Myths are the stories we tell ourselves to make life’s complexity feel manageable. They give as a signpost for the direction we should take, help to motivate us when we feel negative, and provide clarity when confusion is all around. In that sense, myths are essential, and we all use them – but in the world of SEO, this can be fatal.
Because of its pace of change, the content marketing world is especially vulnerable to myth-making. What worked once, can stop working quickly. And when we succeed, we can hold on stubbornly to outdated ideas.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a quick guide to five SEO related myths that we come across again and again. It’s not exhaustive, but if you’ve fallen victim to these misconceptions, it could be time to audit your marketing efforts, and turn your content creation strategy around.
- 1 Myth #1: More Links Equal Better Rankings
- 2 Myth #2: Mastering Keywords is the Same as Mastering SEO
- 3 Myth #3: Social Media Signals and SEO Are Worlds Apart
- 4 Myth #4: Multi-Lingual Expertise Isn’t Important When Expanding Abroad
- 5 Myth #5: You Can Optimize SEO Once, and Then Let the Traffic Rankings Rise
Myth #1: More Links Equal Better Rankings
In the past, sites have been propelled to the top of the Google rankings through little more than achieving the maximum number of links to their content. Webmasters would build sites around internal links, creating elaborate networks of inter-connected pages. Bloggers would meticulously post links wherever, and whenever they had the chance. All in the hope that Google would see this as a signal to boost their visibility.
Maybe they were right. But they aren’t now. Today, Google rankings are much more dependent upon the relevance of content, how useful sites are relative to search queries, and how well they are put together. Sure, links make a slight difference (and help to organize sites in any case) but they aren’t anywhere near the top of the SEO priority list.
Myth #2: Mastering Keywords is the Same as Mastering SEO
We all know that keywords are vital in constructing highly visible content, but it’s definitely possible to take this too far. One of the worst content creation sins is to assume that a list of high ranking keywords can simply be plugged into a text, resulting in stellar page rankings. Unfortunately, things just aren’t that simple.
Nowadays, Google’s algorithms have changed substantially, and it’s less about the keywords you use, than how you use high ranking search terms. Of course, the words you use need to rank. But they will only work in the context of relevant content that answers user search queries. Stuffing is out, and professionally written killer content is very much in.
Myth #3: Social Media Signals and SEO Are Worlds Apart
Another myth that seems to have gained a wide following is the idea that social media and SEO exist in completely different worlds. In this view, popular social media brands benefit very little from the likes and engagement they enjoy on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter – at least in terms of search rankings.
There’s some truth to this. Google doesn’t look at your Facebook likes when ranking your home page. But really successful companies know better. That’s because social media is the number one way to build an online brand, which nourishes an audience for the products you sell, and delivers regular traffic to your site. It also tends to grow mentions of your presence and products, enouraging links, and spreading word about what you do.
Naturally, companies need strong social media content creation skills. But don’t be fooled. This feed into SEO more powerfully than it may appear.
Myth #4: Multi-Lingual Expertise Isn’t Important When Expanding Abroad
This one is fundamental to making the best use of the global opportunities that the web provides. Many companies focus their international expansion efforts on directly (and sometimes badly) translated texts, along with a focus on images and video – with English language content still playing a major role.
But that’s a big mistake in our view. Given Google’s heavy focus on relevance, it’s much better to invest in multilingual copywriting. Not only will this help to score well on local language searches, it also builds your brand in target markets, and helps to build knowledge within companies about the markets they serve. And that all feeds into a huge SEO boost.
Myth #5: You Can Optimize SEO Once, and Then Let the Traffic Rankings Rise
Finally, we come to one of the biggest myths of all. When you put a lot of effort into overhauling content and rebuilding your site, and you see instant results in terms of SEO, it can seem like that’s the end of the story. After all, you’ve risen up the rankings, and it was hard work. So why not take a rest?
Sadly, that’s not how SEO works. Not only does the search context change regularly (via algorithm tweaks), but technology changes (such as voice queries becoming ever more popular), your audience might change, and content can quickly become much less relevant as events develop. All of this can cause rankings to plummet.
At greatcontent, we have a foolproof work around for this situation. If you arrange a full SEO auditon a regular basis, we can diagnose where things are going well, and where there’s room for improvement. And we can cut through the myths, finding new ways to expand. So get in touch, and rise up the rankings today.
Text: Sam Urquhart