Sometimes SEO can be quite the mystery to solve.

With all the massive algorithm changes you can never be sure what actually changed, what remained the same, and what has been a total SEO myth since the dawn of search engines.

With all that said, let’s take a look at the most common SEO myths that are lurking around the web.

1. SEO is dead… again

Yes. SEO is dead.

Finally. We can all go home now.

Or is it?

Nobody knows exactly, but every year someone proclaims the death of SEO. Just take a look at the latest search results for “is SEO dead”.

Is SEO dead SERPs in 2018
SEO is clearly dead. This time for sure.

Jokes aside, this is my favorite SEO myth of all time. There’s literally zero evidence to support this myth, yet this topic comes up every year. SEO has dramatically evolved since I started messing around with websites and SEO back in 2007. And for the better.

Now it doesn’t take much to debunk this myth.

Google stock growth in the past 5 years.
Google stock for the past five years.

Unless Google has a sudden bankruptcy, SEO is not going anywhere any time soon. In fact, even small search engines like DuckDuckGo has had a massive increase in search traffic in recent years. Although, it’s still pennies compared to Google.

DuckDuckGo search traffic growth.

And it doesn’t stop there.

SEO-related spending could reach $80 billion by 2020 in the US alone according to Statista.

Search engine optimization marketing spending in the United States from 2008 to 2020 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Search engine optimization marketing spending in the United States from 2008 to 2020 (in billion U.S. dollars)

With such massive growth I don’t think SEO is anywhere near death. SEO is changing every year. If you’re doing SEO for a living then your job is to constantly be up to date on the latest changes.

Today this is extremely easy to do by following Google’s official webmaster blog. So far a few notable changes this year for Google were the implementation of mobile-first index, a page speed update, and a broad core algorithm update.

2. SEO is not necessary

Another common myth is that SEO is not really necessary. You just need to launch your website and everything else should fall into place.

Yes, this could happen if you have a truly incredible product. But that is rare. If your website is slow, or not mobile-friendly then you almost have no chance of ranking anywhere near the top in 2018 and beyond.

Even the most basic website optimizations can do so much good for your website. Plus, most of the tweaks can be done with basic HTML knowledge, or plugins if your website runs on WordPress.

Check out my SEO guide if you need pointers on how to get started with SEO.

3. Keyword density is important

Keyword density is another ranking factor that is still being pushed by SEO experts. However, it’s a simplistic metric which was easily abused.

For those who don’t know, keyword density is how often a keyword is used on a page compared to the total number of words. So if your page has 100 words and your target keyword is mentioned once your keyword density is 1%.

The formula to calculate keyword density is (KW/TW) * 100. Where KW is the number of times your keyword appears on that page and TW is the total number of words.

In the early years of SEO you could strategically stuff an article with your keyword to rank well. But content became barely readable by a human being.

That’s why in 2013 Google introduced the Hummingbird update, which focused more on natural language rather than specific keywords. Thus limiting the impact of this factor.

But if you don’t want to take my word for it here’s what John Mueller from Google has to say about keyword density:

We still occasionally see questions about the optimal keyword density: there is no optimal keyword density, just write naturally.

Or you can watch a video of Matt Cutts explaining how Google treats keyword density.

So my advice is stop worrying about keyword density and focus on writing great content instead. Include your main keyword at the beginning of your article and at the end. That’s really all the density you need.

4. Meta keywords & meta description

The next common SEO myth is meta keywords and meta description are still a ranking factor. Unfortunately, these tags were also abused by SEOs and spammers. So in 2009 Google officially announced that they no longer use both of these to rank pages.

However, writing a good meta description tag is valuable as it may be used by search engines as a text snippet. A good meta description has the potential to increase your page’s CTR (click-through rate) in the search results.

Hence, more traffic.

5. Exact match domain is better

If you want to rank #1 for a particular keyword then you should register an exact match domain name as Google gives priority to them.

Exact match domain simply means you register a domain name exactly with the keyword you’re targeting. So if you want to rank for “blue pillows” you would register something like bluepillow.com, or any other available TLD.

While, this tactic may still be beneficial for a really niche website for the sole purpose of placing contextual ads to generate revenue. This no longer works in niches with decent competition.

In fact, there’s almost no reason to register an exact match domain after the EMD update. As going for something brandable is much more viable long term.

How many websites with exact match domains you know today that are popular? Probably one – if you’re running it. Every other popular website is a brand.

So become a brand.

6. PPC can help your SEO

For some this myth may seem a little over the top. But there are people who believe that corporations which spend millions of dollars on Google Ads get better rankings in organic search.

That’s why Amazon, Walmart and Apple always dominate organic results. They simply buy their way to the top.

While this myth is a good excuse to not do any SEO on your website there’s absolutely no evidence behind it.

7. Guest blogging is no longer viable

Back in 2014 Matt Cutts published a post about the death of guest blogging which shocked every SEO out there. This resulted in thousands of articles proclaiming the “death” of guest blogging which continues to this day.

In my opinion, people simply misinterpreted what Matt said and started producing 9,937,836 clickbait articles on the death of guest blogging.

But if you don’t feel like reading that article here’s the short version.

If you’re outsourcing low quality articles and publishing them on low quality websites where anything goes then you’re definitely going to be penalized.

However, if you’re a real expert who provides value to a similar blog in your niche with high content standards then you have nothing to worry about.

Guest blogging is still alive and well. It’s just it’s no longer something you can easily abuse.

In addition, if you’re writing a sponsored post and link to the sponsor then you must use the nofollow attribute on that link. Otherwise, you may end up receiving a penalty.

8. Linking out is bad for your site

I used to believe that I shouldn’t link to other websites because it would hurt mine. My argument behind that was I don’t want pass any of my precious link juice. So to avoid that I would only link to pages within my own website.

It was my biggest mistake. Linking to other websites is mandatory as it’s one of many ranking factors of on-page SEO. If you’re really curious I suggest you read Reboot’s study on external links.

So my advice is don’t be afraid of linking to others. Sharing is caring after all.

In conclusion

There you have it – the 8 most common SEO myths that lurk around the darkest corners of the internet.

I know there are a lot more myths, misconceptions and misinterpretations on the topic of search engine optimization. But I found these ones to be the most predominant over the years I spent fiddling with SEO.

Have you been a victim of these myths? Do you know any other myths that absolutely annoy you? Share them below!