79 SEO Myths: A Comprehensive List of the Most Common Search Engine Optimization Misconceptions

In the ever-changing digital marketing industry, there’s no shortage of SEO myths, misconceptions, and misinformation. Sometimes there is a nugget of truth to these myths or they’re based on real information, albeit outdated. Other times, it’s just flat out incorrect. Regardless of its origin, these old wive’s tales can be damaging to your SEO program. Our comprehensive list of the 79 most common SEO myths can help you sort through what is real and what is not in the world of SEO. And be sure to check back frequently as we will be updating the list with new myths.

Page Content Myths

1. Your Meta Description Helps SEO

original on-page seo contentNope! Meta Description is not a ranking factor and does not directly affect your rankings. However, a compelling Meta Descriptions can improve Click-Through-Rate.

2. You Can Only Have One H1 Header

Part of the confusion here is that this used to be true 100 percent of the time. But with HTML5 it is acceptable to have multiple H1s, each addressing different topics, on a single page. And to do so without confusing the search engines.

3. Content is King, or All You Need to Succeed is Good Content

“Content is King” is thrown around so frequently, the phrase is practically meaningless. Content is incredibly important and is an essential part of your on-site SEO, but without a successful off-site SEO plan, no one will ever see your great content.

4. There is a Keyword Density Magic Number

Some marketers will tell you a keyword needs to appear on page a certain number of times or you have no chance of ranking for it. Although keyword density isn’t as important as it used to be, even back in the day there wasn’t a magic number you needed to hit on every single page to rank for a keyword. But particularly now, the rise of semantic search in recent years means hitting an ideal number of exact keyword instances isn’t necessary in order to rank for that keyword.

5. All Your Target Keywords Need to Appear in Your Title Tag

This is both unnecessary and might not even be possible without going over Google’s character limit. The Title Tag is important, and should include at least one keyword (preferably your primary keyword). But what’s even more important is having the Title Tag make sense to the user.

6. Be Sure to Put All Your Target Keywords (Plus a Few Branded Ones for Good Measure) in Your Meta Keywords

Meta Keywords haven’t been a ranking factor for years, and dumping as many keywords as you can in there won’t help your rankings (and maybe could even hurt them).

7. Including Alt Text with Every Image Has a Tremendous Impact on Your Site’s Rankings

Alt Text used to be important for SEO, but now they are not used to determine page relevancy, and using them explicitly for SEO can hurt rankings. It’s best to use the alt text to simply describe the image, thus improving user experience.

8. Any Page with Less Than X Number of Words is Thin Content, and Could be Penalized

Not every page needs to hit a magic word count number. In fact, a page with way more content than is necessary can hurt user experience, which can indirectly impact search rankings.

9. You Should Prioritize Your Pages, with a Primary Focus on Conversion Points

Obviously your Conversion Points are crucial, but by only focusing on this content, you’re ignoring the top of your funnel, and neglecting content that is designed to convince users to even reach your Conversion Points.

10. If Your Title Tag And Meta Description are Under X Characters, Google Won’t Change It

Although a webmaster can provide a Title Tag and Meta Description for a page, it doesn’t mean that Google will use this meta content in its Search results. Unfortunately, we’re at the whim of Google and the search engines when it comes to whether our not your recommended Title Tags and Meta Descriptions will be used. It’s important to observe the recommended character count, but Google may still decide it’s not relevant and replace it.

 

Client/SEO Agency Myths:

1. Anyone Can Do SEO:

This one is actually true. Anyone can learn SEO and figure out how to do it. But it takes years to master it, and the world of SEO is constantly changing. And as the misinformation addressed in this article proves, there are many ways to screw it up! We’re not saying you can’t learn how to do SEO, but we’re also saying it’s not easy.

digital marketing agency
Source: Flickr

2.We Can Make You Rank #1 in Google!”

Any SEO agency promising you a #1 ranking is not worth your time or money. Legitimate SEO’s don’t blindly guarantee listings. Next time someone says they’ll make you #1, run for the hills.

3. Don’t Pay for Search Engine Optimization, It’s a Rip-off!

Unfortunately there are SEO companies that you could classify as “rip-offs,” just as you’d find less than reputable vendors in most industries. But there are plenty of good SEOs out there who can back up there claims with real results. So how do you know you’re hiring a good agency? Look for transparency in their SEO strategy, and demand extensive and clear reports on their progress.

4. Doing Search Engine Optimization is Just a Bunch of Tricks

When done incorrectly, SEO can be a mish-mash of unrelated tactics. But when done right, it’s actually a well-thought out, client-specific strategic plan to help a client achieve their marketing goals.

5. SEO is Dead!!

There will be ways to optimize your content to ensure that the right audience is finding your site. Yes, SEO tactics will come and go, but as long as there are search engines, the concept of SEO will never die.

6. SEO is “Set It and Forget It”

A big part of an SEO strategy is conducting tests and making data-driven decisions. You’re not going to implement your optimized content and then immediately shoot to the top of the rankings for all your desired keywords and stay there for all time. SEO is all about pivoting. It’s dealing with changing algorithms. It’s dealing with a changing landscape, as competitors try to nudge their way ahead of you in the rankings. If you optimize your site once without making adjustments, your SEO campaign will likely fail.

7. What’s the Secret Sauce of SEO?

The secret sauce is a mixture of ketchup and Thousand Island dressing. Okay seriously, there’s no one “secret sauce” tactic that will turn your small-time blog into an overnight organic traffic machine. SEO is a labor-intensive, time-consuming process. I suppose you could say persistence and patience is the secret sauce of SEO, if you must.

8. Your IT Team/Content Team Can Handle Your Site’s SEO

A Search Engine Optimization professional works closely with the IT team and content managers, but they’ve all got different skill sets. If your IT person has never launched a successful SEO campaign, don’t assume they can just read a few blog posts and will be able to optimize your site.

9.My Tiny Business Can’t Compete in the Search Rankings with Bigger Competitors

Actually, you can! SEO is more like traditional marketing in that you need to know how to identify and pursue business opportunities. Just as your business manages to find a way to compete with the bigger competitors offline, the same thought needs to be applied to your online strategy. Admittedly, there are certain opportunities where a big business will always win thanks to their huge budget, but in SEO you can uncover new opportunities that a big business has not yet found.

10. “I Can Just Buy Links”

Depends on what you mean by “buy links.” If you’re talking about buying hundreds of backlinks from an anonymous person on Fiverr, then don’t do that. Those links are almost definitely useless and possibly harmful to your site. However, you may be talking about sponsoring an event or local organization, and asking that organization to link to you. This is an acceptable marketing tactic, as you’re not explicitly sponsoring the organization for the link, and as their sponsor, they would naturally link back to you. And to call this “buying a link” undermines the overall marketing value of this tactic. So moral of the story: DON’T pay a company to create hundreds of links to your site form meaningless or even fake domains, DO do good in your community and industry and earn natural backlinks for your efforts.

11. All Automated SEO Software is the Work of the Devil

While some hardliners think you should never even think about automated software for fear of Google releasing the Kraken on you, there are some instances where automation makes sense and is perfectly acceptable. Just consider this when deciding to automate some of your SEO work: If it feels like spam, you shouldn’t be doing it.

12. SEO Takes Too Long

This depends on your goals and if they are realistic. Also, your definition of “long.” Compared to Paid Search, which can be up and running almost immediately, yes. But where Paid Search is a sprint, SEO is a marathon. And a little patience goes a long way. Remember to keep your goals in perspective when coming up with your SEO strategy.

13. SEO is Way too Expensive

SEO is as expensive as you want it to be. You can usually find an SEO professional who can work with your budget (there are many SEOs sho work specifically with small businesses). However, if you can’t spend too much, you need to curb your expectations.

14. I Don’t Need SEO, I Do PPC (Paid Search)

If you have to choose one of the other, in some industries it makes more sense to invest in PPC over SEO. But keep in mind that SEO and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) operate in very different ways. PPC can give you immediate results, but the great thing about SEO is that you can still see the benefits of your hard work even when you’re not actively doing SEO. With PPC, your ads stop appearing as soon you stop coughing up money. SEO and PPC are much better when they’re working together. For instance, you can use data from SEO to inform your PPC campaign, and vice versa. You can also use SEO to rank for keywords you can’t afford to buy, and can buy keywords you can’t seem to “win” in SEO.

 

Google Urban Legends:

1. SEOs Are in a Constant Battle with Google and the Other Search Engines

Admittedly, there are times when it feels like Google is trying to force marketers and small businesses into using Adwords (their PPC platform) by making SEO success harder to come by. But more often than not, SEOs are not constantly locking horns with Google and Google is not trying to undermine them at every opportunity. The ultimate goal of an SEO is to help a website reach its right audience, which often means making adjustments based on Google’s search algorithm. We both want the same thing: For users to find quality content relevant to their search.

google homepage
Source: YouTube

2. Algorithm Updates Are All About Impeding SEOs

This is partially true in that Google is trying to stop bad SEO, known as “Black Hat.” So there have been algorithm updates designed to specifically to stop spammers. But the algorithms are mainly Google’s attempt to get even better at showing searchers the desired results. And they want to avoid searchers finding sites that aren’t relevant because someone found a way to cheat the system. So yes, if you’re the type of bad SEO who is always creating thin content or pushing out thousands of blog comment links, then Google is constantly working to stop you.

3. If You Use Google Analytics/Search Console/Adwords, Google Will Spy on You!

You can put your tinfoil hat away, as Google is not spying on you through your Google Analytics account. At least as far as you know…just kidding….or am I???

4.Running Ads in Google Will Automatically Make You Rank Better in Organic Results

This myth has been around for years and the answer is always the same – no, Google is not boosting organic rankings of those who are advertising with them. Paid Search has zero impact on organic rankings. Think of it like this, if Google’s goal is to make the Search results as accurate as possible, why would they allow anyone to rank higher solely because they’re paying a few extra dollars?

5. New Content Must Always Be Submitted to Google in Order to Rank

This is another one that has a nugget of truth to it. Although you should submit a sitemap outlining all of your website URLs to the search engines, this has nothing to do with improving rankings (more on that in a bit). You don’t need to submit new content to Google in order to get it indexed. Google will eventually crawl and index your content on its own. You can expedite the indexation process by tweeting your new content or sharing it on Google+, as these are two of the most frequently crawled sites on the Web. But whether you do that or you do nothing, your new content will get indexed.

6. You Need to Drastically Update Your Site for the Big Google Algorithm Update that is Coming Soon!

Whenever there’s a new algorithm update on the horizon, you’ll see a slew of doom and gloom articles implying that you need to drastically change your site before it’s too late. While for some of us this is true, for most of us the algorithm updates are related to changes you’ve likely already made to your site. For instance, if it took a Google Algorithm update for you to realize your site should be mobile-friendly, then you’ve got bigger problems than you may realize.

7. Google Has Just a Few Algorithm Updates Every Year

You might only be familiar with the major updates, like Penguin and Pigeon, but Google actually has roughly 500-600 algorithm updates every year.

8. Google AdSense Helps (or Hurts) Your Rankings

Similar to using AdWords, AdSense (which allows publishers to showcase third-party ads on their site) does not help or hurt rankings.

 

Technical SEO Myths

1. Submitting Your Sitemap to Bing and Google Will Improve Your Search Rankings

The official word from Google is that submitting your sitemap does not affect your rankings, however it can lead to increased visibility in Google’s index. But sitemap submission is not a ranking factor.

google webmaster tools
Source: YouTube

2. Google Can’t Crawl JavaScript

It used to be the case that plain text HTML was preferable to JavaScript for SEO purposes, as Google could not crawl Java. But it appears Google is now capable of crawling and indexing some JavaScript and dynamically generated content. Still, some experts recommend putting your most important content in normal HTML.

3. Click-Through-Rate is One of the Most Important Ranking Factor

Not only is Click-Through-Rate not an important ranking factor, but it’s not a ranking factor at all. An improvement in CTR can correlate with an improvement in other metrics that are ranking factors (for instance, a higher CTR means more traffic, and more opportunities for social shares and backlinks), but improving your CTR will not directly improve your rankings.

4. If Your Site Isn’t Mobile Friendly, This Will Impact your Mobile Rankings and Your Desktop Rankings

Your mobile-friendliness has no impact on your desktop rankings…for now. That isn’t to say it will never affect your desktop rankings.

5. 301 Redirects Will Kill Your Link Juice

A 301 permanent Redirect passes between 90-99 percent of the original URLs link juice. Some have also said 301s pass full link value, but either way, 301 redirects will maintain most or all of the original sites link value. And it’s way better than losing all the juice by not redirecting at all.

6. 302 Redirects Never Pass Link Juice

Actually, 302 temporary Redirects do pass link juice.

7. A High Bounce Rate is (Always) Really Bad

That depends. Usually a high bounce rate on the homepage or a services page isn’t ideal. But what about a page that features a dynamic form? Perhaps users are finding the information they need, filling out the form, and leaving the site. Sometimes a high Bounce Rate is just fine. And remember, Bounce Rate isn’t a ranking factor, so if you see a page with a 90 percent + Bounce Rate, don’t panic about the SEO implications. But do try to find out why people are leaving. It may even be a case of the keywords you’re ranking for aren’t appropriate for the content of the page, so the page isn’t giving searchers what they’re after.

8. User Experience Isn’t Important for SEO

If all you’re worried about is the Search engines and not the users, you’re doing SEO wrong. Although engagement metrics like Bounce Rate aren’t direct ranking factors, a page with a high bounce rate is unlikely to generate backlinks. And thanks to the Panda Algorithm update, Google is able to determine what low-quality content is. So if you’ve got spammy content stuffed with keywords, the Search engines will know, and rank your page accordingly.

9. Too Many Do-Follow Links is Bad For Your Website

This is an odd myth. This one likely stems from the importance of occasionally pruning your backlink profile and removing low-quality links. As well as making sure that you have a diverse, natural link profile. But there is no issue with having too many high-quality, do-follow backlinks.

10. Having Rich Snippets/Schema Markup Will Directly Improve Your Rankings

Similar to submitting a sitemap, it seems that rich snippets only help search engines parse and index your site content. There is no evidence that rich snippets or schema markup impact your site rankings.

11. Domain Age is Crucial/Older Sites Always Rank Higher

Domain Age is a factor, but it is really insignificant, particularly compared to more important factors like quality content and backlinks.

12. Websites Sharing the Same Hosting Will Affect Each Other’s Rankings

Generally speaking, this is not an issue. Which means there is no need to change up your IP address. Two sites on the same C-Block do not impact each other’s rankings.

13. The Disavow Tool Simply Doesn’t Work

While the Disavow Tool generally does its job of telling Google what spammy backlinks in your profile that it should ignore, it doesn’t mean that using it will automatically fix your site issues.

14. Robots.txt will Make Absolutely Sure Your Content is Not Crawled and Indexed

Just because you list a URL under a robots.txt file, Search engines may still crawl and index the page. It’s best to also add a “noindex” tag just to be safe.

15. Exact Match Domains Are Crucial to SEO Success

It used to be possible to setup an exact match domain (meaning your domain name contains your target keywords) and you could practically rank for that keyword overnight. However, that simply doesn’t work anymore. In 2012, Google released its Exact Match Domain update, a filter that penalizes poor quality sites with EMDs. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t rank for a keyword if it appears in your domain; simply that it’s not necessary to do so, and it is not possible to do so if you have thin site content.

16. Having a Dedicated IP Can Impact Your Rankings

Generally speaking, a dedicated IP is not something you need to worry about, and it will not affect your SEO performance.

17. Internal Links Need to Use Exact Match Anchor Text

Exact Match keywords and anchor text just aren’t as important as they used to be. Besides anchor text (the importance of which has been greatly diminished) Google will look at a number of different factors, including the context of the link and the relevancy of the link. There is also some evidence that too many exact match anchor text links could seem unnatural, thus drawing a penalty.

18. Internal Links Don’t Pass Link Juice

Actually, internal links help tell the Search engine spiders what content is most important, and can help spread link juice throughout your site.

 

Linkbuilding Myths

1. Linking Out to Other Sites Will Boost Your Site’s Rankings

If it were true that you could simply boost your rankings by linking to other sites, then an SEOs job would be very easy. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

2. If you Pay to Get a Link on A Website, Google Will Definitely Penalize You

That all depends. If you’re paying strictly to get a link from someone, yes, this could result in a penalty. But what about a link on a Better Business Bureau website? You do pay an annual fee to appear on their site (among other things). The point is, while many pay-for-play link schemes are bad, don’t discount it immediately just because money is changing hands.

linkbuilding myths
Source: Wikipedia

3. Any Link, Even Ones That Don’t Send Traffic, Are Helpful

A good rule of thumb for link building – Is this link actually going to be useful to anyone? While this isn’t always the case, if you think there’s no chance that a link could send referral traffic, it’s unlikely that the link will have much of an impact on organic rankings.

4. NoFollow Links are Useless – Offer No Value to SEO

Besides the value of referral traffic, nofollow links create a more diverse backlink profile, and can even lead to some do-follow links. Plus, there are some SEOs who believe that nofollow links do pass some link juice.

5. “My Site Can Rank in Google without Links”

No, it cannot. And here’s the study to prove it.

6. Link Building is Dead

As long as links are still used as a ranking factor, optimizing your website’s link profile will always be necessary. And as of now, links are still used as a ranking factor.

7. Links Are the Most Important Factor in SEO Rankings

Links are essential to SEO success, but to say it’s the most important ranking factor is simply not true. For one, most SEOs would agree that on-site, foundational work (such as content and technical optimization) should be completed before any link building occurs. Second, consider that while Google emphasizes backlinks, Bing and Yahoo put more of an emphasis on content when determining their rankings.

8. Any Kind of Link Building You Do Will Get you Penalized

Some have made the argument that, since Google only wants websites to acquire links naturally (i.e. users find your content on their own then link back to you), any sort of active role you take in link building puts you at risk for an organic rankings penalty. But you need backlinks to improve your rankings so people can actually see your website. So if you aren’t actively marketing your website and your content and you can’t rank without backlinks, how are you ever going to get people to see your content where they would link to it in the first place? Additionally, a “natural” link and a link that you as a marketer had pursued are not mutually exclusive. For example, a link building campaign will usually leverage offline relationships to gain links. Now, it’s natural that these offline partners would link to you, however, you may need to take an active role in getting them to link to you. Some degree of so called “unnatural” link building is necessary and so long as you remain within Google’s guidelines, you should not be hit with any manual penalties.

9. SEO isn’t Necessary If You Do Link Building

Here’s the thing: link building is SEO. If you’re doing link building, you are doing SEO. And link building is a necessary element of any good SEO program.

10. Link Building Has Nothing to Do With Offline Relationships

As you start your link building campaign, you may be surprised to learn how similar it is to offline marketing and sales. This is where the line between digital and traditional marketing begin to blur. Link building actually has a whole lot to do with traditional marketing and leveraging offline relationships.

11. Only Spammers Do Link Building/Google Hates People Who Do Link Building

Google isn’t mad at SEOs, they’re just disappointed. Ok, real answer – Google doesn’t hate SEOs, they hate spammers who try to game the system. Google’s ultimate goal is to serve the user the most relevant possible content for their query. A good SEO’s ultimate goal is to improve your client’s online performance, which is usually done by creating content that is most relevant to your target audience. Considering this, Google and your average white-hat SEO have more in common than most realize.

12. I Have a PR Department, So I don’t Need to Do Link Building

An SEO team will often times work closely with the PR team (as well as the social, IT, and traditional marketing teams), and much of what is done in PR will look very similar to what is done in Search Engine Optimization. While there are some PR professionals who are capable of doing SEO, it doesn’t mean all of them know how to do it.

13. Link Building is Easy

If link building is so easy for you, then we want to hire you! The thing is, link building is a labor intensive job. Your success rate is going to be very low. Some clients may have an easier time earning links (particularly clients with high brand awareness), but link building comes down to being patient and identifying opportunity. If it all seems too easy, then maybe you should reevaluate the types of links you’re earning.

14. Links Will Someday Soon No Longer Be Important for Search Rankings

Links are, and will be continue to be, an important factor in Search engine rankings. Google actually experimented with a version of its Search engine that does not use backlinks as ranking factors. Needless to say, it did not go well.

 

Inbound Marketing/Social Media Myths:

How Content Marketing Interacts with Social Media and SEO
Source: Flickr

1. SEO isn’t Necessary If You Do Content Marketing

It all depends on why you’re doing content marketing. Are you trying to drive more traffic to your website? Want to increase brand awareness? Increase conversions? If you want to achieve any of these goals, your content marketing will have to feature some components of SEO.

2. Press Releases No Longer Offer Any SEO Value

Press releases are another tactic that was abused so badily by blackhat SEOs, that it was necessary for Google to take action. While publishing a self-promotional backlink on a PR newswire-type website won’t offer any value, creating optimized, news-worthy press releases can still have an impact on your rankings.

3. Social Signals (Shares, RTs) Will Directly Improve My Rankings:

Similar to Engagement Metrics, the official word from Google is that social signals do not have a direct impact on rankings. However, there is a correlation between better rankings and social signals, but this is likely because the type of content that earns Facebook shares is also the content that will earn backlinks.

4. Content Marketing Ends When Your Content is Published

As the cliché goes, “Content is King.” Some misinterpret the phrase to mean “all you need is good content.” However, there are plenty of examples of great content that goes completely unnoticed. The reality is, after your content is published, your job has just begun. You need to do outreach to make sure your content gets in front of the right people. This is the “marketing” part of “content marketing.”

5. You Company Needs to Be on Every Social Network

Just because a billion or so people are on Facebook, it doesn’t mean your business needs to be. Same goes for Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, and just about any other social network. Depending on your audience, not every social network will be a good fit. For instance, a B2B company that is not highly visual should probably be on LinkedIn but not Pinterest. You should also consider how much effort you can put into maintaining each social profile, and prioritize accordingly.

6. Everyone, Even B2B Companies, Need Content

Well, maybe not. Obviously optimized website content is absolutely necessary for your internal pages, but does every single company need a  blog, infographics, social pages, videos etc.? In some verticals there are much better ways for you to spend your money than content marketing.

7. Guest Posts Don’t Work Anymore

Guest Post Blogging (or Blogger Outreach) is a tactic in which a writer offers an article to a publisher in exchange for brand exposure, referral traffic, and possibly a backlink. Like many SEO tactics, Guest Blogs had been thoroughly abused to the point where Google had to step in. Google takes issue with guest bloggers who create thin content strictly for the purpose of earning a link. Many in digital marketing took this to mean that blogger outreach is a dead tactic. As Google’s Matt Cutts put it, “stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done.” However, Cutts clarifies this broad generalization by stating that “there are certainly reasonable and valid reasons to consider a guest post.” So which is it? The truth is, just like with press releases, it still can be effective when done right. Blogger Outreach should be used as a marketing tactic, not strictly to earn a backlink. Assuming you’re creating great content and getting it published on relevant websites, Blogger Outreach will continue to be effective.

8. More Traffic=More Conversions

Everyone wants more traffic. But as an SEO, this can’t be your end goal. You likely can increase traffic to your website by targeting any number of high volume keywords, but are those keywords likely to convert users? The real goal should be to get more qualified traffic, even if it’s smaller doses of it.

 

Keyword Research:

Google Keyword Research Planner Tool
Source: YouTube

1. Search Volume is the Most Important Factor in Choosing Target Keywords.

Arguably Search Volume is the second most important factor when choosing target keywords. You should first consider how relevant the keyword is to your website and your audience. You’ll want to target keywords that people actually use, but it’s important to remove ambiguity in your target keywords to ensure you’re reaching the right people.

2. Exact Match Keywords in Content is the Best Way to Rank for Those Keywords

This used to be strictly true, but because of Google’s understanding of semantic search, there’s less of an emphasis on targeting an exact keyword and more of an emphasis on understanding the intent and meaning behind the keywords your audience uses….

3. Google’s Recent Update Has Made Keyword Research Irrelevant.

…but some have taken this emphasis on semantics to mean that keyword research is no longer important. However, as this list should demonstrate, the world of SEO isn’t so black and white. Keyword research is not dead and it will always be important to know the search vernacular of your target audience, but your research does need to adjust based on Google’s updates.

4. “I Absolutely Need to Rank for [INSERT MYSTICAL, HOLY GRAIL KEYWORD]”

Odds are there isn’t one magical keyword that you need to rank for in order to succeed online. Consider how you yourself search – you likely use several different types of keywords to find a particular service or product. And even when you know what you’re looking for, there are many variations of that single keyword.

5. Head Terms are Most Important

Head terms or “stem terms” are the basic, general terms that users would normally use when they begin their search. The head term is then modified as users figures out more information on what they are trying to find. These modified terms are called “long-tail.” For example, a head term would be “Chinese food.” A long tail version of that would be “vegetarian Chinese food restaurants downtown.” Head terms will usually have high Search volume, but they aren’t necessarily the most relevant, and therefore not necessarily the most important. For example, if you are a vegetarian Chinese food restaurant downtown, then ranking for “Chinese food” when searched by someone looking for orange beef in the suburbs doesn’t help you.

6. Anecdotal Evidence Trumps All Other Data

This is something that usually comes from clients, but unfortunately some marketing people will use anecdotal evidence when more accurate data is available. As an example, a client may insist that a product X should be promoted more heavily on their website, because they’ve had several of their customers tell them they love product X. However, the website data conclusively demonstrates that product Y is much more popular than product X. It may seem obvious that product Y should be more heavily promoted, but to a client, they may (albeit mistakenly) put more stock in the two-to-three people who say they love product X versus the dozens of conversions driven by product Y. On the flip side, anecdotal evidence should not be completely discounted either. It can be very valuable. But it should not be making big business decisions in the face of overwhelming empirical evidence.

 

There you have it! Our big list of SEO myths and misconceptions. Are there any SEO myths that we missed? Add them in the comments below!