count and too many words that could be potentially cut off by search engines.

SEO Myth 9: Link building is a thing of the past 

A couple of years ago, it was announced that links were dead. 

Then links were resurrected as an effective way to improve SEO.

Which one is it?

Well, it comes down to what kind of link building you are doing. Paying for links isn’t recommended. Search engines suss out poor-quality, paid-for links and penalize your site. It’s not worth it. 

Galactic Fed takes a white-hat link building approach:

White Hat SEO vs. Black Hat SEO comparison. Source: Neil Patel

We let your content quality speak for itself, reaching out to reputable websites and publications to ask if they’d like to share. This volunteer-based link-building process means we promote high-quality content, with no payments or shortcuts used. See our introduction to link building for more info.

How to avoid:

It’s simple, don’t pay for links. Try to partner with professionals who know how to build links the right way, by nurturing relationships with reputable companies whose websites make sense for your content to link from. Link building done effectively shouldn’t cost a penny and shouldn’t leave you vulnerable to search engine penalties.

SEO Myth 10: Long-form content is the SEO magic bullet 

There’s a lot of chat about the optimal length of content to get picked up and indexed by search engines easier.

It’s not a simple as writing an 8000-word blog and getting the number #1 spot on Google. In-depth content is a part of what search engines pick up on, in addition to editorial backlinks and user intent. 

How to avoid:

Try not to focus on how many words your content has; concentrate instead on making your content as useful and accessible to as many people as possible. 

SEO Myth 11: SEO is all smoke and mirrors 

SEO is far from a magical illusion. It comes down to math, processes and basic logic. Like the “SEO is a myth” myth, the belief that SEO is all smoke and mirrors stems from companies suffering at the hands of poor SEO services. Bad results from lousy SEO practices are the culprit. 

Although Google doesn’t publish its algorithm updates, the best SEO professionals understand them by continually researching and testing. This level of insight brings with it a valuable degree of hard-earned knowledge about how to get results.

How to avoid:

Find an SEO partner you can trust who can easily prove their knowledge on the subject and articulate how they get results. 

SEO Myth 12: SEO is a one-time task

Please don’t fall for this myth. Your business could suffer as a result.

There are several reasons why SEO is a daily practice, not a one-off activity to complete and forget about. Here’s a handful of reasons to keep on top of your SEO:

  • Your competition moves ahead of you 
  • New pages are published
  • New search engine algorithms are released 
  • Links break 
  • Your content becomes out of date 

How to avoid

Continuously monitor and improve your SEO. Keep an eye on dips in organic traffic to your site, identify what’s caused it, and find the right solution. 

Don’t fall victim to SEO myths 

Though not an exhaustive list, we hope you’re now able to avoid our top 12 SEO myths when developing your company’s content marketing strategy. 

If you focus on search engines over people, your SEO will suffer. 

From implementing Google best practices to technical SEO, site maintenance auditing and CTR optimization, Galactic Fed has a ton of experience delivering results when it comes to SEO. Let us know if we could help improve where you rank on search engines and drive organic traffic to your site through engaging content that relates to your users.

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Natalie Yelton photo

Natalie Yelton

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

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