The Seven Most Popular SEO Myths

Ensuring that a website’s rankings are as high as possible is not an easy thing. I’ve noticed over the years that some folklore has crept into the picture, oftentimes mystifying how SEO works best. Simply put, high-quality content, careful measurement, and performance fixes should be an integral part of the SEO professional’s acumen. Beyond that, here are here are seven popular search engine optimization myths that need to be left behind:

Guaranteed Rankings

Employing SEO solutions is a great way to help with content marketing and metric analysis, leading to adjustment in SEO optimization. However, Neil Patel calls this the most interesting SEO myth out there, as it is impossible for any SEO to guarantee rankings of any kind. BMG Creative takes this even further, saying it would be unethical for any SEO professional to make such a promise. SEO is always changing, and while there are techniques that can improve rankings there is never a sure thing in SEO with rankings affected by more than just strategy offered by an SEO.


It’s All About The Links

Low quality links do little to improve rankings, and should be avoided. Aleh Barysevich of Search Engine Journal offers this year’s four most important ranking factors according to industry studies, stating that links will only result in a higher score when they come from diverse and authoritative domains. Backlinks are important in Google’s ranking, but their algorithm has become much smarter and eliminate most of the bad links from their results. Meanwhile, Barysevich explains, when your content has high-quality backlinks there are three different and important ranking signals hit: the number of backlinks, the authority of the links, and the link diversity. By utilizing the best link possible under these guidelines, it dramatically helps to optimize your page.

Read more tips on improving your website here

SEO Is (Random) Magic

For those who do not understand the intricacies of SEO, it may seem like random magic, but in reality SEO is made up of carefully constructed words and phrases that are employed as part of a long-term marketing strategy. SEO professionals have to not only be aware of the current SEO algorithms, but when those algorithms are updated or changed, SEO professionals have to constantly be updating and changing their work as well. Employing SEO is a marketing strategy that is meant to be a long-term work in progress, not an overnight, immediate success; it is important to stay far away from any SEO professional that promises such random success.

“Magic is not a method, hope is not a strategy” – Anne Ward

Exact Match Domains Rank Higher 

Exact match domains (EMDs) may initially rank higher in search results, but now it is more common that exact match domains are considered to be spam  more often than a legitimate website would be. Search Engine Watch’s Christopher Ratcliff explains that the problem with EMDs is that they are used to try and game the search engine algorithm, and while it may pay off in the short term, it’s a risky bet long-term.


SEO Is Highly Complex

While there are some who say SEO is a scam, there are others who are overwhelmed by the prospect of SEO because they believe it is a highly complex specialization. While the SEO world is constantly changing, Walnut SEO explains that some education in the field, along with the desire to stay on top of trends, makes SEO much easier to understand and utilize.

SEO Professionals Can Ruin A Business

Most SEO professionals are just that: professionals, but there are some warning signs to look for if you are afraid that your SEO professional is going to ruin your business. Eric Enge, SEO expert, offers 12 warning signs to look out for, including watching out for a SEO professional that does not share what they are doing, if their explanations make no sense, and/or their guarantees are too good to be true. While an SEO professional has a lot of power, the only way a business could be ruined is if the business owner or leaders blindly follows the advice of an SEO expert without doing their own research first.

SEO Is Expensive

The myth that SEO is expensive fails to take into account the value of employing SEO as a form of marketing that results in increased traffic to the intended website. There is no harm in making small, short-term investments for SEO, which can be more effective than traditional marketing efforts. Ensuring that the right SEO professional is utilized with the skills to merge SEO and content marketing, the cost of SEO will be offset by an increase in revenues.

Read more about SEO strategies in Anne Ward’s new book SEO Battlefield here.

Read more tips about improving your SEO strategies at Tech.Co

Did you find this article helpful? Click on one of the following buttons
We're so happy you liked! Get more delivered to your inbox just like it.

We're sorry this article didn't help you today – we welcome feedback, so if there's any way you feel we could improve our content, please email us at

Written by:
Anne Ahola Ward is a Futurist, O'Reilly Author and CEO of CircleClick Media, founded in 2009. She was a web developer for 10 years, and through her love of analytics, Anne transitioned into the field of SEO as the field was forming. She is currently writing the next SEO book for O’Reilly, entitled The SEO Battlefield: Winning Strategies for Search Marketing Programs, available for purchase now on and Barnes & Noble.
Back to top