SEO And Social Media Myths Busted
As a consultant I hear a lot about social media and SEO: at conferences, from marketers, by entrepreneurs. And unfortunately, while well-intentioned there is a fair amount of misinformation that continues to spread.
So today let’s debunk some common SEO and social media myths that continue to perpetuate:
Myth 1: meta keywords are important to SEO
I know, I know, who still thinks this? Trust me, it is still lingering. And it frustrates me a lot because Google even has a blog post that you only need to read the title of to get: Google does not use the keywords meta tag in web ranking.
Sadly it is not just marketers who keep insisting we “optimize the meta keywords” on pages, it is web designers too. I’ve seen enough new websites where the design team launches it and takes the time to flesh out meta keywords but doesn’t even bother with the title tag or meta description. It is actually in my experience the rare web designer who considers search. Sad.
Myth 2: age of website and age of links are factors for SEO
Rand Fishkin does a good job debunking this one and I’m inclined to agree. There are enough new sites (i.e. Quora) that do well in SERPs and have a link profile that’s a lot fresher than older sites. I’ve seen it in my own experience marketing start-ups. Also logically it doesn’t make sense for any of the engines to do this: it would tilt the web in favor of legacy sites and links and not inspire fresh content to be created. And fresh content makes the engines far more valuable than old links.
Myth 3: blogs / self-hosted websites are dead
Another one that continues to propagate is that self-hosted web properties / communities are dead. This one is just silly. We share plenty of examples of what happens when you yield your presence to the stream, and the people propagating the notion that self-publishing is dead usually have motivations behind it. Savvy digital marketers understand you need to self-publish forever. In fact, I’ll say the opposite of dead: it’s never been a better time to start a blog.
Myth 4: we suffer from information overload
Anyone who spouts this one simply does a poor job at staying organized or isn’t managing their RSS reader, email inbox, or social client well. Louis Gray does a great job debunking this. And anyway, the reality is you don’t need to read everything that happens in a given industry. Setup the right filtering, selectively choose who and what sites you opt into, setup the right media monitoring and ruthlessly unsubscribe / unfriend / unfollow the junk.
Myth 5: you shouldn’t automate syndication of micro content
This one always gets people up in arms. They proclaim you can’t automate Twitter. Even a little bit. Anywhere. Of course, this is silly: there is no “right” or “wrong” use of Twitter or any social network so long as it’s useful and makes sense to users. Any given post syndicated via Seth’s blog auto feed gets more ReTweets than most real people on Twitter. You don’t even have to be Seth Godin to do this: I decided to conduct an experiment and create a feed for content instead of sending it through a person and the opt-in rate was the same. Automation aside, if what you’re doing is valuable people don’t care how it’s done even if pundits complain.
Myth 6: social media is difficult / impossible to measure
Ummmm, ok. The real problem here isn’t that social media is difficult to measure. The problem is the people saying this generally aren’t fluent in any online marketing metrics. They immediately call into question social channels, but I’m willing to bet if you push these people on how their existing website performs they won’t be able to tell you. Or if they can, they’re not actually using that data to make decisions. This stuff is very possible to measure (we do it for all our clients at LEWIS) and everyone can get to conversion.
Myth 7: our customers don’t use social
I’ve actually heard this one. In 2011. Really. Do we even need to comment on this? 17.1 billion searches monthly (social content taps this if you’re smart). More than 800 million users on Facebook alone. But this is silly anyway, generally people saying this haven’t even polled their own customers to find out. Or researched their category in social. Or considered trying to be the leader in their category in the space and attract new audiences. Usually they are just people who are afraid of change.
This is, of course, just a short list. Comments are open: what myths do you keep hearing that should be debunked?
And for your moment of zen, here’s the Mythbusters YouTube special: