I’ve been amazed at the common misconceptions that I continuously hear about search engine optimization.
I’ve talked with hundreds of business owners, entrepreneurs and marketing managers prior to launching SEO campaigns for their businesses. From Fortune 500 brands to local dentists, doctors, plumbers and accountants, I’ve fielded questions from people in many different industries.
Related: Is Your Organic Traffic Falling? Here’s What to Do.
My job is to teach prospective clients about what actually moves the needle from an SEO perspective and to erase the theories from their minds that will have very little benefit to their business.
Myth No. 1: Blogs will help your SEO.
For some reason, everyone thinks posting a blog on your own website will magically increase your SEO presence and make your website stronger.
If you have a very strong website to begin with, internal blogs can help drive more traffic to your site.
For example, I wrote a blog on The Media Captain’s site about Snapchat geofilters for local businesses. We’re based in Columbus, Ohio, and we received a lead from a pizza shop in Lafayette, Louisiana. This is the purpose of a blog: to drive traffic for long-tail keywords.
Here’s the deal, though: I’ve spent seven years, day in and day out, building the SEO for our website,The Media Captain. Because we have a relatively high domain authority at this point, this enables our blog to rank well nationally, which is the reason the pizza shop in Lafayette was able to find us.
Domain authority is a score (on a 100-point scale) developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engines. We like to use domain authority when comparing one site to another or tracking the “strength” of your website over time.
If you have a website that has a high domain authority, internal blog posts can be great. If you are in a line of work where there is not a lot of competition, you can rank well with blog posts as well.
Related: Your SEO Checklist: 4 Steps to Optimizing Your Website
If your website is new, however—or you have a low domain authority—posting a blog to your site is going to have hardly any SEO benefit.
People like to think that when you post an internal blog, Google will see your website receiving “fresh content.” Though this is not inaccurate, on a scale of 1-100, this scores a 1 in terms of how much it will move the needle for your SEO.
Tips to succeed with your blog strategy include:
· Write blog content for external websites, which will link back to your website and boost your domain authority. Backlinks are the foundation of Google’s algorithm.
· If you start writing content on your own blog, run a Facebook advertising campaign to promote your blog to drive traffic to the piece of content. It frustrates me when people write a great piece of content and don’t get any eyeballs on it because it doesn’t have any exposure.
Myth No. 2: All backlinks are created equal.
When I explain to prospective clients the importance of quality backlinks for their SEO strategy, some think that all backlinks are created equally. They believe that if you hyperlink on Facebook, Twitter or your email newsletter, this will help you rise in the ranks of Google.
This is not the case. On powerful social media sites, the hyperlinks you include in your posts don’t get counted as a link that will help improve your backlink profile.
A lot of websites also have what’s called a “no-follow” link. According to Google, “no-follow” provides a way for webmasters to tell search engines “Don’t follow links on this page” or, “Don’t follow this specific link.” This helps websites prevent untrusted content or paid links.
Related: 3 Tips for Choosing the Right SEO Agency
The backlinks you want pointing to your site are natural, authentic, industry-related and authoritative. Don’t get suckered into believing that all backlinks are created equally. Spammy backlinks can cause more harm than good.
In a prior Entrepreneur article, I listed a step-by-step beginner’s guide on “ How to Build Backlinks.” Read this article carefully, as it will help you formulate a solid back linking strategy.
Myth No. 3: You can get on Google’s first page for $99.
I know that everyone reading this article has received constant email pitches and phone calls about “First-page Google ranking for just $99.” There are a lot of lies in the SEO industry. There is no “quick solution” to get onto the first page of Google.
I’ve helped many businesses recover from Google algorithm penalties because they signed up with some oversees company for $99, and this “company” built spammy backlinks to their site, resulting in a Google penalty. (You can read a prior article on “ what your business needs to avoid the wrath of Google.”)
If you are really interested in improving your SEO, a strategy must be formulated. An expert should identify the services or products that drive the most revenue for your business, so he can deploy an SEO strategy based on your actual business model. Keyword research is involved, as is onsite SEO optimization.
If anyone guarantees you first-page ranking on Google within a three-month timespan, run for the hills.
Related: How to Improve SEO for Your Small Business
Myth No. 4: I have a contact at Google.
If any SEO professional tells you that he has a contact at Google and the conversation pertains to SEO, he is full of it.
Our agency is a Google Partner and we do have a contact at Google. This is for Adwords, the onlineadvertising beast that generates billions of dollars for Google yearly.
Google doesn’t have employees who can help businesses with their SEO. That’s the fascinating component about this industry; you have to follow the latest trends to make sure your SEO strategy aligns with Google’s constant algorithm updates.
Follow Barry Schwartz, Glenn Gabe and Marie Haynes . All are great SEO experts whose insight and opinion I highly value. There is also Gary Illyes, a webmaster trends analyst for Google, who provides best practices and insight.
Related: To Create a SEO Strategy, You’ll Have to Be Patient
Myth No. 5: Stuffing keywords is going to help me.
Long gone are the days where you could buy a domain name such as SEOCompanyDenver.com and rank at the top of search engines in the Mile High City. Google is looking for authoritative sites from actual businesses that receive legitimate online visitors.
If you have too many keywords stuffed into your domain, this can be viewed as a spammy tactic that Google can pick up on.
Including a keyword within your company is a good practice if it is a natural fit. Let’s say I wanted to start a commercial roofing company. A name such as “JP Roofing” would be a good option because it has a personal connection based off of my initials, and the keyword “roofing” will allow Google to clearly understand that I own a roofing company.
I’ve also seen many instances where a company will create a URL structure similar to the example below. They build out a ton of pages trying to rank for every single suburb in their area:
It’s a big no-no. Google can view this as duplicative content and a deceptive practice, which can do more harm than good for your site.
Jason Parks is the founder and CEO of The Media Captain. A version of this article originally appeared on Entrepreneur. Copyright © 2017 Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.