Some days in the world of SEO, it feels like “Groundhog Day” – the classic 1993 movie where Phil Conners (played by Bill Murray) repeats the same day over and over.
But instead of the day repeating, one question gets asked over and over and over. It usually goes something like this: what are some common SEO myths you always hear that need to be debunked?
The topic of SEO myths and conspiracy theories is popular. We recently featured an article on myths (11 conspiracy theories about search, Google and Big Tech) here on Search Engine Land and have published several others in past years. So we won’t go into any actual myths or debunking here.
The bigger question is: why does your boss (and/or your co-workers and/or your team) keep asking you about these SEO myths? Or how did your client hear about some random, long-ago debunked tactic? Shouldn’t they know better?
Well, no. Not always.
Part of your job is to understand and educate them about how search actually works – why E-A-T isn’t a ranking factor, why Domain Authority isn’t a metric Google uses or why LSI keywords are a ridiculous concept.
Read on to learn about the top reasons people believe SEO myths and how some SEO practitioners deal with them.
SEO myths sound believable when repeated enough times. Misinformation tends to spread in our industry. It’s shared in conference presentations, in blog posts, on social media, on podcasts and elsewhere. Before you know it, you’ve got a myth (or a new SEO boogeyman).
So if you find yourself in this situation, what should you do?
Holly Miller Anderson, lead SEO product manager, North America, at Under Armour, put it this way: “Educate. Don’t argue.”
“One of the best things SEO leads can do is to be as proactive as possible about educating your org and leadership team against SEO myths,” Anderson said. “Host talks as often as possible (i.e. lunch and learn style) about SEO myths and invite people to come in and hear some of the myths, share the ones they’ve heard, and provide different resources and proof.”
This creates a safer space for people to voice their opinion or understanding about SEO without being viewed as stupid, Anderson added. It also gives the SEO lead a forum to address myths in a non-threatening way.
2. Myths typically are the “easy answer”
SEO is “free traffic.” At least, that’s how many clients view it. At times, SEO is oversimplified, to the point where clients think all you have to do is x, y and z and then sit back and wait for all the rankings, traffic, conversions and revenue.
Well, often the “too good to be true” answers turn out to be just SEO basics. Table stakes. Everybody is optimizing their meta tags, answering questions, making mobile-friendly sites and trying to create “great” content.
Sometimes, even worse, these “easy answers” could actually be tactics that could inflict harm