To say there’s a lot of bad information on search engine optimization floating around out there would be the understatement of the year. Due to the nature of Google’s ranking algorithm, they remain relatively quiet on which factors they use to rank webpages. As a result, webmasters are left to speculate and perform their own tests to see what works and what doesn’t. Unfortunately, this ambiguity has led to some common myths and misconceptions on the subject.
SEO Myth #1) Keyword Stuffing Works!
It’s no secret that Google scans the text content of website to determine which words and phrases it contains. Using this information, it’s able to better determine which keywords to rank it for.
However, there’s a general belief that stuffing a website with a certain percentage of keywords will manipulate its rank. Some webmasters adamantly believe they must fill their website content with a keyword density of 5, 10 or even 20%.
Chances are you’ve come across a website with a generic string of keyword-rich text that’s difficult for us humans to read. Google even gives the following example of ‘keyword stuffing’ on their official support page: “We sell custom cigar humidors. Our custom cigar humidors are handmade. If you’re thinking of buying a custom cigar humidor, please contact our custom cigar humidor specialists at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
As you can see, it’s highly repetitive and offers minimal value to the end-user.
It only takes a single sentence to convey the message that you offer custom cigar humidors, so don’t stretch it out for the sake of keyword stuffing.
If your goal is to build web content with a specific keyword ratio, you’re wasting your time. Instead of worrying about keyword density, focus your energy on creating quality content that people actually want to read. By building web content for your readers rather than Google, rankings will soon follow.
SEO Myth #2) Reciprocal Linking Is Beneficial For SEO
Reciprocal linking is the practice where two websites link to each other. About a decade ago, thin, low-quality websites could rank for high-traffic keywords in Google using nothing more than reciprocal linking, but the game has changed and webmasters must adapt or go extinct.
Reciprocal linking isn’t necessarily bad when used sparingly and in conjunction with relevant, authoritative websites. In fact, it can actually yield some decent direct traffic to your website, but you aren’t going to boost your site’s ranking up into a top position by exchanging links with hundreds or even thousands of irrelevant websites.
SEO Myth #3) Google Penalizes For Duplicate Content
A third SEO myth that we’re going to talk about involves duplicate content. Some people are under the impression that publishing the duplicate content will result in a loss of rankings. We’ll, I’m here to tell you that small amounts of duplicate content is perfectly fine, as long as it’s not the bulk of your site.
The fact is that duplicate content is everywhere; if you install and run a WordPress blog using the default settings, you’ll have the same content published in several different areas (categories, tags, author, etc.).
Using a template for your website also creates duplicate content known as boilerplate content.
So, what about publishing content that’s found on other websites? Simply copying and pasting a page of text from your favorite blog is probably illegal, assuming it’s copyright-protected. And besides, you wouldn’t want to publish the exact same content word-for-word that’s found elsewhere.
SEO Myth #4) High PageRank Translates Into High Google Rankings
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but having a high PageRank doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have a good Google ranking. PageRank was originally developed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin as a way for them to gauge a webpage’s ‘importance.’ It ranges from 0 being the least to 10 being the highest. Websites with a high PageRank hold more value and weight in affecting the PageRank of linked websites.
In the past, PageRank held a fair amount of weight in a webpage’s Google rank, but this has since changed. You’ll now find websites with no PageRank sitting comfortably in first for high-traffic keywords, while websites with a high PageRank fall into the abyss. The bottom line is that you shouldn’t expect a high Google ranking just because your site has a high PageRank.
SEO Myth #5) More Links = Higher Ranks
A fifth and final SEO myth is that building more backlinks to a website will help it rank higher. If achieving a first place ranking were as easy as this, you would see a lot more low-quality websites filling Google’s search index. Rather than focusing on backlink quantity, webmasters should strive for quality. Just a single link from an authoritative source is far more powerful than 1,000 low-quality backlinks.
These are just a few of the most common SEO myths out there. With Google constantly changing their algorithm, webmasters must adapt to stay in business.