One thing is for certain, truthful information is getting harder and harder to spot. One of the least understood areas in marketing is SEO, which often leads to a lot of inaccuracy and myths being perpetuated. There are so many opinions and experts out there and it’s getting harder and harder to keep track of all of the new information - not to mention all the mystery surrounding Google algorithm updates and when they are actually testing them or do a full roll-out. After attending PubCon 2017 and in light of yearly planning season, here are six SEO myths that need busting:
Myth: SEO is dead
This is an opinion touted by many “SEO Experts," industry sites and communities; yes, SEO is not what it used to be, and the era of keyword staffing, directory submissions, and paid link outreach is well behind us, but search engine algorithms are not disappearing. They are still here - and more complex than ever. Make sure to include a discussion of SEO strategy in your 2017 planning.
Myth: Google does not like SEO
Google never said that SEO is bad practice. Yes, they penalize black hat SEO and webmasters that are trying to trick the algorithm. But the reality is that Google wants you to have good and well optimized website that simply follows the best practices - and they actually created a lot of good resources to help with this.
Myth: Duplicated content will cause a penalty
When marketers hear “duplicate content penalty," their fears increase as much as rankings decrease. Take a deep breath - it’s not true. The reality of 2016 is that a huge percentage of the internet is duplicate content, and Google knows it. How to avoid being penalized was not always transparent, but Google recently clarified best practices.
Myth: Link building is dead
Let’s make no mistake here–spammy link building is dead, but the importance of good links back to your website is far from gone. The difference lies not in how many links you have or what link juice they pass. It’s about us - the users. Web search continues to emulate life experience more and more, and as we all know, life is about connections. Think about links as connections that create the online experience for us. Credible sources that link back to your website are more important than ever. Focus on creating your link campaign around content strategy and the links will follow.
Myth: Penguin 4.0 is here and it’s ok to spam
Google announced the official roll out of Penguin 4.0 on September 23, 2016. For those who don’t know, Penguin is a program designed to catch websites that are spamming Google’s search results, and has been around for 2 years. The new update causes low quality links to be simply ignored, so Google can create more robust, real time results. So a lot of webmasters decided that it's ok to spam. However, detecting unnatural link profiles is still in the Penguin algorithm and any aggressive link spam techniques will be penalized.
Myth: SEO is something that can be done once for your website.
Wrong - the reality is that the Google algorithm is a constantly moving target. An on-going SEO strategy and consistent monitoring of SEO performance should always be built into your budget. And let’s not forget - SEO is much more than Meta tiles, description updates and other tricks for your website. If you constantly publish new content, want to have a dynamic competitive landscape, and care about link degradation and relevance, SEO should be an important part of your 2017 strategy.