If we’re being honest, search engine optimization is far more complicated and delicate than how it is often marketed.
Simply inserting keywords into content in order to lift your page ranking sounds simple enough, but SEO is actually a conglomeration of lots of little factors and tactics.
To those who are new to the practice, it can seem like the stars have to perfectly align before they’ll see even a slight uptick in page ranking.
That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible, however.
One of the biggest SEO myths is that it is too big and too complicated for small businesses to use effectively.
Here are ten other small business SEO myths that could be holding you back and sabotaging your page ranking:
1. Keywords are the most important aspect of SEO.
Don’t get me wrong—keywords are extremely important.
Choosing the right keyword can mean the difference between getting on the first page of Google’s search results and ending up on the fifth or sixth pages.
They are not, however, the be-all, end-all.
Simply choosing the right keywords is not the beginning and end of a functional SEO program.
Ambitious keyword choices can be bolstered by linking, guest blogging, and strong branding.
2. Keywords are no longer important.
When Google Hummingbird was debuted, many people adopted the mistaken belief that choosing keywords was no longer important.
Now that Google’s algorithm was so focused on authority, links, and “usefulness” of content, it would no longer be necessary to write keyword rich content, right?
The opposite is actually true.
Keywords are still how the algorithm decides what searches to rank your page for. Writing valuable content without keyword focus may still help your page rank if all other ranking factors are locked down, but choosing proper keywords and using them correctly is still integrally important to any small business SEO campaign.
3. Your domain level will improve your ranking.
This is a myth perpetuated by sites like GoDaddy, so they can sell .com and .org domains at a higher price than domains like .pizza and .ninja (yes, those are real domain extensions that you could have).
While it’s true that searchers will trust your website more if it has a recognizable domain level like a .com, the extension itself will not actually affect where you show up in the page rankings.
If you run a pizza restaurant, having a .pizza domain might make a lot more sense and will actually draw attention to your website much more than a .com.
4. You should not use keywords in your linking strategy.
Why would using keywords as anchor text in your linking strategy hurt you?
Because if that’s all you do (use keywords as anchor text for links), then it looks like spam. Matt Cutts, one of Google’s programmers, has said, “…
The objective is not to make your links appear natural; the objective is that your links are natural.”
5. Guest blogging is dead.
Again, the exact opposite is true.
The myth arises out of reports that guest blogging is no longer as important as it was when it comes to ranking factors.
This led many SEO professionals to declare the practice and to cut it out of their services, despite the fact that guest blogging is very much still alive and is still one of the best way to build high-authority links on heavily-trafficked industry blogs.
Guest blogging is very much alive and still a great way to draw new, organic traffic to your website.
6. You don’t need to research your keywords.
Where this myth came from, no one knows.
It’s probably something perpetuated by low-quality SEO professionals who are happy to just slap whatever keywords their client thinks best into their content and doesn’t want to take the time to 1) test those keywords for traffic and for competition and 2) find new keywords that would work better for their client.
Keyword research is not just about finding keywords with high search volume and low competition—though that is a big part of the entire process. It is also about making sure you have the keywords that will allow you to get your link in front of the most interested and engaged parties possible.
7. Link building is a black hat technique.
When you click onto the website of someone who is obviously involved in a multilevel marketing scheme, and their page is filled to the brim with links (including some that are actually hidden), link building has gone too far.
Link building itself, however, is a great way to pull juice from websites that already have a great search engine ranking.
8. The longer your content is, the better it will perform.
This is, in some ways, actually true.
It can be a stumbling block, however, for those who are just starting out in SEO.
If they don’t have 2,500 words worth of information to write, they may feel like they shouldn’t bother writing at all.
This myth is born out of the very true concept that the longer a piece of content is, the more likely it is to be useful.
If you can write something useful in 1000 words, however, that isn’t going to hurt your page rankings.
9. Linking to other websites will bleed your traffic.
It is going to bleed some of your traffic.
That’s why you shouldn’t link to your competitor’s webpages.
But if you’re linking to other blogs or helpful websites, you’re unlikely to lose your page visitors altogether.
Some might go to check on whether or not what you say is actually contained on that webpage is there, but most will stay and continue reading your content, instead of clicking away.