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Three SEO Myths that all Marketers Should Know

James McDonald • July 23, 2014


Google changes its search algorithm hundreds of times on a yearly basis. Search marketers then try to figure out the new logic, but often, there are assumptions made that lead to inaccuracies and myths, which can hinder your SEO efforts. To help you avoid these pitfalls, I’ve debunked a few of the most common myths I come across in eCommerce consulting at LYONSC.

Myth 1: Quality content is all you need to win SEO.

I’ll catch digital geeks –myself included– saying something akin to that following Google’s release of the hummingbird algorithm. While the uniqueness and quality of content is becoming more paramount to successful SEO, putting too much emphasis on it against research, tagging, and link building greatly limits your SEO strategy. As the saying goes, telling half of the truth is telling a whole lie: quality content alone won’t get your site ranked, but if it’s guided by a KW strategy targeting specific or achievable KWs, and is tagged accurately, than you’re on the right path. Knowing the next myth will help you stay on that path.

Myth 2: Link Building is dead.

While link building has changed, and a lot of the older tactics have been eliminated by smarter search engine logic, links from quality websites are still one of the best ways to prove the worth of your website, and move up positions (or pages!) within search results. Similar to content creation, quality is key. Avoid link bait sites that stuff their pages with KWs, or guest bloggers who are tangent to your business and generate fluffy articles. Before you establish a link relationship or get your link posted somewhere, ask yourself, “is this from a reputable website, and is the content my link is being posted within relevant and good enough to be posted on my own website?” If it passes that test, it’ll almost certainly expose and refer quality traffic to your brand and add link authority to your site.

Myth 3: Keyword data has become limited since Google Analytics lumped all organic KWs into “(not provided)”.

Data is available to guide all digital marketing efforts, and SEO is not an exception. If you refuse to look beyond the Organic KW report in Google Analytics, then yes, a lot of your data is now gone. Luckily, there are a handful of solutions to regain or compensate for your loss. The first thing I recommend doing is determining how different your “(not provided)” data is from the remaining KW data from other search engines. Segment known KW visits from unknown KW visits, and see if the site performance of the two groups is diverse. There might be a marginal difference between the two, allowing you to use known data as a sample. Any variance might be explained if you further segment your known KWs between branded and non-branded and approximate how much this ratio differs for unknown KWs. Lastly, but most importantly, webmaster tools provides a wealth of KW data. Because the historical range of this data is limited to three months, I would recommend exporting this data on a regular basis.

Turning these SEO truths into action…

There is a plethora of available data to guide initial and ongoing SEO efforts. This data can be leveraged to guide your content strategy, ensuring that your business is not only generating quality content, but that this content also targets the best opportunities to maximize your brand’s position in search results. To supplement the impact of your content, site tagging and link building can help establish and prove the content’s value; the better the site or content on which a referring link is posted, the more value your site will receive.

Time allowing, this article could have easily spiraled into “237 SEO Myths Debunked…” This isn’t meant to intimidate anyone new to the field, it’s simply a confession that the knowledge shared through this article is relatively high-level, and there’s a lot of interesting SEO tactics you can learn. With time, I believe anyone can be good at SEO and use these tactics, but if you need help in the interim, or you’re limited on resources, our team of digital analysts and marketing specialists are available to help you achieve your SEO goals.

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James McDonald is a Digital Consultant on the LYONSCG Digital Services team. As the analytical lead on the team, James’s focus is on aggregating and mining data for insights to guide digital strategies and optimization efforts. He has been with LYONSCG since 2013, and has over five years of experience in digital analytics, strategy, and marketing. He’ll gladly participate on your trivia team if you’re ever in need of an additional player.

James McDonald

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James McDonald

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