Search Engine Optimization has many myths that have spread like wildfire throughout the internet. These myths are propagated by bloggers who often have never actually ranked a website. They are just regurgitating what they heard and what sounds right, but what has little to no basis in what it really takes to rank a website well in Google for valuable search phrases.
Google enjoys many of these myths. They even help spread some of them because they want to make it as hard as possible to manipulate their search results.
I’ve spent many years basing my SEO on what actually works in my testing. I don’t do SEO that should work based upon misguided ideas. I’m accountable to clients who pay me big money to provide real ranking results and not excuses. If I based my SEO heavily on the following myths, then I would have been out of business many moons ago!
SEO Myth 1: Content Marketing is SEO
This has got to be the biggest one that is accepted by many in the SEO community – especially new or inexperienced SEO bloggers.
Content Marketing is …wait for it…content marketing! Content marketing is not SEO. Yes, it can help with SEO, but it is nowhere near the entirety of a complete and balanced SEO plan as many make it out to be.
Basically, the idea is, “build great content and great websites will naturally link to you and then Google will reward you!” Google loves people to believe this. It doesn’t help that it is partially true. You can get rankings boost by people sharing our great content. However, if this is anywhere near your sole SEO focus, then 19 times out of 20 you will be sorely disappointed. Many have tried this path for years and gotten nothing. They had great content and it didn’t get shared and linked to.
Building great content can be a part of your plan, but it is not even required. I’ve ranked many websites that I wouldn’t classify as having anywhere near “great” content. Content is actually pretty low on my list of ranking factors. Yes, you want your visitors to respond positively to your content, but you don’t need it to be shared heavily to rank. Nor should you expect it to be shared.
SEO Myth 2: Duplicate Content is Terrible for SEO
This myth also hides behind a partial truth – the Panda algorithm does look for duplicate content and Google doesn’t want to rank the same content for the same search phrase.
However, duplicate content is a natural part of the internet and is very acceptable in many circumstances. Understanding the acceptable cases can be helpful in ranking your website.
If you’re trying to rank for a local search, like “Dallas SEO” or “Dallas DUI Lawyer,” then duplicate content can be just fine. There’s an exception in Google’s algorithms for local searches and duplicate content.
Furthermore, you can copy other people’s content and use it on your own site with complete safety if you reference their site with a link back to the original source. This is very natural.
Even without referencing the original content with a link, you can still be fine. Thousands of news outlets publish the same exact content and they are not penalized.
SEO Myth 3: Black Hat SEO and White Hat SEO are meaningful terms
Very few like to talk about the truth behind Black Hat SEO and White Hat SEO because if you say anything publicly other than “all I do is White Hat SEO is all I do” then people may think that you’re this evil person that does unethical things.
The truth is that the best in the world at SEO completely ignore the common Black/White distinctions. If someone talks a lot about doing only pure White Hat SEO, then they likely are inexperienced and are only relying on very basic SEO techniques.
First of all, the definitions of Black/White Hats are vague and mean different things to different people. Technically, any SEO you do is Black Hat according to Google. If you do anything other than build great content and let people link to it naturally, you’re breaking their terms of service.
Secondly, defining SEO activities on a 0/1 scale of Black/White simply doesn’t make sense. Many sets of SEO actions are very complex and don’t really fall anywhere in the vicinity of what anyone would consider Black or White. All the best I know of would likely say they do “no hat SEO.”
Thirdly, doing what many to consider to be White Hat doesn’t guarantee you will rank and won’t get a penalty.
Asking whether someone does Black Hat or White Hat SEO is, simply put, a poor question that reveals your own ignorance of what it really takes to rank a website in Google for a long period of time.
A better distinction is spammy vs non-spammy. I stay completely away from spam. Spam can still work, but Google has gotten much better at identifying and penalizing it.
Be aware of the aforementioned myths when trying to rank your own websites. They can send you or your business off on the wrong track for years – wasting many thousands of marketing dollars.
This article is written by The Dallas SEO Geek, the author of SEO Myths and Half-Truths.