Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is simple to understand yet infinitely complex to apply. If you understand its core principles, you can do pretty well without dedicating all your time and effort to mastering it.
However, there is a ton of misinformation on the web about how it works. This is mostly due to Google’s lack of transparency about how their search engine works.
Some eager marketers looking to draw in traffic will sometimes make egregious claims on what you should worry about.
We’re here to set the record straight on 5 common myths in SEO.
1. Buying Google Ads Help Your Rank Better
Google Ads are the listings that show up above the organic search results. You have to pay a small amount of money each time someone clicks on those results, hence why it is referred to as pay-per-click (or PPC).
We’re not sure where this rumor began, but there are some that believe if you are running a Google Ads campaign, your organic results will improve.
This is not the case. You will get stronger results overall due to an increased web presence, but you cannot pay Google to improve your SEO.
2. Google Penalizes Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is when two or more sites have the same content. This can include words, images, or design.
Google is not a fan of duplicate content. They have made comment after comment on Twitter and other forums about how, if you can help it, you should avoid duplicate content.
However, there are parts to your website that you cannot help but duplicate . Are you a Toyota dealer? Well, guess what? You have the same Military Specials as every other Toyota dealer across the country.
Do you sell cars? Then you probably have a page on your website about those cars and it’s features.
But here’s the kicker: other companies sell cars too. Sometimes even the same cars as you!
Sarcasm aside, if you could get penalized for duplicate content, then almost all of the automotive industry would be penalized. Luckily for us, Google doesn’t do this.
Their official stance is if there are two pages with the same content, they will only show one of those pages. Just follow their advice on this page and you’ll do just fine.
3. Meta Descriptions Help You Rank Better
Meta descriptions are the text under the header (or meta title) on Google’s search engine results page (or SERP). Their primary role is to describe the page to help attract searchers to click on it.
Back in the wild west days of the web, search engine marketers would fill them with phrases to take advantage of search engines looking to rank pages on those phrases. This is called keyword stuffing.
The common misconception is this practice still works. We’d hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it does not. Meta descriptions (and meta keywords, for that matter) fell victim to abuse and have been deactivated as a major ranking factor.
Nowadays, Google has stated that it still wants marketers to use the meta description as a way to improve your click-through-rate (or CTR) rather than another area to write incredibly long-winded and robotic sounding keyword phrases.
4. Ranking is the Only Thing That Matters
SEOs refer to ranking as your placement on the SERP for relevant queries. If you type your store’s name into Google, you’d almost certainly be in the top spot. That means you rank first for that query.
When you hire an SEO company, they will almost certainly mention how they rank better than everyone else for keywords that you couldn’t dream on ranking. It’s a major selling point for a lot of companies.
But what if we told you that it wasn’t the end all be all? Or that most of the time, it doesn’t matter as much as other companies claim it to be?
Let’s pause for a moment and state that ranking is very important. You cannot just stop caring about ranking and hope to do well.
But ranking is not more important than generating leads. You need to be able to get back your ROI for your effort, and as great as ranking is, you can’t sell a car purely by ranking high.
Ranking one spot higher for very specific, targeted keywords that produce sales is more important than ranking #1 on a keyword that has nothing to do with selling cars.
So be sure to check with your SEO team when they start lauding how well you’re ranking. There’s a chance it might not be for anything that is going to help you.
5. SEO is Set It and Forget It
One of the most common questions we receive about SEO regards its longevity. “Once you optimize our site”, some ask, “what else is there to do?”
Quite a lot, actually.
Fixing core website issues and optimizing are only the beginning of a well thought out SEO strategy. You still have to produce content to support your core pages, update content, work on generating backlinks for that content, and so much more.
Generally, a good SEO strategy will employ a “Fix It -> Enhance It -> Expand It” philosophy. The last step has no end; you will never have the “perfect” site. So if you’re serious about improving your SEO results, buckle up and be ready for the long haul.
We hope this article served you well! If you’d like to know more about SEO services, check out our sister company FZA Digital to find out how we can help your website today.