SEO Mythbusting: What You Should Stop Doing Now





Blog Date

June 3, 2024


UK, Manchester

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SEO Mythbusting: What You Should Stop Doing Now

SEO Mythbusting: What You Should Stop Doing Now

Oh, SEO. Oft maligned, mangled and misunderstood, it’s nevertheless pretty mandatory for achieving sustainable success as a content creator. But with all the contradictory ‘expert’ advice out there, how do you separate the real important from the real big nothing? That’s what we’re here for.

As an SEO agency in Manchester, UK, we’ve seen it all – the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. Over the years, we’ve worked with countless clients, each with their own unique challenges and misconceptions about search engine optimization. And let me tell you, some of the ‘best practices’ we’ve encountered would make even the most seasoned digital marketer cringe.

So, let’s dive in and bust some of the most persistent SEO myths, shall we? These are the things you should stop doing now if you want to see real, sustainable growth for your business.

Myth #1: Site Speed Is a Crucial Ranking Factor

Ah, the age-old obsession with site speed. I can’t even begin to count the number of times we’ve had clients come to us, convinced that shaving a millisecond off their page load time was the key to unlocking the top spot in the SERPs. And, while it’s true that Google has stated site speed as a ranking factor, the reality is, it’s far from the be-all and end-all of SEO.

As Mediavine CEO Eric Hochberger points out, you can often find slow-loading sites ranking right alongside the lightning-fast ones. The truth is, site speed is just one of many factors Google considers, and it’s certainly not the most important one.

Sure, you should strive to have a fast-loading website – it’s better for user experience, and that can certainly have an indirect impact on your rankings. But don’t get so bogged down in the minutiae of page speed that you neglect the real meat and potatoes of SEO, like content optimization, keyword research, and link building. Those are the things that are going to move the needle a lot more than whether your images are perfectly optimized or not.

Myth #2: Every Post Needs to Be 2,000+ Words

Ah, the old “long-form content is king” myth. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had clients come to us, convinced that every single blog post they write needs to be an epic, 2,000-word dissertation on their topic of choice. And while it’s true that longer content can have its benefits, the reality is, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.

As former Google engineer Matt Cutts points out, the length of your content should be dictated by the search intent, not some arbitrary word count target. If you’re writing a tutorial on how to tie your shoes, do you really need 2,500 words to get the job done? Probably not.

The key is to focus on creating content that thoroughly answers the user’s query, regardless of length. Sometimes, that might mean a concise 500-word post. Other times, it might require a more in-depth 2,000-word deep dive. The important thing is to avoid stuffing your content with fluff just for the sake of hitting a certain word count. Google’s algorithms are far more sophisticated than that, and they can sniff out thin content a mile away.

Myth #3: Keyword Stuffing in Image Alt Text Is a Must-Do

Oh, the dreaded keyword stuffing in image alt text. It’s a practice that’s been touted as a “best practice” for SEO for years, and yet it’s one of the most egregious offenses you can commit in the eyes of the search engines.

As content marketing expert Claire Paniccia explains, the purpose of image alt text is to provide a textual description of the image for users who can’t see it – not to stuff your keywords in there willy-nilly. When you do that, you’re not only providing a poor user experience, but you’re also engaging in a form of keyword stuffing that can actually get your content penalized.

Instead, focus on writing alt text that accurately describes the image in a way that’s relevant to the content. If you can naturally weave in a keyword or two, great. But don’t force it, and definitely don’t do it for every single image on the page. That’s a surefire way to get on Google’s naughty list.

Myth #4: Hosting on a Shared IP Address Will Hurt Your Rankings

This is one of those myths that just won’t die, no matter how many times we try to put it to rest. The idea that hosting your website on a shared IP address will somehow negatively impact your rankings is simply not true.

As former Google engineer Matt Cutts has stated, there is no difference in how Google treats links to sites on virtual hosts versus dedicated IP addresses. As long as your hosting provider has configured the virtual hosting correctly, you have nothing to worry about.

Now, it’s worth noting that if you happen to be sharing an IP address with a bunch of spammy or low-quality websites, that could potentially raise some red flags with the search engines. But that’s not a problem with the shared IP itself – it’s a problem with the company you’re keeping. In those cases, it might be worth considering a dedicated IP or a more reputable hosting provider.

But for the vast majority of businesses, hosting on a shared IP is perfectly fine, and it shouldn’t be a factor in your SEO strategy at all.

Myth #5: Paying for Backlinks Is a Shortcut to Success

Ah, the siren song of the black hat SEO tactic. It’s the promise of a quick and easy way to boost your rankings, and yet it’s one of the most dangerous and short-sighted approaches you can take.

As Matt Cutts has said, you’re not going to be buying quality links, no matter how much you’re willing to spend. At best, you’re going to end up with a bunch of spammy, low-quality links that will do more harm than good. At worst, you could end up with a manual penalty from Google that will tank your rankings and send you back to square one.

Instead, focus on building genuine, high-quality backlinks through outreach, guest posting, and creating content that other sites will want to link to. It may take more time and effort, but it’s the only sustainable way to build a strong, healthy backlink profile that will stand the test of time.

The Bottom Line

SEO is a constantly evolving landscape, and it can be tempting to chase the latest ‘hack’ or ‘shortcut’ to get ahead. But the truth is, those tactics are more likely to hurt you in the long run than help you.

The key is to focus on the fundamentals – create high-quality content, optimize for user intent, build genuine backlinks, and let the rest fall into place. It may not be as sexy or as quick as some of the other tactics out there, but it’s the only way to build a truly sustainable SEO strategy that will pay dividends for years to come.

So, ditch the myths, embrace the reality, and watch your search visibility soar. Your users (and your bottom line) will thank you for it.

Oh, and one more thing – if you’re ever in the Manchester area, be sure to give our SEO agency a shout. We’d love to chat more about how we can help you navigate the ever-changing world of search engine optimization.

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