Why Grave Misconceptions About SEO Still Persist
Myths and misconceptions about search engine optimization just don't seem to go away. Columnist Jayson DeMers offers an explanation for why this is so and what SEO professionals can do about it.
SEO has been around for almost as long as search engines, but attitudes toward the industry and the specific tactics used by SEOs have remained in constant flux since the beginning.
Nevertheless, most of the fundamentals of SEO have remained consistent. Despite this consistency and the relatively predictable nature of gradual, iterative Google algorithm releases, misconceptions about the strategy still persist.
Two Types Of Misconceptions
If you break it down, there are two broad categories of misconceptions about SEO, each of which is damaging in its own way.
The first category is misconceptions about what SEO is and what it’s used for. Misconceptions here include:
- SEO is a strategy for spammers and scammers, using black hat tactics to manipulate rankings.
- SEO is expensive and unpredictable and has no real measurable ROI.
- SEO is a fad or a temporary strategy that isn’t worth pursuing in the long term.
- One wrong move in SEO can ruin everything you’ve worked for instantly and permanently.
Misconceptions in this category prevent people from pursuing the strategy altogether, and they indirectly weigh on the reputation of the industry.
The second category of misconceptions is related to the strategic execution of a campaign, such as:
- SEO is about including as many keywords as possible on your site.
- SEO requires you to build links everywhere you can (or never build links — both ends of the spectrum exist here).
- Creating more pages on your site will have a meaningful and direct influence on your rankings.
- If you work hard enough, you can earn a top ranking for any keyword in a few weeks.
These can be even more dangerous, since they influence real actions and can warrant a penalty if abused egregiously enough. Otherwise, they lead to very disappointed campaign executors who don’t see the results they think they will.
So why do all these misconceptions still persist, despite the overwhelming volume of content available explaining them away?