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Outdated SEO Myths You Really Should Ignore

  • Post category:SEO
  • Reading time:10 mins read

SEO is a constantly evolving beast, so fresh content plays a key role in most SEO-related queries. Outdated SEO myths tend to prevent marketers from improving their search traffic and website rankings. This post will explore a handful of these outdated SEO myths and why you should totally ignore them.

Ever come across a post or video claiming with absolute certainty that the end of SEO is on the horizon? Well, this couldn’t be any further from the truth. This sort of junk runs amuck on the web. Thus it’s no surprise that so many have succumbed to this genre of misinformation. There are thousands of outdated SEO myths swirling around out there on the web. However, only a few of them have withstood the test of time. It’s time that we squash these flat out lies once and for all.

The following post discusses 5 outdated SEO myths that simply refuse to go away.


Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

SEO is dead is the ultimate outdated SEO myth

Since the dawn of the search engine age, there have been those who’ve forecasted the end of search engine optimization. New content constantly pops up claiming that X is dead or Y is no longer worth your money.

The SEO strategy process is becoming more and more difficult by the day. However, the idea that SEO is on the outs is most certainly an outdated SEO myth. SEO still plays a critical role in organizations that are looking to grow. The same rings true for a rising star in the startup world or even an aspiring blogger.

The value of ranking on SERPS

Some marketing gurus argue that paid search and Google Packs have reduced the value of reaching the top of SERPs. This could be true…to a point. However, does it make occupying the top tier of Google SERPs any less valuable? I don’t think so. A popular study by Backlinko shows that the first position on Google SERPs reels in 31.7% of clicks. This my friend is pure fact, not an outdated SEO myth.

Compare that with the clickthrough rate (CTR) of a page in the #10 slot on page one. The 10th listing on the first page only reels in 3.1% of the total clicks. That’s a 90% dropoff!

Curious about what the figures look like for the second page of search results? I was too.

The figures are bleak at best if your site is struggling to make it onto the first page. The second page of results accumulates less than 1% of the total clicks.

A relatively similar study conducted by Advanced Web Ranking at the start of 2020 reveals some interesting stats. The study found that the top search result garners roughly 36% of the total clicks. This is a stark contrast to the last result, which reels in just over 1% of the total clicks.

This figure on its own totally justifies the value of competing for a top spot on any and all SERPs.

Think about it… 90.63% of all the content that gets created receives no traffic from Google. Do you really think you can rank sites without SEO?

SEO is a quick fix is a totally outdated SEO myth

Okay, so we’ve successfully established that SEO is alive and kicking in 2021. Now it’s time to an outdated SEO myth that has plagued marketers since the dawn of the internet.

Like all great things in life, SEO takes time. Patience is truly a virtue in this instance.

Yea, you can squeak out a few quick wins. However, patience is truly the name of the game when it comes to SEO. Let’s be clear here, there is one thing is for certain – it doesn’t happen overnight. There is one caveat here…domain age does play a minor role in SEO rankings…but it’s nothing to freak out over.

The real differentiating factors that you should focus your efforts on. The primary factors that you should fret over are the quality of your content and the backlinks you acquire.

Whether you’re doing SEO on your website, or someone else’s, the question of time will most definitely come up. It typically happens sooner rather than later.

To put things in perspective, Ahrefs analyzed data from 2+ million random keywords and their top 10 SERP rank. The purpose of this study was to see how long it takes for content to gain traction in the SERPs. The research shows that the average page in the top 10 results is 2+ years old. Furthermore, the average number one result is almost three years old.

Compare this with pages that are less than 12 months old. A strong correlation between the age of the page and ranking in the search begins to take shape.

On average, only 5.7% of pages ranked in the top 10 in less than a year from their publication date.

All in all, there are no quick fixes when it comes to SEO.

SEO is a one-step solution is another huge outdated SEO myth

You essentially have two options when it comes to SEO:

  • Opt for an outside agency or bring on a talented in-house marketer
  • Learn the craft of search marketing and get sucked into the cult

Regardless of which option you pursue, you’ll notice an overall improvement in the effectiveness of your website.

However, anyone who tells you that you only need to optimize for search once is an outright liar.

If you’ve never optimized your site, a complete technical and content-based audit will score you some quick and long-term wins. However, in order to reap the full benefits of good SEO, it must be seen as an ongoing process. You need to regularly assess this process to ensure that it is working as effectively as humanly possible.

It’s also helpful if you keep your website aligned with the various algorithmic changes that Google releases each year. This in itself can be rather exhausting depending on how the demigods at Google feel. These sometimes minor – sometimes major – “core updates” can have quite the impact on your SEO rankings.

A stellar example of sites that Google hit hard with updates were those that relied on Private Blog Networks (PBNs). Up until a few years ago, PBNs were wicked effective. They were also a simple way to create backlinks and essentially manipulate Google’s algorithms. However, Google hit back crazy hard in 2014 and all but crippled any site that relied on a PBN.

This example goes to show why it’s important to stay on top of the SEO scene. Techniques that work today could easily wreak havoc for you tomorrow.

In short, if you business depends on search rankings for success, you must view SEO as an ongoing investment.

Lastly, a one and done approach to SEO simply will not cut it.

Keyword density is vital for SEO success

The value of keyword density is one SEO myth that is seriously outdated. No one is really sure why, but it simply will not go away.

The overarching concept of keyword density is exactly what led to the practice of keyword stuffing. This archaic practice is simple. You simply jammed your keyword into your post as many times as possible whether, or not, it made sense.

Back in the day, keyword was a straight up homerun for rankings. However it led to unnatural content that neither made sense, nor was of any value.

Keyword stuffing is now a clear violation of Google’s Search Quality Guidelines. So if you’re engaging in this sort of practice, you’re just asking for trouble.

Keyword stuffing has been discredited as a worthwhile metric. However, there are still those who use it as a means to guide the way they go about creating content.

On that note, keyword density is essentially an old school way of creating content. However, keyword frequency and placement still play a crucial role in search engine optimization.

NLP & LSI keywords

Google makes use of NLP and LSI keywords to match the user’s intent behind the search query. This is done so as a means to improve search results. As a matter of fact, Google’s BERT update takes its name from NLP technology. If you’re not aware, BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. This is how we know for sure that Google employs NLP to improve search results. Sadly, Optimus Prime has nothing to do with BERT.

The above may lead one to wonder if a hearty dose of LSI keywords really help boost your rankings too? Are LSI keywords the new version of keyword density in terms of content for our modern era?

Regrettably, the answer to this one is tricky. Some claim to have had great results by using LSI keywords. Other, not so much. Some even question whether they exist at all.

Ask any SEO for their thoughts on the most important ranking signals for Google in 2021. Odds are that backlinks are among their top three. Many agree that quality backlinks are second only to the relevance of the post as the most crucial ranking factor.

This would lead one to confirm that link building is alive and well. However, low quality, irrelevant links simply will not cut it these days.

As we’ve already discussed, not all backlinks are created equal. Furthermore, any link building campaign that emphasizes quantity over quality will ultimately fail. Certain backlinks, such as dodgy citation links and those from obvious PBNs, can prove to be disastrous for your rankings.

Google will hit you with a stiff penalty for any attempt to manipulate search algorithms via artificial methods. Pushing low-quality links is one of these practices that Google frowns upon. A great way to develop strong backlinks is to create top-notch content to which other sites will want to link.

Building links through outreach to promote and share your content can be extremely beneficial. This is true for both SEO and raising overall awareness of your brand.

Think about it for a second, if people can’t find your content, how can they read it. It’s like screaming in space…no one can hear you.

You may want consider using:

  • Email marketing
  • Social media
  • Facebook ads
  • LinkedIn ads
  • Retargeting tactics

Link building is without question a key factor in 2021. However, it’s never more difficult to obtain those high-quality backlinks that will make a legitimate difference.

Key Takeaways

SEO is a complex and complicated beast. The industry has grown alongside the internet, so it’s a niche worth upwards of $80 billion worldwide. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that numerous SEO myths have formed over the years. Especially since the industry is both complex and growing at an exponential rate every year.

All you can really doe is ensure that you’re staying current on changes. This way you can continue to grow your business and remain profitable online.

Andrew Roche

Andrew Roche is a Digital Consultant at Shift Digital. He is also pursuing an MBA in Marketing & Finance through the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University

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