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The only absolute truth about Search Engine Optimization is that it is always changing. With such a vast amount of available information and theories, it’s not difficult to see how there is much confusion about what’s required to perform effectively. The major algorithm updates constantly alter the SEO landscape, and thus there is a need for fresh ideas. As a result, outdated information sometimes lingers in the heads of SEOs and those new to the field can collect a lot of misinformation if they are not careful.

Below, I have listed the ten most potentially damaging misconceptions about search engine optimization in hopes you can avoid some of the common traps that can derail your train to success. All aboard!

The 10 Misconceptions about SEO

  1. Buying paid links will get your site banned.
  2. Domain authority is a huge ranking factor.
  3. You need to update you blog on a regular basis.
  4. More links means better rankings
  5. Crawl rate is not important
  6. One guest post a day = one good link per day.
  7. The Penguin Update Penalized On-Site Factors.
  8. Proper On-site SEO is enough to rank a website.
  9. High volume low comptition keywords are the best to target.
  10. Things that come from Matt Cutts and other top SEOs are absolute truth.

Buying Paid Links Will Get Your Site Banned.

Think of the old expression “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”, this is totally true when buying paid links – recklessly purchasing links without due dilligence will effectively throw up a red flag. However, with proper examination of the site and the content surrounding the link, – it is quite possible to scout out highly effective backlinks. Avoid links that seem “sponsored”, and stay away from purchasing multiple links from the same domain (i.e blogrolling). Remember, it is best to just take one link from one domain.

Warning: Take extreme caution whenever you purchase a link.

PageRank Is A Huge Ranking Factor.

Don’t let PageRank fool you! I have seen sites with (what appears to be) a solid PageRank but very little inbound links pointing to them. These types of sites will not pass much link juice to the site receiving the links. Search metrics such as SEMrush can be extremely effective here, if you can see a noticible drop in a sites traffic, then it probably took some sort of ranking penalty. This will greatly diminish a sites linking power – even if the PR and domain authority remain steadfast.

PageRank is an outdated method of SEO

PageRank and link signals used to have much more value than they have today. Since the PR toolbar is not updated frequently, you should not use PageRank as a solid metric to guage a sites authority.

You Need To Update Your Blog Regularly.

This is statement is correct, but only a peice of the pie. The truth is that you need to update your entire site regularly. How often should you update your content? Ideally, as much as possible, especially whenever you have something new worth talking about. Just updating the blog simply isn’t enough, especially if your site has multiple pages of content. Look at the pages you have on the site and determine which pages are driving traffic, and which pages aren’t. Target the pages driving traffic for the most frequent updates.

More Links Means Better Rankings.

Link building is just an arms race, right? Wrong. Link building is still important, but in today’s world of SEO it is quality – not quantity. Build a vast and varied link profile – target three specfic types of links: editorial (natural) links, outreach (manual) links, and self-created links like forum signatures, blog comments, or user profiles. Ideally you want a little from each honey pot. Do not fall into the trap of buying multiple links at a time, there are tons of scammy blackhat services that offer 10,000 backlinks at a time. Does that seem natural? Remember, if it seems spammy – it probably is!

Matt Cutts Never Lies

Everyone knows that social shares are part of the algorithm. For years, Cutts denied that Google looks at these factors. To this day, he is leniant to publically endorse the social signals. He continues to promote factors such as PageRank, despite the fact that this has a very small correlation to actual rankings. Matt Cutts promotes great on-site factors, many are true. But when it comes to link building, nearly everything he says is based on false assumptions. He talks about having a great “user experience” but countless studies show that, despite pulling user metrics, this has very little correlation to actual rankings.

That being said, much of the advice he gives is great advice. However, do not believe that everything he claims is a ranking factor is actually a “ranking factor”. Instead, these are great practices to building a good brand and website.

Conclusion – Don’t Fall For Them

While many of these misconceptions do have some truth to them, they are all far from correct. Be sure to take the time to extensively resarch anything you hear about in the SEO industry. Many blogs are filled with false information and poorly formed ideas. Most SEO’s are tempted to listen to Matt Cutts and other industry leaders, but the record has shown that they are not always correct.

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Posted by P.J. Leimgruber

This article was written by P.J. Leimgruber - P.J. is the president of Rank Executives, an Orlando based internet marketing firm. He loves writing for the website's SEO blog and is an expert in SEO For Wordpress. You can contact him directly to discuss your website. His advice is always free!


  1. Do you agree with the saying ‘content is king’? Should we not focus on great and fresh content for our website rankings? You think that On-Site SEO is not enough to rank a website? Does that include, refreshing and writing great content?

  2. Well, of course content is crucially important. It is one of the largest signals that google uses to rank a website. However, go make a blog with 1000 pages of unique content and see how well you rank. Content alone is not enough to get rankings. Content alone will drive very little traffic. You need the entire “pie” to get top results, not just one piece.

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