Top 12 SEO myths explained

Morten Frølich January 5, 2021 seo

Top 12 SEO myths explained

The web is overloaded with guides, manuals, and blogs about anything from flower pruning to SEO optimization. Some advices can be extremely useful, and some aren’t true, and that’s why they have become myths. Some myths are harmless, while others can make you waste precious time and money. In this blog post, we take a look at the top 12 SEO myths (in no selected order) and explain why they have become myths and not examples to follow.


1. Content is king

Have there been a more used and emptier phrase in the digital world the last couple of years? Content is by default vital for your website. Great content is what attracts, engages, and retains users, but only if you do a prober job SEO-wise. Great content without good on-page SEO isn’t worth a lot, so always remember that the one doesn’t replace the other.


2. Long-tailed keywords are easier to rank for

No, not really. Despite the fact that long-tailed keywords have fewer monthly searches compared to short-tailed keywords, the scores of the two types of keywords are roughly the same, meaning that Google most often ranks the same set of results for a long-tailed keyword as for the short-tailed keyword of the same topic. And remember that a long-tailed keyword can anything from 2 words and up, which means that there are many types of long-tailed keywords, and the only type that can give you a better average ranking than short-tailed keywords, are the “topical long-tails”.

If you want to know more about these types of keywords, try reading Ahrefs long-tailed keywords guide.


3. Keywords are key

Well, not so much anymore. When the digital world was in its infancy, keywords did give you top rankings, but today there are hundreds of other SEO ranking factors. You should have keywords in your meta-titles, meta-descriptions, and so forth, and a typical piece of content writing should have 1-2 % of keywords, but there are examples of sites with top rankings with almost no keywords in the content. In essence: Don’t focus all of your SEO-attention on keyword research and optimization.


4. Keyword research isn’t necessary

Even though keywords are not as important as they used to be, they are still important. Especially given the ever-evolving nature of digitalization and e-commerce. Markets and customer behavior are always changing, so keyword research on a regular basis is necessary.


5. Paid searches improve organic results

Paid efforts do not directly affect organic rankings. There’s a lot of protection between the two – a thick Google wall separating paid and organic content. You might experience that your organic ranking improves with PPC, but that’s merely because you attract attention and get more clicks.

There are however a lot of indirect things that can cause your paid and organic content to intersect.

For more info on that, read the Moz bible.


6. Google hates black hat link building

This is not a myth, it’s a truth. Black hat link building and black hat SEO in general, can get you banned from search engines. If you want to build a long-term and solid business and stay friends with Google and other search engines, stay away from all things black hat.

For a thorough definition of black hat SEO, visit


7. Long form content = top rankings

Sometimes yes, but not always. There are many examples of short content out-performing long content, but it’s not a competition. The one isn’t better that the other, it’s two different ways of producing and displaying content. A good rule is to always go for what’s user friendly, text-wise and image-wise.

For an in-depth read on the subject, visit Search Engine Journal.


8. Social signal isn’t a ranking factor

Yes, it is, despite what Google says, and it shouldn’t be an issue, and definitely not a myth. Everyone knows how much traffic social media pages can direct to websites, and all studies suggest there is a high correlation between social signals and ranking factor.

For more info about what you can do to improve your website rankings, check out Backlinkos guide to Google’s 200 ranking factors in 2020.


9. Title tags and meta descriptions aren’t important

Yes, they are. They are about the most important parts of SEO there are. Search engines and users use these two elements to determine what your webpage is about, and if it’s of relevance. You’ll lose a lot of traffic, if you don’t optimize the title tags and meta descriptions.

Important facts about title tags and meta descriptions:

  • Your title tag should be no more than 60 characters.
  • Your meta description should be no more than 160.
  • Your title tag and meta should include your core keyword.


10. SEO is magic

No, it’s not, it’s hard work. If you put in the effort, great things can happen, but only if you prioritize the right amount of time and energy.


11. SEO is a one-time effort

Again: No, it’s a continuous effort, an ongoing process that changes according to your market and your users.


12. SEO is dead

Third time’s the charm: no, it’s not. It’s an expanding universe of it’s own, and it always will be, because Google are constantly changing and developing new algorithms to keep everyone at their toes.



What is a SEO myth?

A SEO myth is a widely held but false idea or belief regarding something SEO-related.

How many SEO myths are there?

A lot, and new SEO myths keep popping up every month, because of the ever-evolving nature of digitalization and e-commerce.

How do I distinguish between a SEO truth and a SEO myth?

There are tons of so-called experts who think they know the exact truth about SEO. You should therefore always be skeptical when reading about SEO, but the web is a world where the many outweighs the few. In general, the more people that say a certain SEO truth is a myth, the more it’s likely to be accurate, but always keep a critical view.

What is the biggest SEO-myth?

Good question! A qualified answer could be the myth that “SEO is death”. Nothing could be further from the truth. The importance of SEO cannot be understated and working on your SEO will always be on-going.
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