10 SEO Myths Debunked by Bing's Duane Forrester

SEO MythsHot on the heels of Google's Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts discussing what he feels are the biggest SEO myths, Bing's senior product manager Duane Forrester has written about what he feels are 10 of the biggest myths in SEO. While some of them are true SEO myths, a few fall under best practices.

SEO Myth 1: You Need to Rank #1

Obviously, you ideally want to rank number one, but just because you aren't number one doesn't mean you're a failure. Sites can do extremely well in position number two or three, and even the top couple of results on the second page of the results. While the nuances are sometimes hard to determine, unless you have concrete data from being in different positions, above the fold is ideally where you want to be.

SEO Myth 2: Your Title Tag Will Save You

Yes, you need to have a well-crafted title tag, but not even the greatest title can save a site that's horrible in every other way. However, a great title amongst other not-so-great titles will end up giving your site a boost when it comes to click-throughs.

SEO Myth 3: Social Is All You Need

Social should be a part of every SEO campaign, however you shouldn't rely on it - you need to have things to back it up. BuzzFeed does amazingly well with social, but they back it up with content that gets a lot of traction. Social should be high on your priority list, but don't abandon everything else to pursue it exclusively.

SEO Myth 4: Videos Are All You Need

While some sites can do very well with the majority of the content in video, you need to consider that there is some limitations to the audience you can reach. Perhaps an employee is blocked from watching videos from work, so you could potentially lose that customer because of that reason alone. And if your video is hosted on YouTube, that YouTube page could rank higher than the originating page that has the YouTube video embedded in it. So while videos can be very important and can result in conversions, be sure to back it up with non-video content as well.

SEO Myth 5: Buying Ads Helps Your Rankings

This rumor has done the circuits for years, even in the years before Bing. While many would love the idea of throwing money at a search engine to rank number one, it isn't going to happen. Invest in ads for the sole purpose of converting those ads – don't put forth a large ad spend because you think there is an organic payoff.

SEO Myth 6: You Make Awesome Content

While you might think you write the most amazing content ever, consider it through the eyes of your site visitor. If your bounce rate is high, or very few people come back for a second visit, step back and take a look and see if maybe lackluster content is to blame.

SEO Myth 7: Links Are All You Need

Forrester stressed the importance of organic links. He said the best links are the ones you don't know are coming.

SEO Myth 8: Marking Up Your Content Will Help It Rank

While marking up won't give you an automatic boost, it can rank better for specific things, such as recipe searches. Marking up will become more and more important, so it is worth it to take the time and mark up your content before it becomes a higher priority.

SEO Myth 9: Usability Is Different Than SEO

Forrester said people should start thinking of usability and SEO as one rather than two completely separate entities. How often has a designer come up with the design that is horrible for SEO? They are two different things, but it's important for both teams to communicate so the design works for SEO and the SEO works for the design, and that neither usability nor search rankings are sacrificed.

SEO Myth 10: SEO Is All You Need

Again, while SEO is extremely important, it's only one part of the puzzle that will get traffic to your site so those coveted conversions can happen on your site.

About the author

Jennifer Slegg began as a freelance writer, and turned to search engine optimization and writing content for the web in 1998. She has created numerous content-rich sites in niche markets and works with many clients on content creation, strategy, and monetization. She writes about many search industry and social media topics on her blog, JenniferSlegg.com and is a frequent speaker at search industry conferences on SEO, content marketing and content monetization. Acknowledged as the leading expert on the Google AdSense contextual advertising program, she runs JenSense, a blog dealing exclusively with contextual advertising. She is also the founder and editor of The SEM Post. She is known by many as her handle Jenstar on various webmaster forums.