5 SEO Myths Debunked
Published: March 13, 2019
Search Engine Optimization is one of the most confusing marketing topics business owners will face when attempting to market their business digitally. Typing in “search engine optimization” or “SEO” into Google will reveal thousands of articles talking about this topic from the very basics to the extremely advanced, but in there you will also find the 5 SEO myths we are going to debunk in this article.
These are the 5 most asked about SEO myths we receive from our clients, so you can learn from them too before falling into the information trap.
Because Brands Do It, It Must Be Good
It is common on the internet for small businesses and small business marketing agencies to look to the large Fortune 500 companies for marketing advice. The belief is, that larger companies have more money to spend and are willing to try new things so if a marketing campaign works for them, then it should work for everyone.
This is simply not true. It is true that Fortune 500 companies have more money to spend on marketing, however they also lack the agility and experience that small business have, so they end up throwing their money at marketing campaigns that would be detrimental to their business if they were smaller.
Big brands don’t get penalized for bad SEO strategies like smaller businesses do because their website traffic is so high, meaning they are actually more likely to get it wrong over and over again.
Does having a white background with a bunch of links look like a great way to build SEO? Not for small businesses, this would actually be detrimental to a small business owners’ website, however I don’t think Berkshire Hathaway is worried.
Do you love the design of this Marathon Petroleum company website? Probably not! This is most likely a template and a slow one at that. This type of website would not make a small business a huge profit, however for a multi-million-dollar company like Marathon, it works just fine.
So, before you go to large brands to copy their tactics remember that big brand websites often use templates, their slow, they lack quality images and ultimately lack the strategy small businesses need to be successful.
Social Media Helps You Rank Higher
This a myth that Strategic Marketing companies have been trying to kill for years, but for some reason despite our best efforts it still lives on.
The argument is that if a small business shares a blog from there website to social media and then 20 people share that blog to their friends, now the website has 21 (20 people and you) links coming from the social media platform.
It would be wonderful if this was the way SEO works, but unfortunate it doesn’t. Any link added or shared on social media is tagged as a “no-follow link”. This is what Google has to say about “no follow links”.
"In general, we don't follow them. This means that Google does not transfer PageRank or anchor text across these links. Essentially, using nofollow causes us to drop the target links from our overall graph of the web. However, the target pages may still appear in our index if other site link to them without using nofollow, or if the URLs are submitted to Google in a Sitemap. Also, it's important to note that other search engines may handle nofollow in slightly different ways."
So, you’ve heard it straight from the horse’s mouth. Sharing your website all over social media does not have an effect on how your website is ranked through SEO, however its important to note that just because social media doesn’t affect SEO directly, it can still be vital to growing your business.
Social media done well can increase your websites exposer and in turn create website traffic. Actually, did you know that a website with 2 high-performing Social Media platforms, has a greater chance of achieving a boost in SEO than a website with 5 medium quality Social Media platforms. This not because of the links pointing to the website driving the SEO growth, it’s the content, the following and the overall sales approach a high-quality social media account can offer to growing a business.
In summary, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube apply “no follow” attributes to every link, including advertisements thus not creating SEO powered backlinks to websites.
Content is All You Need, Links Are Bad
It’s true, content is incredibly important to website growth, it’s the unique body that gives your website purpose. Content plays a huge part in how a web page ranks in Google and strong content is needed to improve an individual page’s rankings, however links (backlinks) are needed to strengthen the entire website.
Links or Backlinks are incoming hyperlinks from one webpage to another, giving the receiving webpage credibility.
In the diagram above, website B received a link from website A. By doing this, website A gave Website B a silent endorsement and what we call some “SEO Juice”. Getting enough SEO juice will help your website rank higher on Google, which is why it’s so important for small business owners to strengthen their websites with backlinks.
Speed Isn’t That Important
In Google’s July 2018 algorithm update they emphasized website loading speed as a key component to how they evaluate and rank websites. In short, Google cares how fast your website loads and they do so because their users don’t want to wait for a slow webpage to load.
In the July algorithm update, Google specifically stated that the they will measure the speed of a website based on mobile speed, not desktop speed. Why does this matter? Well, because websites typically load slower on mobile, actually up to 3-times slower.
Google “guidelines” state that websites should load in less than a second on desktop and less than three seconds on mobile phones. Websites that are built on WordPress out-of-the-box themes, hosted on international servers or contain complex code will find it very hard to meet this recent requirement.
Google cares about speed and if you want your website to rank higher, you should too!
YoastSEO and Other SEO Plug-in’s Work
If you have or operate a WordPress website, then most likely you have heard of YoastSEO. YoastSEO is a WordPress plug-in designed to help the small business owner achieve high SEO without having an SEO strategy. This is a mistake, SEO cannot be covered by any automated general plug-in, free or paid. This is because SEO is different by industry, website type and customer segment and it is always changing and evolving with time.
Above is a test performed by an example website who first had a WordPress template and then moved to a static platform. Overall, no matter what plug-in this website was using, the website ultimately performed better on a static platform, rather than a template.
Now, this is not to say that all WordPress, Wix and other CMS platforms are bad, however in order to reap SEO rewards, if you use this platform the website needs to be custom developed. Out-of-the-box templates will only slow you down in the long run, but that’s a discussion for another time.
Tom Duple, a WordPress SEO expert had this to say about YoastSEO. He says it does not directly improve SEO in any way! So if you don’t believe me, take it from a WordPress expert and create a SEO strategy or work with a company to address the SEO concerns of your website.