SEO Trends 2021: 5 Optimization Myths to Stop Worrying About
Ever wonder which SEO trends matter and which ones don’t?
SEO trends…as in “search engine optimization.” If you ask the Mysterious Force (aka Google), you’ll get 106 million search results.
And there’s no way you can sift through all that. Plus, some of that advice on SEO trends will either be outdated or just plain false.
But it’s no secret that myths seem to hang around, even long after they’ve been disproved and debunked.
Ever heard of Flat-Earth Theory or the Flat-Earth Society? Ya, they think the world is still…you know…flat.
(Cue: whistle sound of astonishment)
Here’s the thing…If you do it right, making the most of SEO trends that matter can actually help you.
But if you get stuck on search engine optimization trends that don’t work, your site traffic might actually fall off the face of the earth.
It’s a new year, so let’s kick these old optimization myths to the curb!
Here are five SEO myths you can take off your mental plate.
Myth #1: Write for Google first & shove in those key phrases
Reality: Keyword-stuffing doesn’t pay.
Some clients love to come up with weird key phrase requirements, like:
- “You must include every key phrase five times each and twice in the headline.”
When you ask why, the answer is typically:
- “Well, it’s what Google wants.”
Your readers don’t want to read that crap — and neither does Google.
The reality is, SEO trends that work aren’t about how many times you shove in a key phrase.
In fact, Google states on their How Search Works site:
“Our systems are designed to identify signals that can help determine which pages demonstrate expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness on a given topic.”
Google is looking for quality content that answers readers’ questions — not key phrase-stuffed drivel.
Q: Is including well-researched key phrases that match the reader’s intent important?
Q: Do you need to include them over and over again?
Which leads me to another annoying key phrase myth…
Myth #2: It’s all about LSI keywords
Reality: Just because it sounds cool doesn’t mean it’s true.
I love the term “LSI keyword,” because it sounds impressive and somewhat scientific.
The theory is that sprinkling conceptually-related words and synonyms throughout the content will automatically help the page position better.
Sure, LSI keywords sound cool –but they don’t exist. In terms of SEO trends, the only thing that’s trending here is the myth.
Google’s John Mueller is on record saying:
“There’s no such thing as LSI keywords.”
Plus, LSI strategies typically include funky keyword stuffing and key-phrase density requirements.
Which doesn’t work, m’kay?
Myth #3: The more words, the better!
Anything under 500 words is spammy content
Reality: It’s not as simple as that.
I remember when clients complained about 300-word articles being “too long” for their readers. It was one of those SEO trends that mattered.
Now, they expect their writers to create 2,500-word articles “for Google” because “longer articles position better.”
Here’s the thing about longer articles & word count…
- Longer articles. Studies do show that longer articles may position for more key phrases. But that doesn’t mean that longer copy will always outperform shorter content — it depends on the search query.
- Word count. Plus, Google even said in 2018 that “word count is not indicative of quality” — so there’s no magical word count “for Google.”
Yes, write that 2,500-word blog post if it makes sense for the topic, your reader, and the search intent.
- If you’re writing “The Complete Guide to Geriatric Cat Care,” it’s going to need a longer word count than something highly specific, like “How to Cut Your Cat’s Nails.”
- But don’t tack 1,500 fluffy words to your content “for Google.”
Myth #4: Google will penalize duplicate content
Reality: It depends on the intent.
No, Google is not going to penalize you if you syndicate your blog post.
Google won’t kick you out of the index for having a printer-friendly version of your page, either.
Google states in Google’s Search Central:
“Duplicate content on a site is not grounds for action on that site unless it appears that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and to manipulate search engine results.”
Having said that, your readers may not want to:
- See the same boring boilerplate legal statement at the end of every page.
- Or read the same call-to-action over and over again.
Instead of looking at duplicate content through Google’s algorithmic eyes, think about what you could do to make things better for your reader (one of the SEO trends that aims to encourage us to create better content).
Myth #5: SEO is all geeky, technical stuff
The writing doesn’t matter that much. Besides, Google keeps changing the algorithm anyway.
You’ve heard that before, right?
Reality: Writers are the true SEO magicians.
Think that links are the most important ranking factors?
This will blow your mind…
Back in 2019, a group of search experts made an announcement:
“If you want top rankings, quality content is more important than links.”
And although Google does love stirring the algorithmic pot and changing things up, quality content continues to come out on top.
(Want to know more about what Google considers quality content? Here’s a fun, geeky document for you!)
The truth about SEO trends that matter
Writers are more than cogs in the SEO wheel.
After all, you create the copy that connects with the reader.
You pen the persuasive prose that entices someone to open their wallet.
You write the content that helps people learn and grow and discover new things — and that goes way beyond SEO. What you do matters. It matters a whole lot.
Have questions about SEO trends and myths? Let’s discuss in the comments.
Heather Lloyd-Martin is an SEO expert, the founder of Success Works, Pivot Hacks, and the SEO Content Institute. Forbes once named her “the pioneer of SEO copywriting.”
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