12 SEO Myths and Facts You Must Know

Whether you are an in-house seo or an agency, if you don’t have strong proofs/examples to back up your suggestions then you will have a hard time getting them implemented.  This means your 80 pages long seo audit report can end up gathering dust in some file cabinet in a remote area of your client’s office.

My blog post is an attempt to gather some solid proofs which will help you in educating your clients or getting that important approval from senior management to make changes to a site and separate seo myths from reality.

I am writing this post with the assumption that you don’t believe a single word i say and i suggest you to think this way about yourself whenever you send seo recommendations to clients/boss.


Stop chasing the fat head. Run after the long tail keywords

Reason & Proof-

if you had a monopoly over the top 1,000 search terms across all search engines (which is impossible), you’d still be missing out on 89.4% of all search traffic. There’s so much traffic in the tail it is hard to even comprehend. To illustrate, if search were represented by a tiny lizard with a one-inch head, the tail of that lizard would stretch for 221 miles.

Source: https://weblogs.hitwise.com/bill-tancer/2008/11/sizing_up_the_long_tail_of_sea.html

Illustrating the Long Tail

Source: https://www.seomoz.org/blog/illustrating-the-long-tail

Search Demand Curve

Source: https://www.seomoz.org/blog/illustrating-the-long-tail

The Search Demand Curve

Source: https://www.seomoz.org/blog/search-engine-landscape-2010

conversion rate by keyword phrase length

Source: https://www.seomoz.org/blog/search-engine-landscape-2010

8-Word Search Queries Up 34,000% in Last 5 Years!  As new data from Hitwise suggests, we’re gradually starting to use more & more keywords when conducting our search engine queries. Hitwise compared January 2009’s data with last year’s, but I want to take you back farther in time–5 years in fact!

Not that my memory goes back that far, but I did remember covering this data for my old blog: Search Engine Lowdown. Here are the numbers from this year, with Feb 2004’s numbers in parentheses:

1-word searches = 20.29% (19.02%)
2-word searches = 23.65% (32.58%)
3-word searches = 21.92% (25.61%)
4-word searches = 14.89% (12.83%)
5-word searches = 8.68% (5.64%)
6-word searches = 4.65% (2.32%)
7-word searches = 2.49% (0.98%)
8-word searches = 3.43% (no one did 8-word searches in 2004!)

As you can see, there’s been a significant drop in the number of people using 2- and 3-word searches, while those using 5-words and above are becoming more common–likely from those of us that cut-and-paste large quantities of text into Google.

Source: https://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2009/02/8-word-search-queries-up-34000-in-last-5-years.html


Great contents is (automatically) not equal to great rankings

Reason & Proof-

” Great content doesn’t necessarily rank because it’s great content. The content may deserve to be ranked, but if no one knows about it, or if the site architecture is so atrocious that it repels the spiders, then it won’t rank. It’s as important to actively promote that great content as to have created it.

I’m simply making an argument against that tired old phrase “Build it and they will come.” Don’t let these comments dissuade you from creating high quality content. Indeed, it’s a likely prerequisite for SEO success, especially when the keywords being targeted are highly competitive.” – Stephan Spencer (author of the famous book ‘The Art of SEO’)

Source: https://searchengineland.com/seo-myths-reloaded-clarifcations-consensus-and-controversy-41816


“No. Great content doesn’t itself produce great rankings. But the way it is distributed and promoted among the potential linking partners. Moreover Google can’t read and evaluate contents like humans. So it can’t rank web pages on the basis of its merit. It ranks web pages on the basis of its link popularity and the trust and authority of the domain which host the web pages.” – Rand Fishkin

Source: https://www.seomoz.org/blog/great-content-equals-great-rankings-right-wrong


Don’t bother about keyword density

Reason & Proof-

” Keyword Density Not really a factor. Yes keyword should be present but density is not important. Include the keyword but make writing sound natural.”

 Source: Third Google Webmasters Chat in which Matt Cutts was present.


Antony Johnson – 5:23 pm Q: Hi Matt, Are there any guidelines available on keyword density we have pages that are about 1 single subject and the keyword density is quite high Matt Cutts – 5:27 pmA:

Antony, you may not believe this, but we tend not to think much about KW density here at Google, b/c our algorithms handle it pretty well. My advice is to pull in an innocent/non-search friend and have them read the text. If they raise their eyebrow…..

Source: Recording & Coverage of second Google webmaster live chat event


“Honing in on a particular keyword density value while editing page copy is a colossal waste of time, a distraction from what really matters………There is no value in benchmarking against competitors’ keyword densities. If your SEO consultant tells you otherwise, turn and run!” – Stephan Spencer (author of the famous book ‘The Art of SEO’)

Source: https://searchengineland.com/seo-myths-reloaded-clarifcations-consensus-and-controversy-41816


“Keyword Density is Not Used – How Many Times Do We Have to Say It?” – Rand Fishkin

Source: https://www.seomoz.org/blog/some-opinions-on-the-seo-myths-realities-fight


Stop bothering about Page Rank

Reason & Proof-

PageRank Distribution Removed From Google Webmaster Tools. “We’ve been telling people for a long time that they shouldn’t focus on PageRank so much; many site owners seem to think it’s the most important metric for them to track, which is simply not true. We removed it because we felt it was silly to tell people not to think about it, but then to show them the data, implying that they should look at it.  :-)” – Susan Moskwa (Google Employee)



Q: My site’s PageRank has gone up / gone down / not changed in months!

A: Don’t worry. In fact, don’t bother thinking about it. We only update the PageRank displayed in Google Toolbar a few times a year; this is our respectful hint for you to worry less about PageRank, which is just one of over 200 signals that can affect how your site is crawled, indexed and ranked. PageRank is an easy metric to focus on, but just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s useful for you as a site owner. If you’re looking for metrics, we’d encourage you to check out Analytics, think about conversion rates, ROI (return on investment), relevancy, or other metrics that actually correlate to meaningful gains for your website or business.

Source: https://sites.google.com/site/webmasterhelpforum/en/faq–crawling–indexing—ranking#pagerank

Source: https://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-science-of-ranking-correlations


Is Page Rank a Good Predictor of Rankings? No. Not really. Our data on Page Rank correlation is very solid and suggests that yes, PR is positively correlated with rankings on Google.com (though much less so in Google.co.uk – sorry Brits!). However, the degree of correlation is not overwhelming and there are far better single metrics if rankings correlation is your goal.

Source: https://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-science-of-ranking-correlations


Toolbar PageRank Won’t Change Crawling, Indexing or Rankings. We do Toolbar PageRank updates 3-4x/year but to be honest, it’s not something that you need to wait for. The PageRank shown in the Toolbar is an older snapshot of the PageRank that we use internally (which is continuously updated). Changes in Toolbar PageRank will not change anything with your site’s crawling, indexing, or ranking, so as a webmaster, I’d strongly recommend focusing on something else.If you are using PageRank as a means to sell PageRank-passing links, keep in mind that this is against our Webmaster Guidelines, and can negatively impact your site’s ranking in search results.  – John Muller (Google Employee).

Source: https://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Webmasters/thread?tid=25ddb903338c4cb0&hl=en


There is no such thing as over optimization or over optimization penalty.

Reason & Proof-

Approving the theory of ‘over optimization’ is equivalent to approving the theory of ‘keyword density’. Over optimization is bad not because you will get a penalty but because your website will look spammy and nobody would like to link out to a spammy website. Matt Cutts has clearly said in this video that  “there is nothing in Google that we have like an over optimization penalty for


Linking to other websites can help you perform better

Reason & Proof-

Linking out to authoritative sites has positive impact on ranking. You can listen to the NYTimes’ SEO, Marshall Simmonds in this video on SEOmoz Whiteboard Friday. He talks about how adding external links to articles on the site had a noticeable positive impact on the Times’ rankings and traffic.


Meta Keywords tag has no impact on Rankings

Reason & Proof-

Meta keywords tag has not effect on ranking and is completely ignored by search engines like Google. On the other hand it can help your competitors to determine the keywords you are targeting. Matt cutt has clearly said in this video that “Google doesn’t use the keywords meta tag in web ranking“:


SEO can’t be done cheap

Reason & Proof-

Common business sense is the biggest proof here. Lot of businesses don’t understand the value of getting the desired rankings esp. in the competitive markets and thus ended up getting ripped off again and again. It takes real money to displace real money.

Websites which are in top 10 for highly competitive keywords have been spending loads of money in content creation and marketing for years. They didn’t come up on page 1 of Google overnight and certainly not with a shoe string budget. Which means if a business is spending say $5000 a month on seo and has been doing it for the last 3 years, then it has spent $5000*12*3 = $180000 so far to get/remain in top 10 for number of competitive keywords. And if your idea of replacing this $180000 worth of rankings with total budget of say $1000 then you need to wake up.

Related Post: SEO Scams – Why you get ripped off again and again


No one can guarantee rankings or allege special relationship with Google 

Reason & Proof-

“No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google. Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or by submitting a Sitemap and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever.”

Source: https://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35291


SEO is not a submission service

Reason & Proof-

SEO is not all about submitting you website to search engines, directories, social bookmarking sites etc. Many seo companies/consultants provide submission services (submission to 200 search engines, 5000 directories, 2000 social bookmarking sites etc) in the name of seo. Check out what Google has to say about such SEOs:

“Avoid SEOs that talk about the power of “free-for-all” links, link popularity schemes, or submitting your site to thousands of search engines. These are typically useless exercises that don’t affect your ranking in the results of the major search engines — at least, not in a way you would likely consider to be positive.”

Source: https://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35291


SEO is not a black magic

Reason & Proof-

Some SEOs mislead clients/boss by using as much seo jargon as possible or not clearly explaining what they intend to do. Google has following advice against such type of SEOs:

# Be careful if a company is secretive or won’t clearly explain what they intend to do. Ask for explanations if something is unclear. If an SEO creates deceptive or misleading content on your behalf, such as doorway pages or “throwaway” domains, your site could be removed entirely from Google’s index.

Ultimately, you are responsible for the actions of any companies you hire, so it’s best to be sure you know exactly how they intend to “help” you.

Source: https://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35291


Investing in SEO is profitable.

Reason & Proof-

While there is no solid proof (at least not to my knowledge) that social media is cannibalizing search/seo but there are many solid stats which prove that people are searching more and more every month and demand of seo is rising:

Webshare Market Search and Volume

Overall search volume increased 5.3% M-O-M across the 5 major search engines. Source: https://blog.compete.com/2010/04/29/march-2010-search-market-share/

All search market share and volume

Source: https://blog.compete.com/2010/04/29/march-2010-search-market-share/

Source: 2010 SEO Industry Survey Results

PPC vs SEO in clicks and spend

PPC vs SEO in clicks and spend. Source: https://www.seomoz.org/blog/search-engine-landscape-2010

According to a survey (survey of 1.6 million SMBs) published by search engine land on Dec 8, 2011, SEO is the single most important marketing channel for SMBs.


Update: Steve Wiideman of Wiideman Consulting Group has shared a real life success story of a client who earned quarter of million dollars in gross revenue online and 62% of the revenue came from organic search.

Real life example of what seo can do for your website

Real life example of what seo can do for your website. Source: https://www.wordtracker.com/academy/creative-seo-strategies



What is the difference between Digital Analytics and Google Analytics?

99.99% of course creators themselves don’t know the difference between Digital analytics, Google Analytics (GA) and Google Tag Manager (GTM).

So they are teaching GA and GTM in the name of teaching Digital analytics.

They just copy each other. Monkey see, monkey do.

But Digital analytics is not about GA, GTM.

It is about analyzing and interpreting data, setting up goals, strategies and KPIs.

It’s about creating strategic roadmap for your business.

Digital Analytics is the core skill. Google Analytics is just a tool used to implement ‘Digital Analytics’.

You can also implement ‘Digital analytics’ via other tools like ‘adobe analytics’, ‘kissmetrics’ etc.

Using Google Analytics without the good understanding of ‘Digital analytics’ is like driving around in a car, in a big city without understanding the traffic rules and road signs.

You are either likely to end up somewhere other than your destination or you get involved in an accident.

You learn data analysis and interpretation from Digital analytics and not from Google Analytics.

The direction in which your analysis will move, will determine the direction in which your marketing campaigns and eventually your company will move to get the highest possible return on investment.

You get that direction from ‘Digital analytics’ and not from ‘Google Analytics’.

You learn to set up KPIs, strategies and measurement framework for your business from ‘Digital analytics’ and not from ‘Google Analytics’.

So if you are taking a course only on 'Digital Analytics’, you are learning to use one of the tools of ‘Digital analytics’. You are not learning the ‘Digital analytics’ itself.

Since any person can learn to use Google Analytics in couple of weeks, you do no get any competitive advantage in the marketplace just by knowing GA.

You need to know lot more than GA in order to work in digital analytics and marketing field.

So what I have done, if you are interested, is I have put together a completely free training that will teach you exactly how I have been able to leverage digital analytics to generate floods of news sales and customers and how you can literally copy what I have done to get similar results.

You can sign up for the free training here: https://learn.optimizesmart.com/registration-web-class

I truly hope you find it helpful.  

My best selling books on Digital Analytics and Conversion Optimization

Maths and Stats for Web Analytics and Conversion Optimization
This expert guide will teach you how to leverage the knowledge of maths and statistics in order to accurately interpret data and take actions, which can quickly improve the bottom-line of your online business.

Master the Essentials of Email Marketing Analytics
This book focuses solely on the ‘analytics’ that power your email marketing optimization program and will help you dramatically reduce your cost per acquisition and increase marketing ROI by tracking the performance of the various KPIs and metrics used for email marketing.

Attribution Modelling in Google Analytics and Beyond
Attribution modelling is the process of determining the most effective marketing channels for investment. This book has been written to help you implement attribution modelling. It will teach you how to leverage the knowledge of attribution modelling in order to allocate marketing budget and understand buying behaviour.

Attribution Modelling in Google Ads and Facebook
This book has been written to help you implement attribution modelling in Google Ads (Google AdWords) and Facebook. It will teach you, how to leverage the knowledge of attribution modelling in order to understand the customer purchasing journey and determine the most effective marketing channels for investment.

Himanshu Sharma

Digital Marketing Consultant and Founder of Optimizesmart.com

Himanshu helps business owners and marketing professionals in generating more sales and ROI by fixing their website tracking issues, helping them understand their true customers purchase journey and helping them determine the most effective marketing channels for investment.

He has over 12 years experience in digital analytics and digital marketing.

He was nominated for the Digital Analytics Association's Awards for Excellence.

The Digital Analytics Association is a world renowned not-for-profit association which helps organisations overcome the challenges of data acquisition and application.

He is the author of four best-selling books on analytics and conversion optimization:

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