Who’d have thought that three little letters could stir up so much pressure, debate, and flat-out malarkey? (Hey, it’s a great word!) 

Three little letters: SEO. Short for “search engine optimization.”

Keeping up with the algorithms of search engines like Google and Bing — with their seemingly endless shifts in SEO standards — is almost as difficult as actually mastering SEO for your own business content. (Or is it? More on that later…)

Everyone is dabbling in the basics of SEO now, vying to land on page one with stellar rankings in as little time as possible. This often results in “quick fixes” and myths about SEO that propagate rapidly  — some of which might be harming your rankings right now. 

Here are the 5 biggest SEO myths to banish from your 2023 marketing strategy, and help your business rise above the noise. 

Why are we still believing these 5 big SEO myths in 2023?

#1: The “one-and-done” myth

So you’ve optimized your page to seeming perfection. You’ve organically used your keywords in body, titles, URL, etc. You’ve got some links. The page speed is magnificent. You’ve got visual elements that are *chef’s kiss*. Most of all, it offers great value and hits the nail of what your audience really is searching for. You publish. And *boom* it drives traffic. Huzzah!

So you never have to optimize this page ever again, right?

Not quite. 

If Google’s maddening, dynamic algorithm has shown us anything, it’s that the way searchers look for content changes over time. Industry changes, geography, keywords, trends, needs, and intent all affect the relevance of a result for a given query. And search engines will adapt accordingly.

Once your page is ranking and showing up on SERPs (search engine results pages), it’s time for upkeep to maintain its ranking. It’s like working out your muscles — you don’t quit going to the gym after you achieve your goal; you keep going to maintain your fitness.

That’s why it’s so important to refresh your content and optimize as often as you can. This can be overwhelming, so finding an agency that can do the heavy-lifting of keyword research and recurring content crafting might be in your best interest here. 

#2: The “Google hates duplicate content” myth

Are you wary of repurposing content for fear of a “duplicate content penalty” from Google?

Well, now you can sleep without checking under your bed,  because there’s no such thing as a penalty for duplicate content.* 

*Important distinction to note: when we’re talking about “duplicate content” here, we’re referring to duplicating your own content — not someone else’s. If you duplicate someone else’s content, that’s called plagiarism. Don’t do that. Google doesn’t like it, and neither do lawyers.

Think about it: how many ecommerce sites or service-based businesses have product descriptions (headers, footers, etc.) that appear in multiple places on their site? Google is built to handle a certain amount of content repetition. A good rule of thumb tends to be ensuring that all content is at least 30% unique from the other content across your site.

This doesn’t mean you should cut and paste an entire page’s content to another. This bloats your site, and throws off crawl. However, sections of content that are duplicated across your site will not result in any negative ranking.

Now, keyword stuffing is another story. You can get penalized for that. Which leads to our next big SEO myth of 2023…

#3: The “high keyword density” myth

If your world wasn’t already rocked by the duplicate content revelation, here’s another one for you: the search engine doesn’t reward you for how many times your keywords appear in your content. Site crawlers will catch that “financial services best in Maryland 2023” that you stuffed into your content 25 times and promptly derank you. (For shame.)

Granted, keywords are still essential! Don’t think they aren’t, and certainly don’t throw them out of your content strategy. Instead, focus on just a few well-researched and well-placed keywords that connect with a well-qualified audience.

#4: The “buy all the backlinks” myth 

I have a special place in my heart for hating this one. Like me, you probably get a zillion emails a week doting over your content, making grandiose promises of mutually beneficial promotion —  if you just buy some backlinks.

Remember: as for keywords, it’s the quality of links in your content that matters, not sheer quantity.

If you’re purchasing links in bulk, you’re likely getting terrible-quality linking with “free-for-all (FFA)” pages that may place your brand alongside some pretty skeevy stuff. Plus, link schemes are definitely against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and will get you slapped with a penalty. Enough penalties could irreparably whack your SEO rankings (if not kill them). 

SEO guru Nathan Gotch reinforces that there are so many different ways to build SEO outside of backlinks, and indicates that, compared to all of the possible SEO tactics out there, buying links is a huge waste. 

But if you really want some links to drive traffic from other sites, go for organic outreach. We cannot stress organic, ethical outreach enough in this regard (or in general). Build real relationships that build real mutual opportunity, and then build your darn links.

#5: The “SEO is rocket science” myth

To be frank, the idea of SEO and its relationship with search engine algorithms is often mystifying. More often infuriating, for some. (I’ve only once nearly thrown my laptop out the window, thank you)

But the practice of SEO strategy itself is not rocket science. It’s fairly simple once you nail the essentials, namely your keyword research — that’s usually the timesink.

The pattern typically goes like this: 

  • Pick the keyword you want for reaching a niche, qualified audience.
  • Research who’s already ranking for those keywords, and what kind of content they’re using. 
  • Model your content approach accordingly, but build it better with some in-links (and no plagiarism!) 
  • Publish, and get to ranking.  

Of course, digital content marketing experts have a keen sense of staying ahead of the algorithm’s curve, and can do the mind-numbing keyword research so that you don’t have to. If this is an option you’re leaning toward, keep these myths about SEO and their alternative better practices in mind as you find the marketing agency that’s right for your content and SEO needs. 

“I need some serious SEO help. Where do I start?” 

There’s no replacement for great content — but strategic, informed SEO is the binding force that tells the searching world you’re right here.   

R Creative’s content marketing strategies leverage the most current SEO practices to help your company reimagine its digital effectiveness by achieving steady organic web traffic. Using competitive research and engaging storytelling, we boost your sales potential with every word.

Your next step to improving your content and SEO strategy is as easy as contacting us.

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