Common SEO Myths Debunked

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the practice of improving a website with the aim of making it rank higher and in turn appear more visible in a search engine results page. With the growing necessity to have a website to promote oneself, a business, a product so too has the demand for SEO.

There is no definite set of rules for how to make a website most attractive to a search engine, therefore many myths exist. SEO is a broad field and rules and strategies can develop through badly digested hearsay. In a fast-paced world such as that of marketing, people it can be difficult to take the time to consult each and every document or read first-hand the documents provided by search engines. Over time some logical assumptions as to what garners better ranking have been turned by SEO into truths. Keep reading to discover some SEO myths debunked.

Myth: SEO is a one-time project

Many believe SEO strategies are most important at the outset of developing a website or as a one-time project to improve rankings and traffic. However, it is best viewed as a marathon rather than a sprint. Here’s why it cannot be a once-off.

SEO depends on search engines and search engines by definition are companies in their own right. They are constantly trying to improve their product by tweaking and developing that product to cater for the ever-changing habits of their end users. This results in more and less apparent changes. On the one hand even non-SEOs, or the non-professionals, can tell that the visual interface of our favourite search engines go through a frequent series of changes in how the results are displayed to the users. Examples are things like “cards”, quick answer boxes, “People Also Ask”. All these elements have not been present since the beginning of their creation time but have been developed over the years to match the demands of the user.

More importantly, SEOs are required to constantly keep up with the changes happening in the background, the so-called algorithm updates, which determine & constantly reshape the characteristics of a winning site. For these reasons it must be an ongoing effort of improving and developing a website.

Myth: SEO is all about the backlinks

As per the traditional classification SEO comprises three broad areas: tech SEO, on-page and off-page aka backlinks. Since their inception search engines have used backlinks as the barebone of their algorithms. As all SEOs have learnt on day one a backlink is an endorsement. So, the more endorsements, from a variety of websites across the whole wide web, is clearly the better.

Having said that, like with most things, backlinks is not the be all and end of all of SEO. Pursuing link building without having laid out the basics of a site; ensuring that the site is easily crawlable & indexable, loading time is not too long, the quality of the content is up to scratch is a common fallacy.

So, here’s the thing, backlinks have mattered, matter and will likely matter for a long time but, as search engine evolve, the shift from quantity to quality has become possibly more dramatic in off-page SEO than in the other areas. In 2022 building quality backlinks is paramount to avoid being hit by the penalties search engines often hand out for taking the shortcut of pursuing low quality references. That is why the work of whitehat digital PR like have started overtaking the more traditional link building pursuits that would attract industry relevant endorsements on highly authoritative, topically relevant websites.

Myth: The greater the word count the better

Word count is the number of words on a page. Some believe a great word count can result in better rankings but place huge weight on it is a myth. Rather it is important to consider the quantitative versus qualitative aspect. It takes completely out of the picture such key elements as topical relevancy, semantic value and overall good writing in terms of grammar, style and over quality. Of course, word count matters to a certain extent. If a number of documents are battling it out for the top-ranking positions, the overall value of one document versus might also be measured in terms of the thoroughness with which the different documents expound the topic at hand.

Myth: High keyword density matters

The keyword density refers to the frequency a specific keyword occurs on a webpage divided by the total number of words on the webpage. If search engines ranked web pages based heavily on keyword density, then all you would have to do is repeat your target keyword over and over to get pages to rank. Search engines are not that dumb. Especially in 2022 when it is a well-known fact that search engines leverage AI and Machine Learning into its algorithm reducing everything to a basic mathematical equation sounds very anachronistic.

Myth: Crawl budget is important

As with other topics on this list, crawl budget can be regarded as a myth not so much because it does not exist full stop, but more so because inexpert SEOs call on crawl budget as a wildcard issue to place blame when they cannot find more logical explanations for certain interactions, or absence thereof, between search engines and their own site. It is worth pointing out that such missing interactions e.g., a site not being crawled very often by a search engine, are not to be considered problematic in most circumstances. Hence, it would probably be more accurate to define the myth at hand by saying that crawl budget issues are the real myth.

As mentioned above, crawl budget, or at least some concepts that are very close to this definition, do exist and have been more or less explicitly mentioned by search engine spokespeople over the years. What SEOs normally refer to as crawl budget is in reality the mix of 2 concepts: crawl rate, i.e., the frequency with which search engines make simultaneous requests to a server without overloading it; and crawl demand (aka) scanning frequency i.e., the frequency with which a search engine scans a certain a type of website based on its probability of updating. By conflating these two into the crawl budget monster SEOs have found a convenient answer to questions such as why is this page not indexed yet? Or why is the crawl rate on my site so low? 

Final word

The conclusion to be drawn from debunking these myths surrounding SEO is that all do have a factor to play in a successful website and to its ranking position on a search engine. However, it is important not to place too much emphasis on one aspect. Considering all when planning and implementing both short- and long-term development plans will give better results in the long run.

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