The Top 5 SEO Lies Revealed

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One of the most challenging concepts in content marketing these days seems to be the world of search engine optimization – SEO.  It seems that everyone and their brother has an opinion about how to tweak pages to get them to the top of Google search! 

But as Google continues to tweak its formula, and content marketing continues to grow as its own specialty as a part of social media marketing, there are some pretty persistent lies about SEO that keep hanging around! 

Since content marketing continues to increase in importance and value for customers, I wanted to go over the top 5 SEO lies you're likely to hear and answer them with the truths you need to know about effective SEO practices.

The Top 5 SEO Lies Revealed:

1.     It's all about on-page SEO

This is one of the biggest SEO lies.  Yes, keywords have importance, but that's only one piece of the puzzle for SEO.  Your SEO is a whole picture that uses on page optimization, off page optimization, user engagement, and conversions to determine the level of success.

2.     Keywords must match exactly

This used to be true in earlier days of search engines, but not so much anymore.  Don't try to "stuff" or optimize an awkward keyword phrase without adjusting it for readability. If you do, you'll shoot yourself in the foot by making a piece (or worse – its title) so awkward that no one wants to read it.  And if no one's reading it, they're certainly not converting in any way either.  

3.     Keywords must be present in a specific density

Again, this is a holdover from earlier search engine algorithms, but please, can we finally put this one to rest?  There is no magic number.  And if you include an exact keyword phrase in a way that is awkward – or "stuffed" too many times, it will actually work against you in both search engine results and your human readers.

4.     Any domain or microsite I own that links in to my site is a good thing

Search engines have complex algorithms and that even includes knowing who the registrant for each domain is.  If you own multiple domains and optimize each of them to boost your SEO, you are actually diluting your efforts!  Spend that time and energy creating valuable content on a single site and you will end up ahead. 

5.     It's all about getting ranked high on Google and getting my website found. 

Sure, getting ranked on Google increases the odds that someone will see your website.  However, if your content isn't interesting enough to get visitors to click through to your website or to keep peoples' attention once they arrive on your website, it won't provide any benefit whatsoever.  It's important to create a website with rich content that provides value.  It's also important to write well, especially when it comes to your titles and meta descriptions.  Again – it's not about keyword stuffing there either.  It's about writing titles and meta descriptions that adequately tell people what your articles and site is about and persuades them, very quickly, to click through and read your content. 

What other SEO lies have you heard lately?  Leave a comment below – I'd love to hear!


  1. says

    I find the keyword point interesting… I still see a lot of folks talking about an optimum keyword to post length ratio. Are there any specific numbers or ratios you've found reliable or would recommend?

    • Kim GarstKim Garst says

      I don’t think keyword density is as big of a factor as it used to be. I think Google is looking for conversational style content today.

  2. says

    All very good points.  Many traditional SEO strategies have been put to rest and now it seems like its all about writing good content and building a following in within your niche market.

  3. says

    THANK YOU for this! I have been researching how to increase my google ranking and these SEO lies were giving me a headache. I feel as though I am better prepared to optimize my blog. I just have to remember to use baby steps.

  4. Allison Walls says

    There are so many opinions about how to improve your SEO! It can get really confusing at times, so thanks for spreading this great info!

  5. says

    Thanks Kim, good information. I wonder if you know any advantage for sites that split one article into multiple pages so you have to keep clicking to the next page (personally, I've boycotted these sites in 2013); does it help them with SEO? Is it only to get more page impressions? I find it hard to believe there's a benefit, especially since people are reading on multiple devices where it's so much easier to just scroll. Thoughts?

  6. says

    Great article! So glad you mentioned number 2 because that one is the biggest headache! But so many so called "experts" are teaching it. Just sifting through to the truth is tough these days. Also for number 3 in your list,  most all the SEO plugins for WordPress or Internet based still use the keyword density factor. I go back and forth on the importance of this one!
    Why do you think many SEO tools still use density as a key factor?

  7. says


    Couldn’t agree more on the 5th point.  Before one even posts his very first content on his site, he must have set a vision beforehand – and this is to commit to maintaining quality content with of course, a unique value proposition.  He has to keep a focus on his target market, too.

  8. says

    The Internet runs on search. Do on-page SEO according to Google’s best practices. No matter how good your content is, no one will find it unless it is promoted.

    As Kim stated in 1. : “Your SEO is a whole picture that uses on page optimization, off page optimization, user engagement, and conversions to determine the level of success.” This is a true statement. It’s a process.

    Thanks Kim
    Look what Tom Coleman just posted..Overwhelmed? Outsourcing May be Your AnswerMy Profile

  9. Sulu fiti says

    Great article Kim. For a start up that I was involved with last year we hired a so-called ‘expert’ who pretty much followed all of your points like a Playbook. I wish that I’d done my own research into SEO prior to hiring him. You live and learn. Thankfully I’m far more knowledgable on the subject of SEO. Thanks Kim. I’m a fan from New Zealand.

  10. says

    A myth I’d like busted – or to know if it’s bustable – is duplicate content. Is it all right to have some articles on your site that you’ve written for other places (but kept copyright to) in order to help the reader experience and add some weight to your site, or should ALL dup content be avoided at all costs? SEO lie or not, please let me know!
    Look what Wandering Carol just posted..One day in MonacoMy Profile

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