5 SEO Myths Debunked Once and For All

We’ve all heard SEO myths over the years—like SEO is dead or it guarantees your position on page one of search results. Truthfully, it can be challenging to debunk these myths about SEO—short for search engine optimization—because there are many perspectives and individual experiences that push these claims to the surface. 

The good news is, we can look to facts to reveal which claims about SEO are valid and which ones no longer need our attention. 

Let’s look at some of the SEO myths that, despite how much is written about them, are still just myths.

Master many facets of SEO including keyword research, technical SEO, link building, analytics, with the Search Engine Optimization training course.

SEO Myths: Totally Debunked

1. You’ll see results right away

This is one of the biggest misconceptions about SEO that we hear from clients. They are looking for a way to increase visibility for their websites quickly, and somehow they hear SEO is the answer. The truth is, it is a way to increase visibility, but it typically won’t happen fast. We frequently remind clients that search engine optimization is a long game and that the majority of pages don’t get to the top 10 results within a year. 

Ranking Performance

Source: Ahrefs

If you are looking for a way to get more immediate results on search engines, you may want to read this guide on PPC vs SEO

2. Keywords, title tags, and meta descriptions don’t matter.

Another big SEO myth that seems to make the rounds is keywords, title tags, and meta descriptions are irrelevant. Again, this is a myth that deserves debunking because there is significant value in these elements, even if they do not influence the ranking of your pages. 

Why are these three elements important for SEO? Keywords matter because they keep your content focused on the topic and, without keywords, there probably wasn’t any keyword research either—which means there is no way to know which search queries people are using on search engines. If you don’t target specific keywords with your content, then you could write high-quality content no one will ever see. 

Title tags and meta descriptions remain important for two reasons:

  • They tell search engines what your pages are about
  • They tell users what your pages are about and give you a chance to “sell” your pages using keywords, search intent, and calls to action.

So while the title tag and meta description may not be a ranking factor, they do affect your clickthrough rates, and clickthrough rates do affect SEO rankings.

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3. Backlinks are a thing of the past.

If you search for backlinks, you will no doubt come across several articles that either agree or disagree that backlinks are essential for SEO. The truth is, backlinks do affect your rankings in search engines. Depending on the quality of the site links are coming from, they can either impact you in a positive way or a negative one.

Here’s a handy infographic to help you determine the quality of a link:

Anatomy of a Link

Source: RSO

4. Longer content is the only way to rank higher.

There have been many articles written on the benefits of long format copy, mainly that it boosts your SEO performance. While some of these articles prove it through studies and tests, it is mostly based on anecdotal evidence rather than hard facts.

The truth about this SEO myth is there are plenty of pages with little written content that are sitting on page one of search results. Earning a high ranking depends on more than your content, and there are many other factors that determine the performance of a page.  

5. It’s what’s on the page that counts.

Our final SEO myth concerns the content you see on a website page, including the images, videos, text, links, and so forth. It’s true that what you see on the actual page does matter, but what’s happening off the page is even more powerful. This means any actions that are taking place on third-party websites can have a greater influence on your page rankings than the work you’re doing on your pages. 

Test your skills in search engine optimization and its nuances with the online SEO Quiz. Try answering now!

Learn More About Search Engine Optimization

Get up-to-date information on what matters in search engine optimization. Sign up for Simplilearn’s online SEO Training Course where you’ll learn how to master the many areas of SEO, including keyword research, technical SEO, link building, analytics, and more.

About the Author

Rob SandersRob Sanders

Rob Sanders is a digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience. During that time, Rob has helped a wide range of companies utilize new and emerging technologies to increase sales and profitability. As founder of RSO Consulting, Rob helps clients maximize their digital marketing efforts via SEO, SEM, SMO, and Web Analytics. He is responsible for many facets of the web analytics value chain, from identifying business goals and objectives to developing strategies and translating those into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Rob also teaches digital marketing and analytics classes throughout the U.S. and abroad. As a contributor for Simplilearn, Rob creates expert thought leadership content on a variety of digital marketing and analytics topics.

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