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SEO is still a mystery in a lot of ways, and to many people. The fact that the parameters seem to change all the time doesn’t make it any easier to keep up with. But there are some concerns I hear quite often that I think are worrying people needlessly — in other words myths.  Here are 5 popular untruths about SEO.

“SEO is all about ranking #1 on Google”

Myth: Many believe that SEO success solely revolves around securing the top position in search engine results.

Let’s face it, everyone can’t be #1. And ranking #1 organically doesn’t mean you’re at the top of the page. Depending on your niche, there will most likely be ads at the top, then Google Business Pages, then possibly some image galleries — then the organic listings start. So first isn’t really first. In the first few, though, is something to shoot for. While ranking high is valuable, SEO success is more nuanced. It’s about attracting relevant traffic and providing value to users. Search engines are going to take into account user intent, user experience, and the diversity of search results (e.g., featured snippets, knowledge panels) before deciding where to show your website.  So don’t sweat the numbers too much. Take advantage of the some of the other tools that Google provides to get you noticed, even if you’re not #1. The Google Business page is one that, even if you’re not a local business, it’s important to have, and to keep up to date with updates on services, blog posts and photos. Think of it as a social media account without the reels and stories. But you can still get those messages across in updates that are likely to impress Google when your keywords are searched, and get your business visibility, even if you aren’t ranking #1 or #2.

“Meta Tags and Keywords are the Most Important Factors”

Myth: Some believe that stuffing meta tags and keywords throughout a webpage significantly impacts rankings.

While meta tags and keywords are important for SEO, their impact has diminished compared to content quality, relevance, user experience, and site authority. Search engines prioritize content that addresses user intent, provides value, and maintains readability.

The meta title should be distinguished here from the meta description. Meta titles should contain keywords that search engines can pick up on. Meta descriptions are more for the benefit of the searcher. That means that they are both equally important, but for different reasons. I’ve found that in recent months, Google has become almost obsessed with user intent. If Google things the query is intended to be informational (just looking for info), it may or may not present your listing in the search results. If it does, look for the meta description used. It might be the one you wrote, but more likely, it will be text picked up from the page that Google feels is more relevant to the intent.

“SEO is Set it and Forget It”

Myth: Another misconception is that SEO is a one-time task—implement it once, and the job is done.

SEO is an ongoing process that requires continuous optimization, monitoring, and adaptation to changes in algorithms, user behaviour, and market trends. Regular updates to content, technical aspects, and link building are essential for maintaining and improving search rankings. That means you’re going to be scrutinizing all the tools you have at your disposal to provide the most accurate information possible – SEO tools like Ubersuggest.com and SEMRush.com are indispensable if you are monitoring SEO of a website. You’re also going to be going through Google Analytics and Google Search Console with a fine tooth comb at least every month.

It sounds dry, but it can actually be fascinating to see the variations in performance of different keywords, month to month. And it can be extremely gratifying when they climb the rankings!

“Backlinks Quantity Matters More Than Quality”

Myth: There’s a belief that having a high volume of backlinks, regardless of quality, leads to better rankings.

Quality matters more than quantity when it comes to backlinks. While having diverse backlinks is beneficial, quality, relevance, and authority of linking domains are crucial. High-quality backlinks from authoritative, relevant sources have a more significant impact on SEO than numerous low-quality links.

There is also a myth that you can get great traction from backlinks by going straight for high domain authority links – in other words, from zero to 60. Unfortunately, this doesn’t look natural to the search engines, so it’s better to actually start your backlinks campaign by getting backlinks from low to mid range domain authority websites. Then move up to the higher authority sites as your credibility rises.

“SEO is Manipulative and No Longer Effective”

Myth: Some perceive SEO as manipulative or outdated due to constant search engine algorithm changes.

I guess when you really look at it – yes, it’s a manipulation. Sort of. The bottom line is that all the tactics and tweaks that we do to gain the attention of the search engines is nothing more than providing better and better content for our potential customers. SEO has evolved but remains a vital and effective strategy. It’s about providing valuable, relevant content and optimizing websites for user experience, not just tricking search engines. Ethical SEO practices focusing on quality content, user satisfaction, and technical optimization continue to provide sustainable results. The bottom line here is, even if it’s sort manipulative, the end result is always a better experience for the user. And we can’t argue with that.

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