What You Know About SEO Might Be Fiction: 7 Myths Busted by Sarah Malcolm

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We carry things we believe to be true about content marketing. The problem is the content landscape is changing, so these beliefs aren’t necessarily true any more. For instance, a content professional might believe that long-tail-keywords are essential for ranking high. This is a search engine optimization (SEO) myth. Let’s shine some light on other SEO myths and the reality.

#1. Keywords don’t matter.

The myth: As search engine ranking algorithms have become more advanced, SEO’s emphasis on keywords has become more sophisticated. For a while, frequency and types of phrases mattered. Google updated its algorithm, and the new message SEO professionals touted was keywords mattered less.

The truth: Keywords still play a large role in indexing, and conversely, ranking. They just matter differently than thanks to Latent Semantic Indexing. First, keywords should not as be used clickbait. The ranking systems are becoming smart enough to tell if a piece is clickbait based on keyword frequency, click-throughs, and bounce rates. Secondly, keywords matter as related words in web content. Writers no longer need to use an exact phrase several times in a blog. Synonyms can work. Example: “the latest in artificial intelligence” and “advances to machine learning” are related concepts.

#2. Word counts matter to ranking.

The myth: Most content blogging professionals aim for posts in the 400-700 range because we once pushed this as optimal. Then we saw a surge in longer content. Research from various sources show posts around 2000 words generates the larger audiences. What gives?

The truth: Quality always trumps quantity. Yes, long-form content does tend to generate more traffic and rank higher. Naturally, it will have more words to index because it is research-backed information chock full of quality links and data professional readers are seeking. However, short content can be shared or commented on just as much. According to Writtent, “the key is to make sure your SEO copywriting content is unique and compelling, and that’s the long and short of it.”

#3. You will be punished for duplicate content.

The myth: In the craze to create websites with as many pages as possible, in the belief that more pages improved SERP, duplicate content emerged. We’re talking two blogs about snapping high-quality photos or three blogs about common writing mistakes. The belief went around SEO circles that duplicate content would cause pages to rank lower, forcing a clean-up of blog content generation practices.

The truth: For big content generators, sometimes you end up with two similar pieces of content, maybe months or years apart. It happens. Writers change. Managers come and go. New practices emerge that require updates. Without a smart content tracking system, professionals find it challenging to know what topics have been covered. Google says, “duplicate content on a site is not grounds for action on that site unless it appears that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate search engine results.” However, copied content can be punished by ranking lower.

#4. Web page count matters

The myth: As previously mentioned, there was a time when web page count played a role in SEO. The belief was the more pages, you have the better for search engine placement. Plus, the additional pages became opportunities for in-linking.

The truth: Do we blog to increase page counts? No. We blog to help our readers. If those pages aren’t generating traffic, then they are doing nothing for the website or your branding. Really.

Having more pages for indexing doesn’t mean you will rank higher. Publish worthwhile content inside your niche. The content generation industry is plagued by “spinning,” or taking an idea and reframing it as yours.

#5. The truth about metas.

The myth: A meta-tag or meta-description plays a role in search engine ranking.

The truth: Metas don’t matter for SERP. They matter for click-throughs! And that’s what makes them important for SEO. A well-written meta must sell your page to the readers. Stop worrying about the search engine platform using the meta to determine your ranking and focus more on crafting enticing copy for customers.

#6. Blogs must have many links.

The myth: To rank well, blogs must have a specific number of outbound or inbound links.

The truth: Links are great, but they must have purpose. Spammy links don’t work. Too many links is equally a turn-off. Choose content links with great care. They must go to quality references. This includes inbound and outbound web pages.

#7. SEO doesn’t matter.

The myth: Since you can promote your content on social platforms direct to your audience, search engine optimization doesn’t matter. You don’t need to rank well to attract an audience.

The truth: Search engine optimization still matters, but the “game the system” techniques don’t work anymore. Search engine platforms are getting better at emphasizing quality content over clickbait. They become more sophisticated every day.


What’s the takeaway from these myths? Simple: all search engines are trying to do is find quality content and promote that to an interested audience. This means it’s our job as content marketers to craft this quality content like expertly written real estate blogs. We can still use SEO planning tools like keyword researchers to help, but that will not replace well-composed content that the audience finds helpful.


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