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Myths of SEO from the best Authors


How did I increase my search traffic by 13.15% in just 30 days?

I followed a proven plan, tapped into a hungry market, created in-depth content that’s backed up by stats and data, solved a definite problem and promoted the blog posts. This strategy seems so basic, but that’s how to win at SEO.

The reality is that search traffic converts 9% better than social media traffic. But, in order to get it, you have to stop believing in some myths.

These SEO myths tend to keep hardworking content marketers and bloggers from improving their search traffic and rankings.

Some SEOs claim they’re affiliated with Google. That’s a big myth, because Google doesn’t disclose who their SEO partners and affiliates are. So, if an SEO consultant or agency promises you top rankings for the “low” price of $499 per month, that’s a SCAM. No one can guarantee top Google rankings.

Without further ado, here are the 17 SEO myths that you should ignore. I’ve also provided tips on what advice you should follow.

Download this printable checklist to stay away from these SEO myths.

 In no particular order, the myths are:


1. Keyword targeting became irrelevant after Google Hummingbird

Hummingbird changed the future of search. It prompted content producers to adopt a new mindset that will benefit the end-user. If keywords are still showing on Google’s first page, it’s an indication that they still matter.

According to Matt Cutts, Head of the WebSpam Team at Google, 90% of searches were predicted to be impacted by Hummingbird, which wasn’t an update like Panda and Penguin, but rather a total revamp of the search algorithm.

Hummingbird Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz, said that less than 15% of the ranking equation is wrapped up in keyword targeting. Instead, he suggested focusing on offering unique value, rather than unique content, which is what SEOs tried to achieve before.

However, it would be wrong to say that targeting relevant keywords in your content is no longer useful at all.

Keyword research and targeting have actually become easier, because with Hummingbird.  You don’t have to worry about obeying a certain keyword ratio. Instead, focus on searcher intent.

For example, why would someone search for “small business CRM tool”?

Does the person want to buy a CRM tool?
Is the person looking to read some honest reviews?
Is the searcher a beginner who doesn’t even know what CRM stands for?

What the Hummingbird algorithm change really did was stress to us the importance of knowing the reason behind a particular keyword and creating content to meet that need.

This means that keywords are still important, because without them, you can’t know the searcher’s intent.

Several authority platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and others, rely on keyword targeting to meet users’ needs.

It’s almost impossible to find exactly what you’re looking for, except by using keywords to search. According to Brian Dean, “Keywords are like a compass for your SEO campaigns; they tell you where to go and whether or not you’re making progress.”

2.  Having an XML sitemap will boost your search rankings

Have you installed the Google XML Sitemaps generator on your WordPress site? Can a sitemap boost your search rankings? In the ranking factors below, you won’t find XML sitemaps anywhere.

But, a XML sitemap is necessary, if you want to build a crawlable site. Each time you create a new post or edit an existing post, the Google XML sitemaps generator will create an updated sitemap with your new pages and submit it to Google and other search engines.
Casey Henry experimented with sitemaps to find out whether they can boost search rankings. What he found surprised him.

When he installed the Google XML sitemaps generator on a client’s website, it took an average of 14 minutes for Google to index new pages.

Before he installed the sitemaps generator, it took 1,375 minutes.

So, we know that an XML Sitemap helps search engines to crawl and index fresh pages faster. But, does it improve search rankings?

Well, way back in 2008, Trevor Foucher and Susan Moskwa of the Webmaster Tools Team spoke as part of the Sitemaps Panel at Search Engine Strategies in Chicago. One of the many questions they were asked was, “Will a sitemap help me rank better?”

Here’s Trevor’s answer: A sitemap truly doesn’t affect the actual rankings of your web pages. Sitemaps are like an aid – a guide that gives more information about your site to Google, such as making sure that all of your URLs are indexed for easy crawling.
Of course, it can lead to more visibility for your site eventually, when the URLs are prioritized.  But, that is not a guarantee.

A quick tip: If you’re not already using the Google XML Sitemaps generator on your WordPress site, you should install it now. There’s no guarantee that your rankings will improve.  But, it will help Google discover your fresh content faster.

3.   Meta tags don’t matter

Meta tags are HTML tags that appear in between the opening and closing <head> tags. They’re used to show preview snippets for a specific webpage in the search results.

There has been a lot of debate in the SEO world about the impact of meta tags, especially post-Hummingbird.

Interestingly, Danny Sullivan wrote an in-depth article on the “death of meta tags,” in order to further discuss the state of meta tags and why they may not be that useful in today’s SEO.

The 3 elements of a meta tag are:

1.   The title tag
2.   The meta description
3.   Keywords
Note: The title tag appears in the <head> section of a web page, but it’s a necessary page element. The meta description and keywords, on the other hand, are optional page elements. Without the meta description, though, Google may pull text from the page body as a preview snippet.

Matt Cutts has said that Google doesn’t use the keywords meta tag in page rankings. Nevertheless, meta tags are still relevant and it makes sense to spend time on them.

Adding meta tags may not boost your search rankings, but meta tags help to tell users and search engines what your site is about, says Kristine Schachinger.

Meta tags will also make your search results attractive, which can attract more clicks from search users.

You can take care of keywords, title tags and descriptions with the All In One SEO WordPress plugin.

To create rich meta descriptions, use these tips:


4.  Use meta robots tag to specify indexable pages

The Robots.txt file tells search engine bots which sections (pages, links, etc.) of your site to crawl and index and which to ignore.

However, you can easily set noindex and nofollow tags, using the Yoast or All in One SEO WordPress plugins.

Note: You should only check the NOINDEX button if you’re certain that you want the page to be private and not viewable for the public.

So, does this mean that without specifying the meta robots tag, Google will not find your fresh pages?

I don’t think so. I can’t remember the last time that I specified which pages Google should index. Unless you want to make specific pages private, there is really no need to go through the hassle.

You can use the Robot.txt file to block all web crawlers from all of your content, a specific folder or a specific webpage.

But, if you don’t need to block web crawlers, then don’t bother. Save your time and channel it towards something more important.


5.   Top-level domains improve rankings

A top-level domain occupies the highest position in the hierarchical domain name system. Most search users will recognize .com as a website extension, but may be confused when they find .biz or .guru.

This is partly because when you type any keyword phrase into Google search, 98% of the search results are .com domain names. Let’s see:

The only exception that I know of is geo-targetable country domains. If I live in Canada, but have a .com domain name, Google will assume that my audience is global and show my web pages in their search results to the global audience.

On the other hand, a Canadian site in the same industry with a .ca extension will show up primarily for search users from that country.

In terms of conversions, .com domains have achieved tremendous results for many people.

In 2007, prior to Google algorithm updates, ICANN introduced new generic top-level domain names – for example, .guru, .club, .company and.email.
But, .com still trumps all of them, in terms of global usage.
Alexandros Ntoulas and his team found that top-level domains are the major culprits of web spam.

Their research showed that .biz, .us and .com domains are the three biggest propagators of web spam. And, this includes links that Google uses to rank web pages in their search engine.

The major factor in whether TLDs have an effect on SEO is whether or not the domain contains keywords. Of course, you and I know that Exact Match Domain names risk getting penalized.

Everything still boils down to the value that you offer with your domain name. During the days of frequent updates, an average EMD ranking dropped from 13.4% to 26.6%.

This data shouldn’t scare you, but rather it should guide you. Now you know that when choosing top-level domains, what matters is the long-term brand and benefit when you register a memorable and professional domain name.

The caveat: If you haven’t registered any domain name yet, I’d advise you to choose top-level domain names (.com and .net).

However, if you’re already a site owner, just decide to focus on offering immense value, creating high-quality content and using social media to connect influencers who will help promote your content. I’ve even seen domain names with weird extensions do well in search, such as Paper.li.

In fact, this site currently ranks #4 for a high-volume keyword (create a newspaper online) with lots of competition.

This clearly shows that it’s no longer about the top-level domain extensions, but the value your site offers.

6. Including a target keyword in anchor text no longer matters in SEO

When building links, should you use keywords in your anchor text?

Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink (e.g. Neil Patel). The anchor text enclosed in the bracket is “Neil Patel.” When clicked, that phrase takes the user to the blog.

Many industry experts believe that anchor text will remain a ranking factor forever, no matter what changes come with the next Google update.

So, is keyword-rich anchor text still helpful in boosting your rankings?

The goal of every algorithm update or change is to help searchers find the right sites that contain the information they need, in a user-friendly manner.

Over-optimization can get you penalized by Google. Before Google Penguin, you could use keyword-rich anchor text on your blog posts, both for internal linking and external linking (i.e., linking to other sites).

However, there is a slight change now. Of course, contextual links have 5-10x more ranking power than your usual author profile link that appears in your guest posts, for example.

But, excessive use of keyword-rich anchor text will negatively affect your site rankings. Cross-linking with rich anchor text is equally risky, so avoid it.

But, to say that keyword-rich anchor text will no longer be relevant in search rankings isn’t accurate. In other words, it’s a myth.

Change your approach. Diversify anchor text and make sure that your primary and secondary keywords, as well as your brand, URL and generic keywords are used as anchor texts.

Personally, I like building natural links, because that’s what Google wants. You can’t be smarter than the engineers who spend their workdays making the algorithm work smarter. So, stay off Google’s radar and avoid a penalty.

After the Penguin update, most sites with optimized anchor text got penalized. On the other hand, those sites with diversified anchor text experienced a boost and only a few of them were negatively affected.

There are several types of anchor text that you can use, but let’s drill down and determine what works best.

First, recognize that brand building is the easiest way to stand out positively in Google’s eyes. So, you can follow this anchor text strategy:

In summary, the three types of anchor texts that you should focus on are:

i).  Natural anchor text: It could be keyword-rich, brand or URL anchor text, but it should flow naturally with the rest of the content. These are mostly editorial links and will definitely impact your rankings. For example:

Matt Cutts has been advocating natural anchor text for a long time. It works, because Google’s primary objective is creating the best search experience for its users.

ii). Brand name or brand URL anchor text: If you can build more brand or URL anchor text, you should be fine. Aim for branded anchor text in roughly 90% of your links.

For example, NerdFitness is an authority site for fitness enthusiasts. There are thousands of keywords that the author could use to build links, but he doesn’t.

Instead, most of the anchor text pointing to his pages is either brand name, brand URLs or naked URLs (for example, nerdfitness.com).

SmartPassiveIncome also has more branded and URL anchor text.

Of course, you can’t possibly control what anchor text another person uses to link to your web page. But, if you have the opportunity, either through guest blogging or interviews, steer clear of keyword-rich anchor text.

Or, better yet, use your brand name + keyword (e.g., Brian Dean’s Link Building).

You can also use branded URLs as your anchor text (e.g., “To learn more about growth hacking, visit: http://neilpatel.com.”)

iii).Generic anchor text: This is often referred to as a “noise anchor.” Don’t use it excessively, because it could turn out to be over-optimized.

According to Search Engine Watch, over half of all anchor text has one to three words in it. This means that when using generic keywords, you should move from one word to three or more (e.g., learn more here, visit the site, see the homepage, check it out, get started today).

At least 5% of your anchors should be generic, especially when you’re linking out or from an irrelevant page.

For example, if I want to make a reference to a sports website from my internet marketing blog, I would use generic keywords.

See how that might look in the paragraph below:

When I started blogging, I was getting it all wrong, until a friend of mine from Canada, who runs a sports website advised me to narrow my niche and focus on a small group that has potential. Do you want to give him a shout out? Click here.

Bottom line: Keyword-rich anchor text is still important, but use this approach wisely and diversify where you can.

7.  Google will find your fresh content and index it

Crawl optimization is an important topic that I’ll expand on in a future article. For now, let’s say that it refers to the things that you can do to help Google discover, crawl and index your fresh content easily.

Search engine bots feed on fresh content. When your new article is live, it means that you’ve prepared a meal for them. But, does that mean that your fresh content will be crawled and indexed without your input?

Sure, it can happen – but it may take up to two days, especially  if your blog is fairly new. To get the ball rolling, you should help the search spiders discover your fresh content.

That’s one of the benefits of installing a Google XML sitemap generator plugin for WordPress. You don’t have to do anything, once you set up the plugin.

The moment you press the “publish” button, a new XML sitemap is generated and sent to the major search engines and directories. This is not manipulative at all and it helps Google index your new content as quickly as possible.

Updating your social profiles will get your fresh content indexed faster. It’s very simple, just share your link on your Facebook page or tweet it.

Another simple tool that works for me is Pingomatic. It let’s you quickly ping a bunch of web services to notify them of your new content. Using this free service gets my fresh content indexed within six hours.

8.  Hire an SEO agency to get top rankings fast

This is the most interesting myth of all. How could any SEO agency or expert guarantee top Google rankings in this age?

Sure, there are various reasons why you might need an SEO agency, especially for keyword analysis and competitive auditing. “Quick rankings” is not one of those reasons.

The truth of the matter is that Google handles over 100 billion searches per month. Since no SEO can predict tomorrow’s keywords, it’s almost impossible for anyone to guarantee fast search rankings.

Nearly eight years after I wrote my very first blog post, my blog gets over 700,000 visitors a month. I’ve published 614 blog posts in that time.

I know there are several blogs out there with a fraction of the content that I’ve published, which nevertheless generate more traffic each month. This tells you that several factors impact your Google rankings, including timing.

I never promise clients that I have a magic bullet, when it comes to SEO and ranking. Sure, I know the best approach to take, if I want to improve my clients’ rankings, especially through long-tail keywords. But, I can’t guarantee top rankings.

Listen up: SEO is a long-term practice. If you’re desperate to rank in Google’s top 10 overnight or a few months after starting your blog, you’re making a very big mistake.

Aged domain names, authority links and in-depth content can all help boost rankings, but they’re not guarantees, either. There are so many sites out there that have fulfilled these requirements, but still struggle to rank well in Google results.

If you’ve got funds in your marketing budget, there are some good reasons to hire an SEO agency:

You don’t have the time to run your site.
You’re looking to improve your search traffic.
You want help with long-tail keywords research.
You want to stay up to date in the SEO industry.
You want to be trained by an agency.
But, you should not hire an SEO agency that promises to give you top rankings fast. Even if they somehow succeed at pushing your site to the #1 position, without a strong foundation your rankings will slide and you’ll lose more than you gained.

SEO is for long-term-oriented digital entrepreneurs who have made up their minds to help users find the answers they need.

9.    Guest blogging is dead

There was an uproar, in 2014, when Matt Cutts said that “if you’re using guest blogging as a way to get links … stop.” A lot of SEOs who didn’t understand exactly what that statement meant immediately started preaching against guest blogging.

So, is guest blogging dead?

There is no technical difference between guest-blogging content and any other type of content. Guest blogging simply means that a guest contributed a piece of content to your blog.

What Matt Cutts is talking about is crappy content on blogs from an outside author. But, even where the author was the site owner, Google’s Panda update had already begun punishing low-quality content.

Search engines index billions of web pages, from different domain names, IP addresses, locations and so on.  And, these web pages are owned by different people. That’s interconnectivity at work.

Think about it: the content on high authority sites is regularly contributed by freelancers and outside authors! Sites like the New York Times, eHow, BusinessWeek, Inc., CNN and Mashable all rely on content written not by the “site owner” alone, but by hundreds of other people.

When it comes to guest blogging, it’s neither the guest nor even the content that’s the problem, but the context: the type of article, its uniqueness, the anchor texts and the links pointing to and from the site.

Personally, I believe that guest blogging is not dead. And, it’s never going to die, because Google can’t accurately decipher what a “guest post” is, especially when the author’s link is right inside the body and not on the author profile.

One of the ways I grew my blog traffic by 206% was through guest blogging. It also helped Louis Gudema with SEO.

Even Matt Cutts himself later endorsed guest blogging:

On that note, I still recommend guest blogging, as long as you follow these simple tips:

Avoid spammy blogs: If the blog doesn’t have unique content, avoid it.
Don’t call them “guest posts”: This is important. Google can find the text “this is a guest post.” Instead, write as though you’re an in-house contributor. It doesn’t matter where the guest comes from, as long as the post is useful.
Build relationships, not links: Don’t try to get your guest post published on a trusted blog, just because of the link. If that’s your mindset, you’ll miss out on the relationship.
Build your brand: Use your brand name or URL as anchor text for natural link building.
Contextual links: As much as possible, try to keep your links within the content, not in the author profile where it doesn’t carry as much weight.
Use guest blogging carefully: Focus on the end users. Create content that makes them think – that resonates with them and solves their problem. Engage them, reply to comments and build your email list.

10. Keyword research is not necessary

This myth is just as dangerous as the first. As a content marketer and blogger, you can’t afford to ignore keyword research.

No Google update eliminated the importance of keywords. Obviously, if every other factor is present, you’ll likely get more clicks, when your web page shows at the top.

What you should avoid is over-optimization, excessive use of keyword-rich anchor texts and Exact Match Domain updates. Focus on ROI, instead of the top rankings for that keyword. After all, whether you rank #1 or #5, what matters is what you get back.

Google’s Keyword Planner is still the most accurate keyword research tool out there. Most other tools rely on Google. Those other tools are still helpful, though.

Apart from using Google Keyword Planner to research your keywords, you could also check which keywords your competitors are targeting.

It’s easy to do. First, head over to SEMrush. Type your competitor’s URL in the search box.

Next, click the green “search” button. Scroll down to find the primary keywords that your competitor is ranking for:

Keyword research is still pretty relevant. But, in order to stay safe, focus on the user intent behind the search, not just the keywords themselves.

11.Paid search improves organic results

Can AdWords PPC help in organic rankings?

I don’t think so. There is no apparent correlation between organic rankings and paid rankings. They function on different terrain. The organic search results come from the index database, while PPC’s sponsored links are based on your bid and total investment.

According to a report by MarketLive, the conversion rate of traffic to paid ads is actually 35%. This is way higher than organic traffic.

With paid ads, you can target more keywords and easily test different campaigns. More importantly, you can strengthen your brand identity when your paid ad appears above the search rankings.

Aaron Bradley explained that paid search can help define and refine the keywords that you target organically, through accurate data. After all, it’s much easier to measure the ROI of a paid search link than that of a free organic listing.

He went on to say that the click-through rates on paid ads will give you insight into the best keywords to optimize for organic searches.

So, there is no doubt that paid search can help in improving the conversion rate of organic results, but it won’t help with rankings.

12.Claiming your Google listings will increase your search traffic

Google Places are official business listings that include your business phone number and address. Claiming your local Google Place listing is very important.

You’re basically telling Google to list your business in the area where you have the most customers or clients.

After filling out the form, you’ll be asked to go through the verification process, via an immediate phone call to verify your pin number.

But, merely listing your business in Google local will not increase your search rankings. Some of the things you’ll need to do to get the rankings that you want are:

i). Stay consistent: Copyblogger Media said that neither Google nor Bing is happy with inconsistency. In other words, you shouldn’t change your business name tomorrow, come back to Google local, get listed and, in the next few months, change to “Something Else LLC.”

In order to remain consistent, use the same details that you do in guest blogging, on your social media profiles and on all websites where you’re featured.

ii).Local outreach: Get other people to talk about your listing on the map. Ask them to link to your local listing page. You can always use Open Site Explorer to find who linked to your site and notify them about your business listing.

13. Google hates black hat link building

What so many SEOs call “black hat” really isn’t. In fact, most of what you’re doing that seems like “transparent hat” is really “black” in disguise.
Who has the best definition of SEO best practices and guidelines that you should follow for your site? Google. Here’s what they said on the Google webmasters blog.

First and foremost, black hat SEO has more to do with the manner by which you build links, write content, network or connect with other people. Many people think that leaving comments on blogs is a black hat SEO technique, but that’s not true.

The question to ask is this: what is the value of my comments to the site? Am I adding value or just looking for links?

If you’re not adding value, then that’s a black hat technique.

Did you know that most people use guest blogging in the wrong way? Believe me, that’s black hat, too. Any SEO practice that isn’t centered on the user’s point of view is black hat.

Transparent hat SEO practices may take some time to show results, but they’ll be sustainable.

I don’t recommend link buying, because Google listed it as a black hat technique. But, if the link will benefit the users, should you go ahead and do it anyway?

Of course. Google’s goal is to give search users the right information, so they’ll come back tomorrow to conduct another search. That’s how Google makes its money, because eventually its ads will be clicked.

So, transparent hat SEO practices are those that are concerned about the user experience and Google loves them.

For example, social media marketing is transparent hat, but social media scheming, whereby you try to manipulate search rankings by getting as many people as possible to mention, tweet or share your link on their social profiles, is black hat.

Google doesn’t hate the platform – rather, it hates what is done on the platform. A WordPress blog is a great platform, but what happens there could be black or transparent hat.

14.Long form content=top rankings

Long-form content can improve rankings, but it’s not that simple. As far as SEO is concerned, there are several factors that contribute to a high-quality site.

To rank higher in Google SERPs in this Hummingbird age, focus on the user’s intent and gaining editorial links. They’re the easiest routes to follow.

The thing is that people regard in-depth content as valuable. But, in reality, most long articles aren’t so valuable for the user.

The question to ask yourself is this: “Does the content page contain substantial value, when compared to other pages in search results?”

When I analyzed some top search results, I discovered that long-form content does rank, but not in the #1 position.

In summary, long-form content can improve your rankings, but here are few tips to keep in mind:

15.Linking out to authority sites sends organic visitors away

Obviously, linking out to other blogs sends your visitors away. And yet, several popular sites became successful, because they always link out to others.

For example, the blog you’re reading right now is my newest. Last month, I generated over 46,000 visitors.

I always link out to relevant and authority blogs. I don’t withhold those links, thinking that my readers will leave and never return. See how many web pages I linked to in the post excerpt below?

What I know for certain is that as long as my content is useful, practicable, in-depth and persuasive, even when readers click a link and leave, they’ll come back.

Many times, we strive to get links from authority sites, such as CNN, Mashable, Business Insider, BoingBoing and .gov and .edu sites, because we know that links from these sites will boost our search rankings. And, there are authority sites in every industry.

Apart from those, you can find similar authority sites to link to. Just go to similarsites.com, type in the URL for one of the authority sites (e.g., ConversionXL) and dig in.

Here are similar sites related to ConversionXL that you could link out to:

In the same way, when you link out to Google-friendly sites, especially to pages that are relevant to the content that you’re writing, Google will crawl your site and follow the links to the trusted site.

Google may not have explicitly stated that this improves your rankings, but through years of writing content and doing SEO, I’ve found it to be true.

Follow these simple tips, when linking out to authority sites, to stay safe and reap the rewards:

       Link out from a high-quality content page.
       Link out only when necessary.
       Use the brand name or URL of the authority site as your anchor text.
       Find relevant pages on authority sites and link to them.
       If you can, notify the site owners and bloggers when you link to them (you may get a tweet or natural link).

16.H1 tags are important elements that increase search rankings

Before Google Panda, all of the things that you did for on-page optimization carried a lot of weight in Google’s eyes. But, times are different now.

H1s are important elements, but there is no clear indication that they can boost your search rankings.

Chris Butterworth conducted an experiment to determine the effect of H1 – H6 elements on rankings. After two weeks, he discovered that the higher the number, the lower the ranking. In the words, an unstyled <p> element ranked higher than a styled <h1> element.

Nik was worried that the spider might not know what’s happening on the page, because the header tags are not well-optimized.

Matt Cutts said that it doesn’t matter whether you use H1 or H2. What matters is that your page contains relevant and useful information that will address the needs of your users.

Rand Fishkin also said that heading styles no longer matter in today’s SEO, but great user experience does.

The major reason why most people obsess over <h1> styles in the internet marketing world is because they have lots of software tools for building high-converting landing pages and the majority of them can at least design a simple HTML web page.

But, in the non-internet-related industries, those guys don’t care so much about header tags, but they still give priority to content. That’s the reason why they succeed.

In all, I recommend that you use heading tags, not because you want to boost your search rankings, but because it’ll create a better experience for your users. They’ll more easily navigate your site and know the difference between the subheads and the rest of the text.

Depending on your WordPress theme or template, H1 – H3 tags will break up large chunks of text into easily digestible pieces of text.

And remember, when your readers are excited about your content and stick around, Google will reward you with better search rankings and increased traffic.

17. Social signal isn’t a ranking factor

Do links from Facebook, Twitter and other social media networks affect ranking? Are social signals a part of Google’s ranking factor?

Brian Dean did a great job at highlighting Google’s 200 ranking factors. But, is that all there is to it?

I don’t think so. Social metrics play an important role in bringing together all other ranking factors and making them work together.

The good thing about social metrics is that they can be tracked and measured with precision, unlike your personal brand.

Personally, I believe there is a correlation between social and search. Both Google and Bing use data from social sites to determine how useful your site is and where to rank it.

The effect of social signals on rankings may not be noticeable, because social signals don’t pass direct link juice to a particular page. Moz started ranking for “beginner’s guide to SEO,” right after Smashing Magazine tweeted that post to thousands of followers.

Although the improved rankings may not last long, when power users share your page on social platforms, you’ll experience a sizable increase in search traffic.

Shrusti benefited immensely from social media signals as well. He went from page 400 to page 1, just by being active and creating a great experience for the target audience.

Note that it takes time to actually see improved search traffic and rankings, especially when you solely focus on social signals.

I recommend that you use SEO, blogging and social media marketing to increase your web traffic, while you build your brand along the way.

Conclusion

I’ve had my own fair share of SEO failure, but I’m always inspired to learn and upgrade my skills.

Reading other blogs and learning from knowledgeable content marketers can help you discover your own passion and embrace change. The web is a dynamic platform, after all.

But, you’ve got to do it with discretion. Most of the advice out there isn’t borne out of deep understanding about search engine optimization and how search engines work.

I’m sure that these 17 SEO myths will help you grow your site and find even better ways to cater to your target audience.

Do you know of any other SEO myths that keep site owners from increasing organic traffic and rankings?

from
http://neilpatel.com/blog/17-seo-myths-that-you-should-never-follow/          


18. SEO Is All about Keyword Density

This myth is the remnant of a bygone age. In the old days of SEO you could trick search engines into thinking you had a highly relevant page by publishing thin content (just a few hundred words per page) that was crammed with keywords and their synonyms. This type of SEO was struck down by Google’s Panda update, which targeted low-quality, thin and duplicated content. Sites that had over optimized took a hit to their rankings and traffic. If you’re still operating under the idea that keyword density matters, you’ll probably struggle to rank well, and you’re providing your visitors with a worse user experience to boot.

That doesn’t mean don’t optimize your site for a specific keyword. You just need to do it naturally and keep in mind how you’re providing value to your users. Places you should still use your keyword are:

         URL: Search engines and human users look at URLs to tell them what they should expect to find on the page, so they play a big part in SEO. Best practice for optimizing URLs is to use your keyword at the beginning, use hyphens as word separators and keep them as similar to the page title as you can.

         Title tag: One of the most important on page SEO factors, title tags are one of the strongest hints you can give search engines about what the page is about. Like with URLs, use your keyword at the beginning of the title. This is a spot that’s really easy to over-optimize, so you should really think carefully about using more than one keyword here. Only do so if it can happen naturally and if the two keywords are very closely related. Otherwise, stick to one keyword, and once is enough — using the same keyword in the title tag repeatedly is a surefire way to make Google think you’re web spam.

         Headers and sub-heads: Headers (<h1> tags) and sub-heads (<h2><h6> tags) give your content order and structure, which makes it easier for search engines to interpret it and more enjoyable for humans to consume it. H1 tags are extra important as they function as the content’s title (although note that they are not the same as the <title> tag). Using keywords in these spots will tell readers what to expect from each section of content, but overdoing it will tank your ranking.

When it comes time to write your page content, don’t worry about how many times you’ve used your keyword — search engines don’t really look at it that way and if the content is too keyword rich it will make you look bad. Instead, focus on using your keyword in the places mentioned above and throughout the entire page. This is where longer content really pays off: you’ll have your keyword and semantically related words naturally appear in different places, which will make your page look better. Measure how consistently you use keywords and related words with a WooRank audit:

19. Images & Videos Don’t Matter for SEO
Images and videos play a role in SEO in two important ways: Regular search results rankings and image/video search results. Images and videos help your on page SEO in two ways:

         Improved user experience. No one wants to click through to a page only to be confronted with a giant, unbroken wall of text. Photos, illustrations, infographics and other images make your page look attractive and break up text for easy consumption. This will increase time on page and decrease bounce rate, two factors Google uses to rank pages. Keeping your image size down will reduce page load time, which is another important factor in UX and SERP ranking.

        More relevance to keywords. Even though search engines can’t see what’s in an image, they are able to crawl the image HTML tag on the page. Use this to your advantage by optimizing your images with alternative text and filenames that are clear, descriptive and use keywords naturally.

Well-optimized images and videos will also open up your page to a new channel of traffic: image and video search results. What’s really great about this sort of SEO is that you can double dip here: optimizing your media to help your pages rank will also help them rank in image search results. There are two vital parts of multimedia code to optimize:

        Filename: Use filenames like you would URLs for a webpage. Use keywords at the beginning, separate words using hyphens and be descriptive and include as much detail as you can.

        Alternative Attribute: Also known as the alt tag or alt attribute, the alternative attribute gives details about the media that didn’t fit in the filename. Write alt attribute like you’re describing the image to a person who can’t see — because that’s exactly what the alt text does. Search engines rely heavily on alt attribute since they can’t crawl an image to figure out what it is.

Check your image optimization with a WooRank audit to verify that your images have correctly implemented alt attributes.

Ensure that search engines are properly crawling and indexing your images and videos by using the <image> and <video>extension to your XML sitemap. If you’ve got a lot of images and/or videos, create image and video sitemaps and add them to your site as part of a sitemap index file.

20.Rich Snippets are Bad for Marketers
Rich snippets, both the Knowledge Graph and Answer Box, are part of Google’s effort to enhance search results by interpreting search intent and providing the searched-for information directly in SERPs using semantic search information, gathered from the web in its entirety. These rich snippets have some marketers tearing their hair out. Since Knowledge Graph gathers information from all over the web, it won’t always link back to your site.

Additionally, the Answer Box can potentially discourage users from clicking through to your site because they’ve answered their question directly in the results. However, there are some advantages to appearing in rich snippets, the most obvious being that they allow you to leapfrog anyone who may outrank you for your branded search terms (Knowledge Graph) or other target keywords (Answer Box). Even better, pages that appear in the Answer Box saw a sizable increase in search traffic.

Unfortunately, appearing in the Knowledge Graph doesn’t show the same boost in traffic, but you can still use it to your advantage by optimizing where it gets its data to help control the information it displays and keep your users in your ecosystem.

So how do you appear in rich snippets? That depends on which snippet you’re talking about. Answer Box relies much more on page content and your site’s authority, while optimizing Knowledge Graph means more focus on off page SEO factors.

         Answer Box: Google decides who appears in an Answer Box based on how well the page content answers the question and how authoritative and trustworthy it finds your domain. The key to getting your content into featured snippets, aside from answering the question really well, is to structure your content in such a way that tells Google you’ve answered the question. Headers, subheads and Schema semantic markup are your friends here.

         Knowledge Graph: Google displays Knowledge Graph rich snippets for branded keywords whether you want it or not, so you’re better off controlling the information than trying to fight it. Since it’s Google, your first optimization is your Google+ page; the better your Google+ presence, the more Google will rely on it for rich snippets. The second most important optimization is Wikipedia and Wikidata (formerly Freebase, but that’s been deprecated). Optimize your Wikidata entry and request a Wikipedia page to improve the content in your Knowledge Graph.

21.Links are Earned Now, Not Built
This myth joined the collective SEO conscience after Google’s Penguin update punished sites participating in link building techniques that were maybe not so transparent hat. This, along with the ascendency of content marketing, caused some SEOs to declare that the days of link building were over and the best way to fill out your backlink profile is by naturally earning links by creating great content. This wasn’t exactly wrong, as creating useful articles, videos and infographics is still the most important step of getting links, but the idea that content will earn its own links through quality and social media engagement hasn’t panned out.
So what does this mean? Links are still important, as seen by Google’s recent addition of Penguin 4.0 to its core algorithm, so you still need to build links on your own using a strategic manual link building strategy. Your link building strategy should include the following parts:

         Content: Create your content with link building in mind. Do some research into what content is already getting shared by your audience (Buzzsumo and Ahrefs are two good tools for this). Take some ideas from this content to build upon it, updating old information or providing a new perspective. Whatever you do, don’t copy it — adding duplicate content to your site isn’t good.

         Target Your Outreach: Don’t expect sharing your pages via social media to move the needle in terms of links. Link building requires you to find the right audience to not only increase your outreach success rate, but to also increase your chance of getting quality editorial links. You can use tools like AuthorCrawl and BlogDash to create a list of bloggers to target. Use Majestic to find websites that already link to your content, or find your competition’s links and try to take them for yourself.

         Do It Yourself: People know when they’re getting a form letter, so automating your outreach will result in your emails going straight in the trash (if they even make past the spam filter at all). Write your emails yourself for best results, using a rough guideline or template to help streamline the process.

22.Improving Your Rankings Will Solve All Your
    Problems
For many the goal of “doing SEO” doesn’t get much past “rank number one in Google.” If that’s your approach to SEO, you’re falling prey to the myth that getting to that top spot is a magic bullet for digital marketing. The truth is yes, ranking highly in Google is part of it, but the truth is that to see the results you want, optimizations have to be done as part of a campaign with an overall goal in mind. Ranking number one for “women’s shoes” won’t do you much good if the majority of people using that keyword are looking for dress shoes and your landing page is optimized for athletic shoes.
So, instead of optimizing your site willy-nilly, take the time to develop a comprehensive SEO strategy. A good SEO strategy will:
         Establish goals: You can’t declare a campaign a success or failure without knowing how to measure both. Before you start optimizing URLs and writing blog posts, first decide if you want to increase conversions or simply attract more eyeballs.
         Determine the Ideal Audience Member: Who are your potential customers? Ideally you already know this, but if you don’t, or haven’t formally decided it yet, create buyer personas around your potential customers’ age, gender, interests, goals and location. Use Google Analytics to learn the demographic and interest information for your audience.
         Find the Right Keywords: What stage a person is at in the purchasing process will determine what keywords they use in a search engine. They could be looking to answer a question, doing research to learn more about a topic or trying to find the product they want to buy. In each case, the keyword you’ll target would be slightly different. Plus, the end goal of your campaign will change the way you optimize your landing page and what sort of content you’ll create for them.
         Track and Modify: Analytics is a vital part of digital marketing, especially one that requires constant fine tuning like SEO. Your analytics should evaluate more than just traffic, though. Increasing traffic doesn’t matter much if it doesn’t result in achieving your goal, so track conversions. If you aren’t seeing the conversions you like, it could be a sign that your keywords are used by an suboptimal audience, or maybe your landing pages aren’t set up to convert visitors.

23.Content is King
If you’ve been around digital marketing much at all you will have heard the “content is king” mantra hammered home again and again: Creating high quality, useful content will rank well in search results without much help from SEO. And at face value it certainly seems that way — every new search algorithm update works to weed low quality and spammy websites out of the results. But publishing good content alone isn’t going to get you to the top of Google, particularly if you’re in a highly competitive niche.
Publishing good content is still a really important, even prerequisite, component of ranking, but if you don’t optimize it, how will search engines ever know that it’s good? What’s more, if your whole site isn’t optimized, crawlers could struggle to ever find your content, which means it won’t show up in results at all. SEO is all about making sure search engines are serving your pages for the right audience, so while content is king, it’s not an absolute monarchy.

From
https://www.sitepoint.com/6-seo-myths-debunked/


for one, hate misinformation and disinformation, and our     industry, unfortunately, is rife with it. I’m going to do my part
in fighting this menace and spreading the truth — by exposing some of the more insidious myths in this very article. I think this is only fitting, considering Covario’s oft-stated goal is to be “the source of truth” for our clients on the performance of their SEO and SEM.

And now, without any further ado, the list…

24.   Our SEO firm is endorsed/approved by Google. The following comes from an actual email a friend of mine received from an SEO firm last year:

We are…Google Approved, a partner with Google, they endorse us as an optimizer, and their list includes very few partners, and we are one of them!. To find us on their list please go to: http://www.google.com/websiteoptimizer/woac.html and select region: United States; scroll to the middle of the page and find National Positions.”
Hmm…. you won’t find them listed there anymore.

25.   Don’t use Google Analytics because Google will spy on you and use the information against you. This one comes straight from the conspiracy theorists. Google has made numerous assurances that they aren’t using your traffic or conversion data to profile you as a spammer.

26.   Your PageRank score, as reported by Google’s toolbar server, is highly correlated to your Google rankings. If only this were true, our jobs as SEOs would be so much easier! It doesn’t take many searches with SEO for Firefox running to see that low-PageRank URLs outrank high-PR ones all the time. It would be naive to assume that the PageRank reported by the Toolbar Server is the same as what Google uses internally for their ranking algorithm.

27.   Having an XML Sitemap will boost your Google rankings. I just heard this one from a fellow panelist in an SEO session at a conference I presented at within the last month (I won’t mention who, or which show.) This made me cringe, but I bit my lip rather than embarrass and contradict them in front of the audience. Should I have spoken up? Did I do the audience a disservice by leaving this myth unchallenged? I struggled with that. In any event, Google will use your sitemaps file for discovery and potentially as a canonicalization hint if you have duplicate content. It won’t give a URL any more “juice” just because you include it in your sitemaps.xml, even if you assign a high priority level to it.

28.   Since the advent of personalization, there is no such thing as being ranked #1 anymore because everyone sees different results. Although it is true that Google personalizes search results based on the user’s search history (and now you don’t even have to be logged in to Google for this personalization to take place), the differences between personalized results and non-personalized results are relatively minor. Check for yourself. Get in the habit of re-running your queries — the second time adding &pws=0 to the end of Google SERP URL — and observing how much (or how little) everything shifts around.

29.   Meta tags will boost your rankings. I’m so sick of hearing about meta tags. Optimizing your meta keywords is a complete waste of time. Period. They have been so abused by spammers that the engines haven’t put any stock in them for years and years. What about other meta tags — such as meta description, meta author, and meta robots — you ask? None of the various meta tags are given any real weight in the rankings algorithm.

30.   It’s good practice to include a meta robots tag specifying index, follow. This is a corollary to the myth immediately preceding. It’s totally unnecessary. The engines all assume they are allowed to index and follow unless you specify otherwise.

31.   It’s helpful if your targeted keywords are tucked away in HTML comment tags and title attributes (of IMG and A HREF tags.) Since when have comment tags or title attributes been given any weight?

32.   Having country-specific sites creates “duplicate content” issues in Google. Google is smart enough to present your .com.au site to Google Australia users and your .co.nz site to Google New Zealand users. Not using a ccTLD? Then set the geographic target setting in Google Webmaster Tools; that’s what it’s there for. Where’s the problem here?

33.   You can keep search engines from indexing pages linked-to with Javascript links. There are many documented cases of Google following JavaScript-based links. Google engineers have stated that they are crawling JavaScript links more-and-more. Of course, don’t rely on Google parsing your JavaScript links, but don’t assume it will choke on them either.

34.   Googlebot doesn’t read CSS. You’d better believe Google scans CSS for spam tactics like hidden divs.

35.   You should end your URLs in .html. Since when has that made a difference?

36.   You can boost the Google rankings of your home page for a targeted term by including that term in the anchor text of internal links. Testing done by SEOmoz found that the anchor text of your “Home” links is largely ignored. Use the anchor text “Home” or “San Diego real estate” — it’s of no consequence either way.

37.   It’s important for your rankings that you update your home page frequently (e.g. daily.) This is another fallacy spread by the same aforementioned fellow panelist. Plenty of stale home pages rank just fine, thank you very much.

38. Trading links helps boost PageRank and rankings. Particularly if done on a massive scale with totally irrelevant sites, right? Umm, no. Reciprocal links are of dubious value: they are easy for an algorithm to catch and to discount. Having your own version of the Yahoo directory on your site isn’t helping your users, nor is it helping your SEO.

39.   Linking out (such as to Google.com) helps rankings. Not true. Unless perhaps you’re hoarding all your PageRank by not linking out at all — in which case, that just looks unnatural. It’s the other way around, i.e. getting links to your site — that’s what makes the difference.

40.   It’s considered “cloaking” — and is thus taboo and risky — to clean up the URLs in your links selectively and only for spiders.If your intentions are honorable, then you have nothing to fear. All the major search engines have said as much. You are helping the engines by removing session IDs, tracking parameters and other superfluous parameters from the URLs across your site — whether it’s done by user-agent detection, cookie detection or otherwise. After all, if it were bad, would Yahoo be doing it? Check it for yourself: visit the Yahoo.com home page with the Googlebot user agent string (e.g. with Firefox using the User Agent Switcher extension). You’ll notice the “ylt” parameter has been stripped from all the links.

41.   If you define a meta description, Google uses it in the snippet.We already learned from my last column (“Anatomy of a Google Snippet“) that this is oftentimes not the case.

42.   The bolding of words in a Google listing signifies that they were considered in the rankings determination. Also discussed in mylast column, this phenomenon — known as “KWiC” in Information Retrieval circles — is there purely for usability purposes.

43.   H1 tags are a crucial element for SEO. Research by SEOmoz showslittle correlation between the presence of H1 tags and rankings. Still, you should write good H1 headings, but do it primarily for usability and accessibility, not so much for SEO.

44.   There are some unique ranking signals for Google Mobile Search, and they include the markup being “XHTML Mobile”.Google Mobile Search results mirror those of Google Web Search. By all means, create a mobile-friendly version of your site; but do it for your users, not for SEO.

45.   SEO is a black art. And it’s done, usually in a dark room, by some rogue SEO consultant, without requiring the involvement of the client / rest of the company. If SEO were like that, our lives would read like spy novels.

46.   The Disallow directive in robots.txt can get pages de-indexed from Google. As I explained in my article “A Deeper Look at Robots.txt“, disallows can lead to snippet-less, title-less Google listings. Not a good look. To keep pages out of the index, use the Noindex robots.txt directive or the meta robots noindex tag — NOT a Disallow directive.

47.   SEO is a one-time activity you complete and are then done with.How many times have you heard someone say “We actually just finished SEOing our site”? It makes me want to scream “No!” with every fiber of my being. SEO is ongoing. Just like one’s website is never “finished,” neither is one’s SEO. Catalog marketers get this better than anyone else: they are used to optimizing every square inch of their printed catalog. There is always more performance to be wrung out. The “set it and forget it” misconception is particularly prevalent among IT workers — they tend to treat everything like a project so that they can get through assignments, close the “ticket” and move on, and thus maintain their sanity. I can’t say I blame them.

48.   Automated SEO is black-hat or spammy. There is nothing wrong with or inappropriate in using automation. Indeed, it signals a level of maturity in the marketplace when industrial-strength tools and technologies for large-scale automation are available. Without automation, it would be difficult to impossible for the enterprise company to scale their SEO efforts across the mass of content they have published on the Web. Chris Smith paints a compelling picture for SEO automation in this classic post.

49.   A site map isn’t for people. A good (HTML, not XML) site map is designed as much for human consumption as it is for spiders. Any time you create pages/copy/links solely for a search engine, hoping they won’t be seen by humans, you’re asking for trouble.

50.   There’s no need to link to all your pages for the spiders to see them. Just list all URLs in the XML Sitemap. Orphan pages rarely rank for anything but the most esoteric of search terms. If your web page isn’t good enough for even you to want to link to it, what conclusion do you think the engines will come to about the quality and worthiness of this page to rank?

51.   Google will not index pages that are only accessible by a site’s search form. This used to be the case, but Google has been able tofill out forms and crawl the results since at least 2008. Note this doesn’t give you permission to deliberately neglect your site’s accessibility to spiders, as you’d probably be disappointed with the results.

52.   Placing links in teeny-tiny size font at the bottom of your homepage is an effective tactic to raise the rankings of deep pages in your site. Better yet, make the links the same color as the page background, and/or use CSS to push the links way out to the side so they won’t detract from the homepage’s visual appearance! (I am being facetious here, don’t actually do this.)

53.   Using a service that promises to register your site with “hundreds of search engines” is good for your site’s rankings. If you believe that, then you may also be aware that there is a Nigerian prince who desperately needs your help to get a large sum of money smuggled out of his country, for which you will be richly rewarded.

54.   Home page PageRank on a domain means something. As in: “I have a PageRank 6 site.” In actuality it means nothing. As I already stated, toolbar PageRank is misleading at best, completely bogus at worst. Furthermore, a high PageRank on one’s home page doesn’t necessarily equate to high PageRank on internal pages. That’s a function of the site’s internal linking structure.

55.   Outsourcing link building to a far-away, hourly contractor with no knowledge of your business is a good link acquisition solution.And a sound business decision… NOT! As it is, the blogosphere is already clogged enough with useless, spammy comments in broken English from third-world link builders. No need to make it worse by hiring them to “promote” your site too.

56.   The clickthrough rate on the SERPs matters. If this were true then those same third-world link builders would also be clicking away on search results all day long.

57.   Keyword density is da bomb. Ok, no one says “da bomb” anymore, but you get the drift. Monitoring keyword density values is pure folly.

58.   Hyphenated domain names are best for SEO. As in: san-diego-real-estate-for-fun-and-profit.com. Separate keywords with hyphens in the rest of the URL after the .com, but not in the domain itself.

59.   Great Content=Great Rankings. Just like great policies equals successful politicians, right?

From
http://searchengineland.com/36-seo-myths-that-wont-die-but-need-to-40076

60.   Improve your SEO strategy for the new year and beyond
         To say SEO has “changed a lot” would be the understatement of the decade. We’ll often see multiple updates per year from Google – this year’s major Penguin update happened in September 2016, which made rewarding high-quality websites a part of its core algorithm.
         Today, successful inbound marketers must turn their attention to a long overdue focus on high-quality content. Marketers and SEO agencies worldwide have halted their obsession with link building and keywords and reprioritized for this specifically.
         This guide is going to point out all of the most common myths and assumptions about how SEO works and debunk them for you. Our mission is to ensure that you’re not wasting a single moment on things that simply don’t matter for SEO in 2017!

Form :
https://offers.hubspot.com/seo-myths


61. SEO is a scam
What the friggin' what?

Sadly, many business owners have been approached by less-than-ethical marketing vendors who promise SEO services but basically deliver nothing. If you are paying $49/month to a service that promises you top rankings in Google, it is almost certainly a scam.
That's not SEO.
Perhaps this most harmful of myths stems from those seeking quick and easy wins with little effort. Indeed, there are cases of SEO wins that meet these criteria, typically when a site has easily correctable technical problems. In other cases, SEO involves real effort andcommitment which often pays additional rewards beyond the increase in traffic.
62. Google will figure it out
No. No they friggin' won't.
Here's what many webmasters see far too often when they trust search engines to do their SEO for them.

The temptation of many website owners and developers is to throw as many URLs as possible—sometimes millions—at Google's crawlers and pray that their mysterious algorithms will magically deliver these pages to valuable users. Alternatively, even sites with a handful of pages expect search engines to do all the heavy lifting.
Google is smart, but not magic.

What's forgotten in this equation is that Google and other search engines strive to mimichuman behavior in evaluating content (and no human wants to sort through a million near-duplicate pages) and use human generated signals (such as links and engagement metrics) to crawl and rank results.

Every page delivered in search results should be unique, valuable, and more often than not contain technical clues to help search engines sort them from the billions of possible pages on the web. Without these qualities, search marketing is a game of chance that almost always loses.

63.We did SEO once
Congratulations. Buy yourself a cookie.
It's sad to see organic search traffic fall over time, but all too often that's exactly what happens when no effort is applied. Continually maintaining your SEO efforts is essential because of:
         Link degradation (a.k.a. link rot)
         Publishing new pages
         Evolving search engine algorithms
         The competition moving ahead of you
         Outdated content
         ...and more

For a small minority of sites, SEO doesn't need continual investment. My father-in-law's auto shop is a perfect example. He has more business than he needs, and as long as folks find him when searching for "Helfer Auto" he's happy. In this case, simply monitoring your SEO with the addition of a deeper dive 2-3 times per year may be sufficient.
For the rest of us, one-and-done SEO falls short.

64.Link building is dead (again)
Sigh.
Recently the SEO world got worked up when Google's John Mueller stated link building is something he'd "try to avoid."
Many misinterpreted this to mean that link building is bad, against the rules, and Google will penalize you for it.
In fact, nothing has changed that the fact that search engines use link authority and anchor text signals heavily in their search ranking algorithms. Or that transparent-hat link building is a completely legitimate and time-tested marketing practice.


I'm certain John was referring to the more manipulative type of link building, no doubt encountered frequently at Google. To be fair, this type of non-relevant, scaled approach to links should be avoided at all costs, and search engines have taken great strides to algorithmically detect and punish this behavior.

Marketers build links in a number of natural ways, and attracting links to your website remains darn-near essential for any successful SEO undertaking. If you need help, we write about it frequently.

65. I want to rank #1 for "magic keyword"
No. No you friggin' don't.
Look, here's a personal example. I really want to rank #1 for "SEO" because Moz offers SEO software. Because of our Beginner's Guide to SEO. Because SEO is our lifeblood.
But we don't, and it doesn't matter.

Moz typically ranks #2-3 for "SEO". It sends good traffic, but not nearly as good as the thousands of long-tail keywords with more focused intent. In fact, if you went through our entire keyword set, you would find that "SEO" by itself only sends a tiny fraction of our entire traffic, and we could easily survive without it.

The truth is, when you create solid content focused around topics, you almost always receive far more (and oftentimes better) traffic from long-tail keywords that you didn't try to rank for.

The magic happens when visits reach your site because the content matched thier needs, but not necessarily when you matched the right keywords.

66.Google hates SEO
Some days, it feels that way.
In truth, Google's relationship with SEO is much more nuanced.
1.            Google readily states that SEO can "potentially improve your site and save time" and that many SEO agencies "provide useful services." Google even advises "If you're thinking about hiring an SEO, the earlier the better."
2.            Google published their own SEO Starter Guide. While a bit out of date, it certainly encourages people to take advantage of SEO techniques to improve search visibility.
3.            Google Analytics offers a series of SEO Reports. Keep in mind, these are almost laughably unusable due to the handicapped data quality.

While Google seems to encourage search engine optimization, it almost certainly hates manipulative SEO. The type of SEO meant to trick search engines into believing false popularity and relevancy signals in order to rank content higher.
In fact, many of the myths in the post boil down to some folks' inability to distinguish between hard-working SEO and search engine spam. Which leads us to:

67.SEO is dead, because Google Answers
It's scary for SEOs when we ask Google a question and see an actual answer instead of a link, as in the example below. It's even more frightening when Google takes over entire verticals such as the weathermortgage calculators, or song lyrics.
With the flip of a button, it seems Google can wipe out entire business models.

In reality, search growth and traffic continues to grow for most industries. Consider the following:
         World Internet and search activity continues to rise, particularly in the mobile sector. This generally indicates that more users are performing more searches on a greater number of devices.
Anecdotal evidence further suggests that even when presented with answer boxes, a large number of users click through to the cited website.
People want answers, but at least for now they also want their websites.

68.SEO is all tricks
Really? This is plain sad. Somebody make me a sad salad.
"Tricks" is what professionals call bad, manipulative SEO that gets you penalized. The problem, I believe, is the first thing any developer or marketing manager hears about SEO is something close to "put more keywords in the title tag."
If that's all SEO is, it does sound like tricks.
Real SEO makes every part of content organization and the browsing experience better. This includes:
1.   Creating content that reverse engineers user needs
2.   Making content more discoverable, both for humans and search engine crawlers
3.   Improving accessibility through site architecture and user experience
4.   Structuring data for unambiguous understanding
5.   Optimizing for social sharing standards
6.   Improving search presence by understanding how search engines generate snippets
7.   Technical standards to help search engines categorize and serve content to the right audience
8.   Improving website performance through optimizations such as site speed
9.   Sharing content with the right audiences, increasing exposure and traffic throughlinks and mentions
Each of these actions is valuable by itself. By optimizing your web content from every angle, you may not even realize you're doing SEO, but you'll reap many times the rewards.

69. PageRank
Actually, I like PageRank.
But it's still a flippin' myth.
PageRank was an incredibly innovative solution allowing Google to gauge the popularity of a webpage to the point that they could build the world's best search engine on the concept.

Despite what people say, PageRank is very likely still a part of Google's algorithm (although with severely reduced influence). More than that, PageRank gave Google the ability to build more advanced algorithms on top of the basic system.

Consider concepts like Topic Sensitive Page Rank or even this recent paper on entity saliencefrom Google Research which highlights the use of a PageRank-like system.

The source of many bad myths
So why is PageRank such a bad myth?
1.   Toolbar PageRank, the PageRank most SEOs talk about, will likely never be updated again.
2.   PageRank correlates poorly with search engine rankings, to the point that we quit studying it long ago.
3.   PageRank is easy to manipulate.
Fortunately, Google has moved away from talking about PageRank or supporting it in a public-facing way. This will hopefully lead to an end of people using PageRank for manipulative purposes, such as selling links and shady services.
If you're interested, several companies have developed far more useful link metrics including Majestic's Citation FlowAhrefs Rank, and Moz's Page and Domain Authority.

70.  Social activity doesn't affect SEO
At this point, I barely have strength left to argue.
Explaining this myth could take an entire post, so I'll boil it down the bare facts. The basic argument goes like this:
"Google says they don't use Facebook likes or Tweet counts to rank websites. Therefore, social activity doesn't matter to SEO."
This statement is half right, but can you guess which half?
It's true that Google does not use metrics such as Facebook shares or Twitter Followers directly in search rankings.
On the other hand, successful social activity can have significant secondary effects on your SEO efforts. Social activity helps address two of the major tasks facing SEOs:
1.   Search engine discovery and indexation
2.   Content distribution, which leads to links and shares
Perhaps no one explains it better than AJ Kohn, in his excellent Social Signals and SEO.

from
https://moz.com/blog/seo-myths#comments

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