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Busting the top 15 SEO myths of 2014

James A. Martin | July 17, 2014
It's tough to tell what's real and what's myth today when it comes to SEO best practices. So we asked the SEO community to bring us up to date on the current state of link building, content marketing, social media and more.

"Many people took advantage of this, creating bad user experiences for online searchers. Google began to roll out aggressive algorithmic updates to combat it (namely Panda and Penguin)," Beatty says. "This in essence forced marketers, PR, SEO, and social teams to change their strategies and collaborate more to create content that can reap the benefits for all channels."

In light of the recent Google algorithm updates, some believe content marketing is "the new SEO."

"This drives me absolutely crazy," says Brendan Cournoyer, director of content marketing, Brainshark. "The idea is that content and inbound marketing strategies have taken over for the SEO tactics of old, as if the two are somehow mutually exclusive."

Cournoyer believes this myth is born "from a pessimistic view of what SEO is. Content marketing can't replace SEO, because the two don't compete with each other. They work together. SEO is part of a great content strategy. Just because Google puts a premium on high-quality results doesn't mean SEO tactics still don't have value."

The Google algorithm updates have caused some content creators to "churn out garbage blog posts targeting long-tail keywords optimized in a blog-posting format," says Mike LaLonde, digital marketing consultant, Londes Digital Marketing. "Just developing 'good' content isn't enough. It has to be useful to users and something worth sharing. If they aren't sharing it, and if it isn't referenced throughout the Web, it's not useful."

Myth 3: Google Ranking Is All About Links 

It's a common belief that Google ranking is focused on links.

"This is another one of those myths that, although it has a basis in truth, is still very commonly misunderstood," says Anthony Tuite, head of SEO at Barracuda Digital. "Google uses numerous factors to determine which position a page should rank for a search query. It is commonly held that backlinks are a key component of demonstrating influence, which in turn positively affects a website's rankings."

But not all links are created equal, Tuite says. "The best way to think of a link is as someone giving feedback about your website. To be considered of value, the feedback must be genuine, truthful, informative and helpful to the user. So you can forget link directories, press releases and so on."

Myth 4: Social Media Signals Directly Impact Search Rankings

The idea that social media signals impact search ranking is "hotly contested" within the SEO community, according to SUSO's Pryce. "While there is clear evidence that having an active and engaged social following can help amplify your marketing efforts and lead to earned links, there is no direct impact on search rankings," he says.

Pryce advises others to continue to grow social profiles "on the most suitable networks, but don't assume that getting more Likes, tweets and Google +1s will directly help your search visibility." 


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