When it comes to search engine optimization or SEO for short, there are plenty of bald-faced lies and half-truths. Search the web for “SEO myths,” and you will find a seemingly endless number of results. Let’s debunk the top SEO myths that seem well-reasoned yet are actually untrue.

Myth #1: Meta Tags are not That Important for SEO Purposes

There is a myth making the rounds that meta tags are nearly meaningless in the context of SEO. Meta tags are positioned between the introductory and concluding tags. These HTML tags display short previews of the webpage in question within search engine results.

Meta keywords and phrases are featured within meta tags. If meta tags and meta descriptions were not used, Google might rely on the text directly from the page to use as the preview. Meta tags make online search results that are much more appealing, inspire clicks from web sleuths and steer traffic to your site.

Myth #2: Adding a Target Keyword to Anchor Text is Meaningless in the Context of SEO

There is much discussion about whether it is prudent to add keywords to anchor text in the link building process. Anchor text is that which can be clicked, redirecting web sleuths by way of a hyperlink.

Though plenty of supposed SEO specialists insist anchor text keywords are no longer relevant for search optimization, the truth is that anchor text rich with keywords really helps boost SEO rankings.

However, Google penalizes websites that stuff anchor text and content with an abundance of keywords and key phrases. Mix in a wide variety of keywords into your anchor text, and Google won’t penalize you.

Myth #3: Google’s Hummingbird Makes Keyword Targeting Useless

Though Google implemented Hummingbird years ago, keywords are still showing on the search giant’s first page, making it clear that these words are of the utmost importance.

Hummingbird has shifted the focus away from adhering to keyword ratios to zeroing in on web sleuths’ intent. Use the keywords your target audience is likely to search for, and your SEO will improve.

Myth #4: SEO Ranking is Enhanced with Top Level Domains

The truth about top-level domains is their keywords matter more than anything. Instead of focusing on the domain itself, zero in on the keywords used in the domain. This is not to say you should copy another domain’s name. However, your domain name should be highlighted by a relevant keyword.

Myth #5: XML Sitemaps Bolster Search Rankings

XML sitemaps are helpful, yet they are not the optimal means of improving search optimization. The XML sitemap facilitates the construction of a crawlable site. However, sitemaps don’t impact web page rankings. Instead, they are more of a guiding force that provides information about the page to Google and other search engines, facilitating crawling.

Myth #6: Guest Blogging no Longer Impacts SEO

This is a bald-faced lie! Guest blogging does have the potential to improve search optimization. However, the guest blog should contain backlinks to your site and relevant keywords, key phrases, and localized information your target audience is likely to search.

Myth #7: Keyword Research is no Longer Important

It is hard to believe some supposed SEO experts argue keyword research is meaningless. The bottom line is website owners and webmasters who fail to conduct keyword research struggle to win the SEO battle. It will help to use Google’s Keyword Planner to pinpoint the ideal keywords for your site. Zero in on the web sleuth’s search intent, add the words and phrases these customers are inclined to search for, and your site will gradually ascend the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Myth #8: Social Signal is not an Important SEO Ranking Factor

Links stemming from social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn do impact search optimization. These social signals are tracked, measured, and relied upon by search engines for ranking purposes.

After all, Google, Bing, and other search engines tap into social platforms’ data to gauge websites’ utility with rankings in mind.

Myth #9: Claiming Google Listings Greatly Enhances Search Traffic

The simple act of claiming your company’s Google listings is undoubtedly prudent, yet it will not significantly enhance your search traffic on the web. Google My Business listings should be filled out in full and subsequently updated when your company’s information changes. These official online business listings include information about your company ranging from its street address to its phone number and other contact information.

Be sure to claim your company’s local Google My Business listing as soon as possible. Fail to claim this listing, and you will virtually communicate to Google that you do not want your company listed.

Fill out the Google My Business form, proceed through the verification process with a phone call, and you will rest easy knowing the people who find your listing have accurate contact information. However, merely listing your company in this critical corner of the web does not significantly bolster your SEO.

Above all, ensure your listings in the web’s many directories are consistent. Your company’s name, address, phone number, and additional contact information should be the same in each directory for SEO purposes.

If your company’s information changes, be sure to update it in each online directory. Such consistency across the entirety of your company’s online footprint boosts your search optimization, ultimately making it easier for potential customers to find your business on the web and reach you through the accurate contact information.

Myth #10: Google Pinpoints and Indexes new Content on Your Behalf

Fresh content takes some time to be crawled and subsequently indexed. It might take upwards of two days for this process to occur. You can do your part to facilitate the operation using Google’s XML sitemap generator plugin. Add this plugin to WordPress, publish your content, and the XML sitemap will be generated and transmitted to search engines.

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