4 SEO Myths You Should Ignore – And What to Do Instead
It’s easy to fall victim to all the search engine optimization (SEO) myths circulating on the web. From keyword stuffing to buying backlinks, misinformation and false promises are far too common in the world of SEO. With all the buzz around quick solutions and boosted rankings, you might get distracted from the main goal of SEO: To drive more visitors to your website through useful, quality content.
Some SEO misconceptions are pretty believable, but we’re here to set the record straight and debunk these four common SEO myths.
Myth: You must use exact-match keywords.
Reality: Use keywords naturally to rank better.
One of the most common misconceptions about keyword strategy is that your keywords must be an exact match, repeated verbatim throughout a piece of content. In reality, you’ve probably noticed that some keywords fit easily into your content, while others feel a bit forced.
Repeating exact match keywords makes your writing sound awkward and repetitive. Instead, make sure keywords (or key phrases) fit naturally into your content so readers aren’t even aware of them. Google is continually mastering semantic search, which allows the search engine to understand which pages show up on the SERP, even if its keywords aren’t an exact match to the query.
At the end of the day, your content is for humans – not search engines – and your writing should reflect that.
Myth: Duplicate Content hurts your search rankings.
Reality: It’s normal for most sites to have some duplicate content.
It’s pretty difficult for any website to have entirely unique content on every page. For example, your website might repeat an FAQ section or important tour policy information on several pages. Don’t worry too much about getting penalized, as Google’s John Mueller has stated that it’s normal for sites to have a certain level of duplicate content.
Now, before you go on a copy and paste spree, keep this in mind: When multiple pages with a significant amount of duplicate content exist, Google may choose to omit them from search results. So although you won’t get penalized, if you intended for the omitted page to rank, you must write unique content in order to get page views.
Myth: You should never use pop-ups.
Reality: Pop-ups work when used correctly.
You may have heard that pop-ups negatively impact your site’s ranking. But that’s not a blanket statement. In fact, that’s typically only the case for websites using excessive pop-ups that completely block page content or impede a site visitor’s ability to access page content on mobile.
Pop-ups like banners and slide-ins that don’t disrupt the mobile user experience are acceptable. As a general rule of thumb, if users don’t have to dismiss or close the pop-up before being able to access the main page content, it’s okay to use it.
Myth: Social signals boost search rankings.
Reality: Social media engagement is important – but not to improve your rankings.
There’s a popular SEO myth out there that says social signals – a webpage’s collective likes, shares, and social media visibility on the SERP – have the ability to improve your search rankings.
While it’s true that building a presence on social media can help drive users to your website, social signals alone are not a ranking factor. This is due in part to the dishonest practice of buying followers and likes. Google recognizes that this is not a legitimate way to drive page views, so even though individual pages can appear in its index, they won’t impact your rankings.
It can be frustrating if you’re just starting out on social media and trying to grow a following, but these things take time. When you interact in a natural way with your target audience, they’re more likely to share your content. Try one of these social media contests to boost your engagement!
Did you fall for any of these SEO myths?
If so, you’re not alone! As a general rule of thumb, if a tactic seems too easy – like simply repeating keywords over and over – it’s likely one you should avoid.
Rest assured, you can always find the latest SEO tips in our FareHarbor Compass SEO guides.