It is a fact of our business that quite a number of people do not really understand the world of search.
This is perfectly understandable. When I take a watch to be fixed, I do not get embarrassed because I don’t know what is wrong with it. I know it needs to be fixed and I hand it over to someone who can help.
It is fine to have a limited understanding of a niche industry and ask for help and clarification. That is why there are professional SEO experts.
However, there are a number of fixed misconceptions which keep cropping up, perhaps as a result of some of the ‘SEO for beginners’ articles which fill the web but do not go into much detail.
These are the most common basic errors and misunderstandings I encounter.
Are there any more frequently found fallacies you think should be added to the list?
1) Industry buzzwords Always make good keywords
It is vital marketers understand that they need to target keywords which their consumers rather than their peers will search for.
Sometimes industry jargon is exactly the sort of thing a website should choose, but often it is completely inappropriate. Keyword choice requires careful research as the instincts of someone working within the sector may not be in tune with those on the outside.
2) If one keyword instance is good, 20 is better
Those familiar with the industry will think this is incredibly basic but it is astounding how often websites are still stuffed with clumsy and ineffective keywords.
Yet marketers who are new to online promotions often get caught up in a tactic which even black hatters abandoned back when Moses was a glint in Amram’s eye.
If it is good to use keywords naturally within a page’s text, it must be best to use it hundreds of time, goes the logic.
Fortunately, search engines are cleverer than this and consumers won’t read such copy. Hopefully, this misconception will die a death as SEO becomes more widely understood!
3) Quantity of content is king
Many people do not believe that a search engine can work out what is quality content and what is simply cobbled-together copy.
However, this is because they do not know that search engines are not just looking for unique copy. They are on the hunt for popular information, revealed through inbound links from authoritative sites.
If you are going to all the effort of filling your pages with information, make it useful.
4) Copied content counts
Duplicate content is just not helpful when it comes to climbing rankings. This is another common misconception which comes from a misunderstanding of how search engines operate.
They may be looking for relevant content but they do not want to offer consumers several servings of the same. If you want to rise in the rankings, you need unique (and relevant, interesting, informative) copy.
5) One tactic alone works
This is a belief which I think is fed by some of the weaker forums. It is common to find websites which are only using one search marketing tactic because it has been fed to them as the silver bullet answer to their online needs.
Pay-per-click, organic optimisation, social media marketing, email promotions – all these are good tools for any campaign. However, any website which focuses on just one aspect of online marketing is going to fall behind the competition.
There are no easy answers, quick fixes or short solutions to long-term campaigns. Online marketing is an ongoing commitment.
Kevin Gibbons is Director of Search at