Search engine optimisation (SEO) has been a part of my professional life since 2001. In that time the practice of optimising websites to attain high search rankings has changed constantly.
Unfortunately for anyone learning SEO today there are a lot of myths and outdated practices still being passed around and encouraged when they have no place in the industry. At least, not any more.
This is why hiring an experienced SEO consultant can save you a lot of time and effort, not to mention better results.
Common SEO myths still around today
This post would be extremely long if I included every misconception in circulation so I’ll only look at the most prevalent here. The ones that give me grey hair every time I see them.
Keyword density targets
There was a time when SEO experts spent a lot of time tweaking their client’s web pages to include their targeted keywords to a specific percentage. I can remember seeing people touting percentages anywhere between 3% to 11% of page content.
For example, a keyword density of 9% means the targeted keyword would make 9% of the overall page content. Tools that measured this are still available, such as this one. Old school, huh!
Today none of this matters…within reason.
Failing to include at least a few instances of your target keyword for a page would be mistake. They should also appear in page titles to indicate their importance within the content.
Conversely, stuffing a keyword into your content too often will likely be judged search engine spam – and could get you de-listed (very bad news).
As long as you write naturally and stay on topic you will be fine. SEO has evolved – so ignore discussions on keyword density.
Web directories are good for backlinks
I thought this one was already archived but, no, people are still talking about this.
Getting links to your website from web directories has no benefit in modern SEO. Yes, the link may appear in any back-link checking tool that you may be using but that doesn’t mean it is worth anything.
Unless the directory is likely to send you real traffic, such as the Yellow Pages for example, don’t waste your time trying to add your link. Directories are relics, including the once (somewhat) reputable DMOZ.
Remember, if a website can easily be spammed or allows links to be posted to other websites for payment, search engines will pretty much ignore them. Free directories are no better.
SEO rankings can be guaranteed
Ummm, no, they can’t. This is the greatest lie still told to this day about SEO.
Nobody can make a promise of attaining any given position in search engine results with any certainty. Sure, the words roll of the tongue but those who make a claim like this are either novices or are straight up lying to you.
If someone offers you a guarantee like this, run the other way. No true search engine optimisation consultant would ever make a promise of top ranking positions being attained. It is the goal of course and it may happen, but it just isn’t possible to promise top positions.
Funnily enough, even us SEO consultants get the all too familiar SPAM emails selling SEO services. These low-end providers are so poor at digital marketing that they fail to notice that they are trying to sell search engine optimisation services to SEO agencies. Oh the humanity.
Using Google Adwords will improve your SEO
This was never true. Despite this idea being nonsense from the moment it was proposed, you will still find it being discussed.
Whether you do your own SEO or pay someone to do it for you, just make sure you are not wasting any time of these concepts. Professional search engine optimisation is time consuming enough without getting caught up in trivial pursuits.
If you are paying an SEO consultant or an agency, or are looking to do so, you may want to ask their opinion on these subjects. If they give these SEO ideas any credence then perhaps you need to look for someone else to do the job.