Myth 26: Placing too many links per page can penalize you
Some people have been told that a certain number of links on a page can be bad for your rankings. For example, placing more than 100 links on your landing page will result in you being penalized by Google. While it is true that spamming links on a page is something you should not do, and the Google bot has ways to detect when a page is a link bait one, you should not be afraid to create pages with lots of links. As long as they are relevant and part of the normal navigation of your site, there will be no penalty.
Myth 27: Internal links don’t matter for SEO
Many people think only about backlinks, but internal linking is also important. If your site has bad internal navigation, Google will detect that, and could penalize you. Take the time needed to create good internal links and an easy-to-use navigation system for your site. This is something that is easy to do — you should not skip this step.
Myth 28: Facebook ‘likes’ or tweets are the No. 1 factor in SEO
Social media has taken a central role in how people find information on the Web today, and the signals sent by these sites are fed into search engines in real time. No modern business should ignore social media, simply because of the amount of time people spend on Facebook or Twitter. However, no one social site is the holy grail of SEO. Getting Facebook likes can be important, but not any more so than the many other techniques that can be used. While many people spend a lot of time on social networking sites, they do so mainly to talk to friends, not to buy products — so the benefit of a ‘like’ is still not as understood as the benefit of ranking well on Google. You should never ignore traditional SEO to focus solely on social media.
Myth 29: Keywords are no longer relevant
Sites used to be created with a paragraph at the bottom filled with keywords to attract more traffic using something called keyword stuffing. In recent years, knowledgeable marketers have realized this is no longer needed — in fact it is a practice that is heavily discouraged by search engines. However, this does not mean keywords are not still very important. While you should not use keyword stuffing on a page, getting a good percentage of your keywords in your actual text is still crucial. When someone looks for a specific term on Google, the number of times the keyword appears on your page is still heavily weighed.
Myth 30: Using bigger headers will improve your ranking
Header tags such as H1 or H2 do matter because search engines look at the layout of your site. You need to have headers that both make sense and contain your keywords so the search engine knows what the content is about. However, the size or style of these headers, such as which CSS arguments you use, do not matter because Google and other search engines are interested in the content and usability, not the artistic style.
Myth 31: Keywords have to be exact matches
It’s true that words have to match what people type into a search engine, however, there are arguments for using words other than your selected keywords. For example, most words have a lot of synonyms, and people often type in those synonyms. By using a larger selection of keywords, you can be sure to catch those searches as well. And, while keywords will lift your site up in the results, having a clever title, something people would want to click on, will gain more clicks than repeating a list of keywords.
Myth 32: PageRank does not matter anymore
When Google became the top search engine, PageRank became the No, 1 criteria every marketer went after. It used to be, and may still be, the input metric that affects a ranking the most, but the company has been clear many times that sites are ranked on hundreds of different metrics, not just PageRank. That is not to say PageRank has no relevance — you need to keep an eye on your PageRank as well.
Myth 33: Google Analytics can spy on people
Google Analytics is the most popular analytics software used by sites around the Web and, as a result, some people think they are being spied on. But Google has said many times no personal data is being transmitted using Analytics. Indeed, if you actually use this service on your own site, you can see the data you have access to is all anonymous.
Myth 34: You should finish your site before starting to worry about SEO
SEO can be thought of as a form of marketing. While most marketing efforts are made after a site is completed, there are steps you should take before. For example, you should make sure you have a good layout, good navigation, META tags, titles, and so on. All of these are part of SEO and should be done while you are building the site. Also, remember search engines can find your site as soon as it is live, so you want your SEO to be ready whenever Google first crawls it.
Myth 35: Buying links, likes or tweets will help your site rank better
There are a lot of sites selling Facebook likes, followers and so on. Often, those services seem quite cheap, such as 10,000 likes for $10. However, in most cases these are not worth the money. First, they are usually fake accounts, bots that simply mass follow for a price. They are not real people which means no one will see those social signals and, as a result, they will not increase your ranking. Worse, many sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google forbid these types of acts, and if you are discovered, you could be delisted.
Myth 36: Paid links always come from shady sites
In the case of bulk services, it is true that a lot of those paid links will come from shady sources, including bots or proxies. However, many reputable sites sell links as well, in the form of advertising or even preferential treatment. In those cases, you may have very legitimate links on high authority sites, and those can help your site rank better on search engines.
Myth 37: Google won’t find bad or spammy links
Some of the people who buy bulk links or who use automated methods to spam blog posts think Google will not find them and they will benefit from their black-hat practices. While individual bad links may not be discovered, the bigger risk is that the sites on which your links have been placed will be found and removed from the index, or that the actual algorithm will be modified to make those backlinks irrelevant. When that happens you may find a drastic change in your ranking.
Myth 38: You should not place too many outbound links
Some people think they should link to only a small number of outbound sites. There is only one case where linking to other sites can hurt you, and that is if you become part of a backlinks network for the sole purpose of raising your ranking. In that case, when one site is discovered, all of them may be hit. But in all other cases, Google and other search engines do not care how many outbound link you have, and there is no limit to how often you can link to other sites.
Myth 39: With good SEO you do not need PPC marketing
Some sites will spend a lot of time doing SEO and get great organic results, but even then PPC campaigns can be useful. Surveys show it often is not the same people who click on ads versus those who click on organic links, so it can be worthwhile to do both, if you have the money for it. Also, PPC links are guaranteed to cost you only when someone clicks. They also do not suffer from changes in algorithms like the Panda update.
Myth 40: You can manipulate search rankings
This is a myth many marketing sites attempt to promote: that they can somehow manipulate search rankings in a way that is outside traditional SEO. The whole point of SEO is to try to rank your better. If there was another method that actually worked, then by definition it would be part of SEO. The truth is, there is no magical way to manipulate search rankings, and usually when someone says they can, what they mean is that they will use black-hat ways to speed up your ranking. But using spam and other black-hat strategies mean your site is put at risk. You may have a boost now but pay for it later on.
Myth 41: A long domain name will rank better
Back when search engines used to look at the actual domain name for keywords, it was true that using a long domain name would help your site rank. However this has not been true in many years, and now your domain name should be chosen so that users will recognize your brand, not for SEO purposes.
Myth 42: Blog comment backlinks are always useful
There is lots of talk about leaving blog and forum comments as a way to increase your ranking. Several software tools also exist to do this automatically because this is the type of task that can be done by a bot very easily. There are two problems however. First, these backlinks will usually end up on low authority sites, and even if you add a lot of them, they will not help much. Worse, many blogs and forums add a tag called ‘nofollow’ which means any link you leave behind will not be taken into account at all by search engines.
Myth 43: .COM ranks always better than .NET or .ORG
Just like leaving a link on a .edu or .gov site does not automatically raise your ranking, using a .com does not help either, and is certainly not better than a .net or .org. Search engines do not take the domain extension into account when they rank sites. Instead, what matters is how much authority the site you leave a link on has. If you get a backlink from an important site, then it does not matter what domain extension it has.
Myth 44: Directory links don’t work anymore
Back before search engines were very sophisticated, most people would use directories to find sites. Yahoo had one of the most popular ones, and it is still used by some. Now, however, most marketers do not bother with directory links because they figure search engines are enough. But you have to remember that these directories can count as links as well. While the open directories are not very useful anymore, there are private or restricted directories that still operate in particular niches. If you find one and manage to get on it, this can be very powerful.
Myth 45: PageRank is the golden rule for SEO
When Google came out with PageRank, it instantly became the go-to metric for website owners. Since then, however, the search engine has varied the input signals it uses. While PageRank is still very important, it is far from the only metric. If you only focus on it, you will miss many good opportunities to get traffic. Instead, you need to use all of the facets of SEO.
Myth 46: More content is always better
Having good, quality content is one of the most important parts of having a successful site. If you can add content on a regular basis, then it helps you because you get more indexed content for people to find. However, adding more words for your articles just to have a better chance at appearing in rankings can be misleading. At some point, you run out of keywords and, if your content is long and boring to read, you may alienate your readers.
Myth 47: Articles are the best type of content
Articles are often seen as the best way to attract traffic, whether as blog posts on your own site or article marketing. But remember, your content will not be seen if no one knows it exist. While search engines will crawl your site, you still need to do basic SEO techniques to increase your traffic. While you should start with content, you cannot stop there.
Myth 48: Nofollow links are worthless
If you’ve experienced leaving backlinks on blogs or forums you may have found that many of them do not help your ranking because of the nofollow attribute. This is true, but that doesn’t mean all links that are nofollow are worthless. Remember, links have two uses: gaining ranking in search engines and leading people to your page. If you have a link in a prominent position on a popular site, then many people may see it and click on it, regardless of the fact that it has this hidden nofollow tag.
Myth 49: Google doesn’t like SEO
Because of how strict Google is and how it monitors SEO practices, some think that the company doesn’t like SEO. But this is not the case. All companies, big and small, optimize their sites. SEO is good because it helps people find relevant content. What search engines frown upon are black-hat techniques.
Myth 50: SEO is dead
Just like there are people who automatically assume that SEO is evil because of a few bad apples, others assume SEO is simply dead. It can be damaging to any online marketer, but it can also be easy to prove false. Simply looking at how large brands advertise, it is easy to see SEO is used everywhere. Companies spend millions of dollars tweaking their sites and online advertising campaigns because of SEO. So no, SEO is not dead and probably never will be as long as there are search engines.
About the author: Mikhail Tuknov is a president and founder of Internet marketing company Infatex.com, focused on helping businesses increase online sales, strengthening their overall brand and dramatically boosting website traffic through proven online marketing concepts, such as viral marketing, SEO, PPC and social media.