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5 SEO Myths Debunked

Nov 6, 2017
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While there are many SEO experts who share great advice with the masses, there are still many wanna be's who share and promote downright lies. SEO can be a powerful strategy when executed correctly. Sadly, many of these myths have lead people and businesses in the wrong direction. We are on a mission to help change that.

In the video below I share and debunk 5 of my most hated SEO myths. These myths I am about to debunk are:

  1. Keyword targeting has become irrelevant.
  2. Meta tags don’t matter.
  3. Including a target keyword in anchor text no longer matters in SEO.
  4. Guest blogging is dead.
  5. Long-form content = top rankings. 

 

Video Transcript: 

Hey, what's up, everybody? Welcome to Hack My Growth. Today we're going to be talking about five SEO myths that I absolutely hate and want to help debunk. All right. Let's go.

Thanks so much for watching. If this is your first time or maybe you've been watching for a while, we would love to have you join our community and hit that subscribe button below. We do a video every single week. We cover topics from SEO to growth hacking, inbound marketing, to really just how to be the best entrepreneur you can be online right here at Hack My Growth. We make sure that we have a video every single week, and that's why I'm even doing this one from my kitchen table because I wanted to make sure that we got a video out for you guys on Monday. And that you could really just dive into and gain some practical wisdom and this week specifically around SEO.

We're going to be talking about five myths, myths that I want to touch on and go into a little bit that I hear all the time, and I want to make sure that we debunk these so that you're focused on the right things.

Keyword Targeting

So, myth number one is that keyword targeting, or keyword research has become irrelevant. A lot of people started to put this myth out about 2013 when Google released Hummingbird. Now, Hummingbird was a rebuild of the Google algorithm. It was one of the first times in a very long time that they rebuilt the engine. What they were trying to do was make sure that context was more important.

Google was trying to help birth and to really grow semantic search and understanding cause and effect of different keywords. They wanted to build on what was going on with mobile and voice search, more of the conversational type of search.

A lot of people came out and were like okay, well, now keyword research is irrelevant; Google's going to focus more on the conversation and the context.

While there is an emphasis on conversation and context, that doesn't mean that keyword research is irrelevant. One, people still use keywords. People still search very similar phrases over and over again. Two, we need to understand what people are searching, and we have this data based on keyword research that shows us what they're doing.

So, Google hasn't stripped out keywords from the algorithm, or they don't not pay attention to keywords or keyword density within the text or inverse keyword density, keywords vs. document. They're looking at the document frequency. How often are you talking about this specific thing throughout your website? So, that's still a very, very important part of SEO. A very important part of content marketing is having the right keywords and the right phrases within the right context so that then Google can understand what your site is about and then be able to put you in the conversation of whether or not you should rank for a particular term or phrase.

Meta Tags

The second myth that we're going to talk about is meta tags. Now, a lot of people, again, say well meta tags are now irrelevant because Google is not paying attention to those anymore, not giving as much value to those as before. We know that they don't necessarily count the description when they're reading the description as a ranking factor. We know that now. They've told us that. But the title tag is still extremely important, and they do look at the title tag, and they look at the keywords in that title tag and how close to the front those keywords are and how important those keywords are to the rest of the content in the body, and that is a ranking factor.

And here's another kicker is click-through rate seems to be weighed in as well, and your meta description can impact click-through rate. Here's another kicker. When you can talk to the search engines in any way shape or form, take that opportunity to give them more context about your page. That means your meta titles. That means your description. That means you can even use meta keyword still. No, it's not a ranking factor, but it can help the search crawlers better understand what your page is about. 

Meta information is important because it gives more information about the content that's being addressed on that specific page. It's just like when you're looking at a database or something along those technical terms; you add meta information to describe the data. Well, that's what you're doing with HTML when you add meta information, you're describing the text. You're describing what's going on on this specific website page. So, the meta information is still extremely important, and when you have an opportunity to talk to the search engines, I highly recommend that you take that opportunity to give them a clear message.

Anchor Text

The third myth is that including target keywords in your anchor text no longer impacts SEO. There was a big push a few years ago about naturalizing your anchor text, and while that's important to have anchor diversity in your links, it's still important to have your core topics and phrases and keywords within the specific anchor text. 

Now, building links is a powerful part of SEO. It's maybe one of the most important if not the most important part. Not just from a rankings perspective, but also from a connection perspective in showing both people and search engines that you're liked by other people, that you are trusted by other people, and that you're willing to engage in conversation with other people and add value to other sites. But the words that are actually being linked matter.

Ahrefs did an amazing study on anchor text on their blog, and I'll make sure that that's linked in the copy (https://ahrefs.com/blog/anchor-text/) , and it shows that there actually is a correlation between anchor text and rank. Now, it's not going to be the most important, and I'm not saying to go and now just spam all your keywords and backlinks, but what I'm saying is it is important. And you should also have diversity in your anchor text, and it should be natural. It shouldn't look natural. It should be naturally like Matt Cutts was famous for saying, your links should appear to be natural, your linking should be natural, so I really want to emphasize that part of it.

But having those anchor texts inside the link is extremely important. Having your keywords within the anchor text, it does matter; it does play a big role.

Guest Blogging

So, number four, guest blogging is dead. This is a straight out lie. Now, Google did push heavy on guest blogging, and Matt Cutts was famous in 2014 for telling people to beware if you're guest blogging. And what Matt Cutts was saying is beware if you're guest blogging for the sole purpose of acquiring links. He didn't say that guest blogging was wrong. He didn't say that you couldn't blog for somebody else's site or be a contributor to somebody else's site. That's not at all what he was saying. But what happens a lot is Google says something, and we take it out of context immediately, and we just say well, Google says this, so that's the way it is. But we don't actually look at what Google says. 

One of the best lessons I ever learned from Eric Ward, who we recently lost, was that you really have to pay attention to what Google actually says. He would walk me through the statements, and we would look at the words, and if you really read what Matt Cutts was saying in 2014, he wasn't saying that guest blogging is dead and doesn't work. What he was saying is if you're doing it for the purpose of acquiring links and trying to game the system, you will get found, and Google was doing everything that they could to prevent that kind of web spam.

That was their job, to prevent web spam. It wasn't saying that guest blogging is no longer relevant because it is still a very powerful tool for content marketing and for link building when it's done in the right context, when you're doing it as giving value, providing value, you can still guest blog.

Long-Form Content

And the last one I want to talk about is content. You've heard the saying content is king. Yes, that's true, but no, it's not true. It's one of those weird kind of back and forth things. I prefer to say that context is king. You're content in the right context is what matters. Having content or long-form content specifically is the myth that we're taking of, that long-form content leads to higher rankings isn't actually true.

Now, there was a study done by Backlinko that reported that the average first-page result on Google has 1,890 words. Longer form content. So, everybody assumes as long as I'm close to 2,000 words, my page is going to rank higher. Again, we look at a statistic, and we automatically assume that that statistic is a rule or a fact. What it is, is a statistic, and it tells us something, but it doesn't tell us everything.

Rand Fishkin of Moz did a really good job of pushing back on this and saying it's not just about a lot of content or long-form content, but it's about generating the right content. And there are four things that he says right content should do.

  • It serves the visitor's intent by answering their questions and helping them complete their goals.
  • Right content delivers and is easy, pleasurable, accessible experience on every device in every browser.
  • The right content gets the right information and experience to the visitors fast.
  • The right content does all of the above better than any other competitor in their space.

So, what you need to do is take this into context and say how can I provide value, how can I get the right content to the right people faster and better than the competition? That's how you produce the right kind of content that's going to get the attention of, not just Google, but the users who are really the person you're marketing to when it comes to SEO and search marketing as a whole. 

So, that's five myths that we've talked about. Five myths that have been debunked. The first myth is that keyword targeting has become irrelevant. Keywords are still important. The second myth, meta tags don't matter. Absolutely wrong. Meta tags still matter in a big way. The third myth, that including target keywords within your anchor text doesn't matter. Again, wrong. You want to have link diversity. You want to have anchor diversity, but you want your keyword in those targeted anchor texts. Four, guest blogging is dead. Couldn't be further from the truth. Guest blogging is still an extremely powerful tools when done under the right circumstances. And five, that long-form content automatically equals higher rank, totally false. Long-form content can work if it's, more importantly, the right content.

Well, I hope you guys learned something on this week's episode of Hack My Growth. Again, please hit the subscribe button if you like the video and join our community. And until next time, Happy Marketing!

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works has also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing solutions.

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