Top 5 SEO Myths

SEO is a weighty subject, some people love it, some hate it, and nearly everyone is confused by it in some capacity. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and simply put is a set of practices designed to improve the appearance and positioning of web pages in organic search results.


SEO is a weighty subject, some people love it, some hate it, and nearly everyone is confused by it in some capacity. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and simply put is a set of practices designed to improve the appearance and positioning of web pages in organic search results.

In reality, SEO is a huge, ongoing process designed to increase traffic to your site, help your website to appear in Google’s rankings and SERPs, and ultimately encourage more sales and conversion. A lot goes into SEO, and there are also sub-categories of SEO for specific things, such as e-commerce SEO and local SEO.

We get it, it looks and sounds like a lot to take in. A lot of people feel the same and as a result SEO has given itself a bit of a shady name. As digital marketing experts we’ve heard about every SEO myth out there. So it’s about time we set the record straight on the top 5 SEO myths.

01 Word Count

02 Backlink Quality

03 SEO is a one-time implementation

04 PPC Influence

05 SEO is Dead

Word Count

“Content Needs to Be at Least … Words to Rank”

Everyone in marketing has heard the phrase ‘Content is King’. Content marketing is a pillar of SEO and one of the most useful tools companies can use to boost their rankings. Content marketing can be anything from blogs, to landing pages, location pages, and well-thought out, unique website content, and is a huge contributor to ranking websites.

One myth that every SEO specialist has heard is that content needs to be X amount of words in order to rank. And to answer if that’s true, we’d have to use the infamous SEO catch phrase “it depends”. Content does need to fit certain criteria in order to rank but being of a certain word count is not necessarily one of them.

Content, in principle, needs to:

  • Answer the questions of consumers at heart
  • Deliver accurate and helpful organic information that is relevant to your website or business
  • Contain relevant keywords and search terms
  • Allow search terms to appear organically

The amount of content does not directly come into consideration when Google is crawling content. However, for content to do its job, it needs to have keywords present and those keywords need to be relevant to the content and sound organic. It is easier and often more practical to meet these criteria in longer content.

Largely, it is recommended that there is 500+ words on a page. However, this isn’t always accurate. If content with only 300 words on the page meets all the same criteria, answers the search query with relevance, and is organically read, there’s no reason to suggest that this will not rank as well as a 1000-word blog doing the same.

This myth is perpetuated simply because the more content you write, the more chance you have of using variations of your targeted keywords, while smaller content will potentially miss this opportunity.

Therefore, there is no minimum word count, but it is always better to write more words than less. More content means more opportunity to rank for keywords and variations of keywords as it looks and sounds a lot more organic, and less like you’ve spammed keywords into an AI content generator.

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Backlink Quality

“The More Backlinks, the Better”

Backlinks are links from other sites and sources pointing back to your website. Backlinks are an important part of SEO strategies and increase the domain authority (DA) of your website. Domain authority refers to how trustworthy your website looks to Google and is a major factor for building higher rankings.

Backlinks have a host of benefits:

  • Represent trust in your site
  • Helps to rank legitimate articles
  • Helps boost DA
  • Improve organic rankings
  • Fast indexing
  • Improves referral traffic

A lot of SEO strategies focus on building an excess of backlinks to try to boost the domain authority of your site. This is a quick attempt to boost authority score which can be classed as ‘link farming’ and can be considered part of ‘Black Hat’ SEO strategies.

The reality is that quality is more useful than quantity when it comes to backlinks. Having 100 backlinks from low relevance sites can actually hinder the ranking of your site. Toxic backlinks are backlinks to nonsense websites, sites with viruses or malware, or other sites that have been spam created simply for a backlink. These will not help your SEO efforts, and in fact, will work against your rankings. It’s much better to have good quality backlinks from reputable and trustworthy websites, rather than countless links from throw-away sites.

In 2012, Google’s Penguin update was released, targeting and penalising sites with a bad backlink history or ‘unnatural links’. So, for people who purchase their backlinks, or manipulate backlinks in some way, your site runs the risk of being penalised by Google.

When it comes to backlinks, remember, quality over quantity.

SEO Is a One-Time Implementation

“Once SEO Has Been Implemented, Your Site Will Always Rank”

This one couldn’t be less true. SEO is a massive project that is essentially never complete. SEO strategies are ongoing, which means ongoing implementation, ongoing content, and ongoing efforts to not only rank but retain those rankings.

SEO will not work as a one time implementation, and this is because the market, competition, companies, and the search engines are all constantly evolving and rolling out new updates, media, and criteria. While SEO can be implemented for a small jumpstart, SEO strategies should be ongoing. This is because things take time to work, and longer to see a measurable benefit.

On average, SEO specialists will tell you it’ll take around 6-12 months to see a measurable increase in traffic. That’s not to say that you won’t see some movement, rankings or change in sales prior to that, but for the SEO implementation to take full effect, it is a long game.

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PPC Influence

“Google Ads Traffic/Performance Improves Your Organic Rankings”

PPC is ‘Pay Per Click’ marketing. It is a type of marketing which involves advertisers paying a fee each time their ads are clicked. Simply put you only pay for the advertising if it is clicked, which drives traffic to your site. There’s some misunderstanding of PPC’s influence on SEO and organic rankings, with some people under the impression that they directly affect each other.

PPC’s most popular technique is search engine advertising. It allows advertisers to pay for ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links. So, when someone searches for a keyword related to their business or services, they’ll appear in the sponsored links section at the top of Google’s search.

While this may seem like it is undercutting SEO efforts to reach the top spots, they actually do not tie together at all. SEO top spot rankings will have been awarded through organic keyword optimisation i.e content, backlinks. Through PPC, you will not rank for any of the keywords organically, as you are paying to be featured for those keywords.

While PPC has a lot of benefits and can work to increase conversion and sales, it is not SEO. PPC and SEO cross over in regard to keyword targeting, but not much else. SEO is how you drive organic traffic to your site through optimising web pages. PPC marketing is just paid ads that appear in the top and bottom of SERPs (search engine results pages).

SEO strategies will help you climb the rankings and organically reach the top spots in SERPs when certain keywords are searched. In Google’s words,

“SEO is an important tool for successful online marketing because it gives your business the best chance of being found, even if the optimization process takes a while to get right. PPC ads let you reach customers more immediately and customize your campaign on the fly.”

As highlighted above, Google Ads traffic and PPC campaigns do not directly affect SEO efforts at all. They are two entirely separate channels that briefly touch paths in regards to keyword targeting. While they are both ongoing strategies that marketers build & curate, PPC offers immediate traffic that is continuously paid for; SEO transforms your website into a tangible, traffic-generating platform that develops over time.

SEO is Dead

SEO has been a prominent strategy in marketing for over 20 years, but some marketing professionals think it’s time to call it and that SEO is a dead industry. This is for a few reasons.

Primarily, this is because there is a lot of confusion surrounding SEO. If you ask 10 people what SEO is, you’re likely to get 10 varying answers. While this may seem true, and we’ll admit; SEO is confusing, it is also not one simple, fixed thing. SEO will  have various objectives for different businesses, and while there are some general guidelines to what SEO is and how to implement it, each business’s SEO will need to be targeted, strategized, and implemented differently.

So, SEO is not all smoke and mirrors, it’s just… unique. You should be more worried about SEO ‘experts’ promising you top 3 positions in a month rather than an SEO saying “well, it depends..”.

Other reasoning suggests that SEO has no standards, and this is largely perpetuated because no one knows what goes into Google’s algorithm. SEO is all about appeasing Google and other SERP criteria. But the issue is that no matter how much work you put into your SEO, Google can release an update and tarnish all you’ve done. Which is why it is essential to hire SEO experts who have their finger on the pulse and genuinely understand the complexities of search results and the philosophy behind them.

Like everything, this often leads to some bottom-dwelling SEO ‘experts’ who add no value to the industry and just end up ripping people off, giving SEO a bad name, and leaving businesses with a bad taste in their mouth regarding SEO as a whole. At Sherbet Donkey, we’ve heard of a few of these and often have clients come to us and recall how they have been stung by SEO previously.

Despite all this, there has been an increase in demand for SEO. In fact, a poll concluded that 83.2% of participants in a recent poll agree that there has been an increased demand for SEO since the pandemic.

While it can be hard to prove this with data, anecdotal evidence suggests that businesses that struggled over the pandemic have turned to SEO and other marketing strategies to rebuild their online presence and gain more traffic. This suggests that businesses are aware of the benefits of SEO and have turned to SEO practices to improve their online brand and recover after the pandemic.

Additionally, the Search Engine Market Share Q2 2019 reported that 94% of all searches happen on a Google property, highlighting that search queries are still a popular way of finding information, and therefore, SEO is still worthwhile to gain more traffic to your site.

Ultimately, in our opinion SEO is not dead. Like everything else, it’s changing and adapting. The internet, Google, and how we intake information has changed in the last 5 years, let alone the last 20. Of course, SEO methods and implications are going to be different, they’re forced to keep up with the ever-changing Google algorithm. However, as long as users are searching for your services, SEO is very much a worthwhile investment for your company, and at Sherbet Donkey we have reason to believe SEO is the future.

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SEO remains a polarised industry, with many, such as us singing its praise. While other business owners and SEO sceptics remain opposed to SEO, largely due to the myths perpetuated, and bad experiences with agencies offering poor SEO.

As one of the largest growing marketing agencies in Worcester, we pride ourselves on our SEO services. Sherbet Donkey Media began as a way to change the SEO industry and repair the bad name it seems to have gathered. We regularly meet with clients doubtful of SEO’s potential, and while we understand the concern, we couldn’t be more confident in our SEO team’s knowledge, skill, and talent for delivering rankings.

If you’re looking to find an SEO specialist, get in touch today. We’re happy to discuss any concerns you may have and present to you an entirely different and more positive face of SEO and what it can do for your business. 

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