Search engine optimization. We hear about its importance everywhere, we get spammed about it through our emails (even Google apparently needs help according to one spammer – read the hilarious email here!), and some of us believe it’s the be-all and end-all of digital media consumption. Unfortunately for all of those spammers, I’m here to dispel three of the most common myths I hear about search engine optimization.
Myth #1 – You have to use meta keywords, man!
In short, the answer is “no, you don’t.” Google stopped using meta keywords years ago, yet I meet many who believe investing their time (and sometimes money) into keyword research specifically for the purpose of creating meta keywords is a smart way to increase their search engine ranking. Take a look at this post from Matt Cutts at Google, if this doesn’t stop companies from placing emphasis on meta keywords then nothing will!
Myth #2 – Search engine optimization is dead, don’t bother.
“SEO is dead” is a sentiment I hear a lot now days. While it’s true that the digital world has changed in such a way that many SEO-specific firms are being pushed to the side while hybrid agencies take their place (in large part due to the way search ranking has evolved towards a content-favored ranking system), search engine optimization is definitely not dead. The techniques have just changed.
SEO is now more content-focused than ever before. Google wants to deliver all search users the highest quality content that is a perfect match for what they are looking for, with a high level of page authority. SEO’s current impact is in a whole other ballpark, so we won’t expand too much here. But it’s just important to remember, search engine optimization isn’t dead – it just got a makeover.
Myth #3 – The best way to grab a high search ranking is through pay-per-click
This one gets me every time. Yes, running a PPC campaign such as Google AdWords will bring you to the top of the first page on Google (providing your bid is high enough), but it is not a long term SEO solution. Search users are far more likely to click an organic (non-paid) link than a sponsored link. Why? Trust. The average search user knows how to identify the paid links vs organic links, and most of the time will go with the organic link, because of trust in two forms – one, they trust Google’s algorithm for ranking relevant pages, and two, they don’t trust paid links.