7 reasons why people believe SEO myths

SEO myths vs facts

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.

1. Repetition

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

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Baseline analysis for your SEO strategy

Every campaign must begin with comprehensive research.

From making sure that your initial benchmarks are correct to performing an in-depth competitor analysis, you must make sure that your data is accurate and complete from the start. 

  • How is your site currently doing? 
  • What keywords are you ranking for? 
  • What keywords are your competitors ranking for?
  • How many links does your site currently have?  
  • What backlinks do your competitors have?
  • What errors does your site have from a technical standpoint? 

Launching an SEO campaign without gathering this data is like scuba diving at night without a headlamp. You will have no direction and can end up anywhere, possibly inside a shark’s mouth, instead of at the top of Google results.

This next section will go over various data points and where to get this information. For all of these data points, we use Semrush or Google products.


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Benchmarking using Google Analytics and Google Search Console

If you already have Google Analytics installed and acquire data, you can get various data points by clicking on Audience Overview, Acquisition Overview and Audience Benchmarking.

There are numerous tutorials on understanding Google Analytics, and most of the data is simple to understand.

If you are a Google Data Studio user, you can create a report to track and benchmark your data using one of the available templates.

Here are a couple of suggestions:

All-in-one Search Console template

Google Analytics Acquisition overview

Once you have explored Google Analytics and Google Search Console and have created your benchmarking reports, we can start analyzing data from Semrush.

Bird’s-eye view of your site’s benchmark report

We’ll start by getting an overview of how the website is currently performing. The following screenshot shows the Domain overview report in Semrush:

This report provides a variety of data points about the site’s current health, including: 

  • Organic search traffic
  • Paid search traffic
  • Backlinks
  • Top organic keywords
  • Top paid keywords
  • Total number of keywords that are ranking
  • Indexed pages
  • Keywords by Intent

You can click through this report to get more detailed information or export this report to get an overview of all of your initial baseline data.

Next, we’ll create an actual report to download with custom data. 

Create a baseline report

For this report, we’ll use the Semrush reporting feature.  

In Semrush, create a project for your site. Start by running a site audit. Once the audit data is complete, create a new report. Here’s an example of a baseline report template: 

Example report

You can use this template to create your own and use the Quick Modify to switch out the URL.

Organic research

Go to Organic Research and type in your website domain. The following organic research report will be generated:

Pay close attention to the numbers under Keywords, Traffic, Traffic Cost and Branded/Non-Branded Traffic. These are great metrics to track as your campaign progresses.  

Here’s what they mean:

  • Keywords: The number of keywords your site is ranking for in
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Toxic links & disavows: A comprehensive SEO guide

What is a toxic link? Are toxic links the same thing as spammy links? Can too many of these hurt your site’s ability to rank? 

If you are uncertain as to whether you would benefit from filing a disavow, this article should answer your questions.

A “toxic” link is generally considered to be a link that has the potential to harm your website’s ability to rank. However, not all SEOs are aligned on how to define toxic links and whether their presence actually could hurt your ability to rank.

Some will say that any link that would be considered an unnatural link as per Google’s documentation on link schemes should be considered “toxic” and could hurt your site. Others use the phrase to describe the type of spammy link that Google says their algorithms ignore. 

It is important to note that Google itself does not actually have a notion of “toxic links”. 

So why do SEOs use the phrase “toxic links”? 

Several well-known SEO tools aim to find and help you disavow unnatural links. Several of them list links that they have programmatically determined to be potentially harmful in Google’s algorithms. 

The idea is that you can use their tools to identify these “toxic links” that could potentially hurt your site, and then disavow them. 

I believe these tools are attempting to find all unnatural links pointing to your site. But in my experience, the majority of links that are returned by these tools are ones that I would consider spammy or “cruft”. Most of these really should be ignored by Google’s algorithms. 

I find that the truly toxic links…the ones that could have the potential to harm your site algorithmically (although you’d have to really overdo it, as I’ll describe below), are rarely returned by an SEO tool.

Before we go further, let’s define three terms I’ll be using throughout the remainder of this article:

  • Toxic links: Links a tool has identified as being potentially harmful to your site. 
  • Spammy links: The type of link no one would actually purposefully make in order to improve rankings but most sites accrue. Examples include links from sites that publish domain stats, random foreign language gibberish pages, wallpaper image site links, and sites like theglobe.net that link out to almost every site on the web. Spammy links could also include onslaughts of low-quality links in negative SEO attacks.
  • Manipulative links: Links that have been made with the intention of manipulating PageRank to improve Google rankings. Examples include paid links, links in articles for SEO, and other schemes that are designed primarily to boost PageRank and subsequently, rankings.

There can be some crossover between these definitions, which adds to the confusion. Google recently called some links in guest posts and affiliate marketing posts as potentially being seen as both spammy

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9 Essential Steps In Building A Winning SEO Strategy

Online shopping has taken over the world.

While people still run to the store to pick things up, the allure of buying just about anything from the comfort of your home is unstoppable.

From plumbing fixtures to pizza rolls, if you want it, you can get it delivered with the push of an app – without leaving the house.

And even if your business sells services, rather than products, there’s an incredible chance that the majority of people are shopping for it online.

This means ecommerce should be a focus for every company that’s selling something. And that means you need an increased focus on web traffic.

After all, you could have the best website in the world, with cutting-edge design, optimized for ideal user experiences, and copy that would make David Ogilvy gnash his teeth in envy, but if no one ever sees it, it’s not doing you an ounce of good.

You need to get found. And that, of course, is why SEO is a crucial part of any modern marketing plan.

You want to rank highly in search engine results pages (SERPs), so you get found organically by your targets.

However, this is much easier said than done. But don’t fret, we’re here to help.

Whether you’re an experienced professional looking to brush up on the fundamentals for a client or a complete newbie trying to figure out how this whole SEO thing works for your business, you’re in the right place.

Here, we’ll walk you through the steps of creating, implementing, and optimizing an SEO campaign that will have your site shooting up the rankings in no time.

What Is An SEO Strategy?

You’ve probably already figured out that an SEO strategy is your plan to make your website or landing page more appealing to Google and other search engines

The goal here is to rank higher and drive more organic traffic (and hopefully conversions).

It sounds simple enough, but there’s a big catch: Search algorithms are always changing.

As Google seeks to enhance the quality of its searches and provide users with better solutions to queries, its algorithms are updated several times a year.

What that means for SEO is that you can’t just set it and forget it. Every search engine optimization needs iterations.

You need to regularly analyze and course-correct to ensure you’re taking advantage of the latest best practices and strategies.

That’s good for SEO professionals – otherwise, we’d be out of jobs rather quickly

But it means a bit of a commitment for you.

To stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the world of search, you need to regularly consult with reliable sources (like this one).

Luckily, there are a wealth of resources you can mine for quality information. Whether you prefer articles, webinars or podcasts, there’s SEO content available for you.

Do You Really Need SEO?

Right now, some of you contrarians are sneering at your screen and asking if you really need SEO to find customers.

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9 roadblocks to Seo success

Search engine optimization can be a high-priced financial commitment, so, understandably, you’d want to do all the things to get the most out of your financial commitment. But, to do so, you want to be informed of frequent roadblocks that can hinder Seo results. 

In my working experience, 9 issues have historically saved my customers from having effects. Figuring out these roadblocks can help you get in entrance of them and avert them from creeping into your marketing campaign and derailing your progress. 

1. Not defining marketing campaign goals

If you really do not know what plans you’re trying to attain by means of Search engine marketing, measuring achievements is extremely hard. 

Similarly, if you have set ambitions but haven’t discovered any essential effectiveness indicators (KPIs), it’s hard to know how prosperous you’ve fulfilled your marketing campaign goals. 

There’s almost nothing even worse than possessing a variety in someone’s head (e.g., add 100 new sales opportunities for every thirty day period via Website positioning) and not discovering out right up until months into attempts and discovering that you are not undertaking to that expectation.

Defining objectives and KPIs and speaking these with your workforce will assistance you have a successful campaign and meet your bottom line. 


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2. Lack of means

Performing with a deficiency of assets is incredibly irritating, and it can hinder your Search engine marketing good results. 

Beneath are some illustrations of resources you need to have to operate a thriving marketing campaign and what can take place when you really don’t have them.

  • People today: A absence of human resources dedicated to Search engine optimisation can stall your marketing campaign and maintain you from building your preferred development. Search engine optimisation is a commitment that needs dependable perform from a devoted personal or staff. You can just operate on Seo when you really feel like it or have a number of excess minutes if you want to see good results. On top of that, you are going to generally want methods for material, UX, IT and other spots over and above Search engine marketing to implement Seo suggestions and ideas.
  • Funds: A deficiency of economical assets can significantly slow your marketing campaign. You have to have an Search engine marketing spending budget that can accommodate shelling out a personnel member or company to manage the campaign and purchase the necessary equipment to conduct essential Seo investigate and monitor your achievement. 
  • Resources: There are numerous analysis and reporting tools essential to thoroughly optimize your internet site. Though there are absolutely free selections out there, and you can make do with out acquiring a plethora of instruments at your disposal, you’re probably to hit a plateau that can slow Search engine optimization progress.
  • Info: Analyzing facts is an essential part of an Search engine marketing campaign at literally every single phase. You may be still left in the darkish without the need of the info needed to advise essential selections with
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3 SEO tools to build for your clients in Data Studio

With the wide variety of clients out there, you’re bound to run into the occasional DIY marketer. These marketers prefer that you teach them how to be self-sufficient rather than rely on you for every little question.

These clients can be a blessing but can also be dangerous. The challenging aspect of client management is finding the balance between empowering them to get the data they want without feeling like they don’t need you.

That’s where Google Data Studio tools come into play.

Data Studio is typically used for general reporting. The real beauty of Data Studio is that it can be used for so much more. 

By creating tools for clients, you enable them to do the actual research it takes to accomplish SEO while still providing that much-needed maintenance and guidance that comes with experience. 

This article illustrates free dashboard templates you can use with your clients. 

How to change the branding

Before we dive into the specifics, you may want to update the branding and logo of your dashboard. This process could not be easier.

Right-click on your logo, and you will see a menu appear. Near the bottom, select “Extract theme from image.” You will then be presented with three different color scheme options. Select whichever one you feel best represents your brand.

This will automatically change most of the colors and get you most of the way to the finish line of designing in your Data Studio tool. However, there may still be a few charts or texts you’ll need to update.

1. Technical SEO auditing

Tracking technical SEO efforts can be difficult to visualize. Sure, you can track it in a spreadsheet, but that isn’t client-friendly. 

For years, SEOs have attempted to make dashboard trackers to help show improvements in site health over time. 

Luckily, our friends at Screaming Frog have finally cracked the case of the perfect technical SEO dashboard. The best part? The template is free. You can see it here.

How to copy the dashboard

To copy the dashboard:

  1. Click on the three dots in the top right
  2. Select make a copy
  3. Select your data source (don’t worry, you can update later)

How to set up the technical SEO tracker tool

Screaming Frog has published a helpful guide on setting up this Data Studio tool. What they will walk you through includes:

  • Setting up a scheduled crawl
  • Configuring the export to a Google Sheet
  • Connecting that Google Sheet to the Data Studio dashboard

You can find the full tutorial here.


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2. Keyword research

The presentation of keyword research takes many forms. Most recognizable is the simple spreadsheet. Some people create keyword maps for each page or topic, while others with smaller clients have a short list of keywords.

However, Data Studio can be a powerful analysis tool for larger sites with tens of thousands or millions of keywords.

If you are working with millions of keywords, do not use Google Sheets

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