25 SEO Experts Share The SEO Misconceptions They Had When Started

We all started somewhere. And when you start, you have more questions than answers. And sometimes even those few answers you have might not be correct. You heard something here and there and this becomes your beliefs. That’s how SEO myths and misconceptions are born.

I asked the SEO community to share SEO misconceptions they had when they were just starting in this field.

Read on and you’ll learn the biggest misunderstandings SEO experts had.

Tiffany daSilva, Founder of Flowjo.co

Tiffany DaSilva


My biggest SEO misconception was…

I think the biggest misconception that I had was that if the SEO didn’t “take” within weeks then it would never happen and I would never see results.

SEO is still a blend of many different activities from the technical side to creating new content and getting people to link to your website. There are always things to do and none of it can be completed overnight. So being able to be patient, measure month over month progress, and know internally that you’re doing all the right things and it will happen was my biggest learning stemmed from my biggest misconception.

Bill Slawski, Director of SEO Research at Go Fish Digital

Bill Slawski


My biggest SEO misconception was…

PageRank was based on authority; now I know it is based upon popularity.

Dat To, Head of Digital at MyVisaSource.com

My biggest SEO misconception was…

I thought that when you use the search operator, “site:domain”, that the results were ordered from top to bottom in Google’s eyes as the most to the least important pages of a site.

Julie Joyce, Owner of Link Fish Media

Julie Joyce


My biggest SEO misconception was…

I really didn’t think links could have the power to make a site rank if nothing else was done. I figured all the proper SEO had to be done, and initially I didn’t give any importance to links. I truly thought they were the last thing I should pay attention to which is funny considering that’s now my specialty.

Alex Dealy, Senior SEO Analyst at Motava Corp

Alex Dealy


My biggest SEO misconception was…

The “Duplicate Content” penalty! Originally, I believe (and many still do) that:
Having duplicate content on your website will destroy ranks sitewide and should be resolved on every page, no matter how trivial.

In reality:
Obviously, there is no duplicate content penalty. The concept though isn’t 100% totally off-base. But it is quite different than many think it to be. In 2019, Google will not rank individual pages/URLs if they have duplicate content or otherwise aren’t unique enough to warrant it. But this is done on a page by page basis and won’t affect other pages. So, if you have pages aren’t that important for search, you don’t need to waste your time de-duping those pages for purposes of SEO. Chances are, you have bigger fish to fry anyway.

Brendan Hufford, SEO Director at Clique Studios

Brendan Hufford


My biggest SEO misconception was…

That it was all about paid tools and what you could afford: backlink genie, article marketing robot, the best spinner, etc. Today, as a professional SEO, I know it’s 100% about PEOPLE.

Rand Fishkin, Founder of SparkToro

Rand Fishkin


My biggest SEO misconception was…

I started out knowing nothing about SEO, and having very few resources to learn from. It took me over a year of experimentation and failure before I got my first client’s website ranked for just a few keywords. Thankfully, I found the field of search marketing filled with helpful, kind people who helped show me the way. I’ve been working to give back to our industry ever since.

Dawn Smith, Digital Marketing Manager at Axonify

Dawn Smith


My biggest SEO misconception was…

That any links you built had to be *directly* related to the industry you were in. And the agency I worked for at the time worked with some boooooorrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggggg industries. Once I realized that links could still pass value if they came from tangentially related sites, the world opened up to me!

Ryan Meghdies, Founder of Tastic Marketing

My biggest SEO misconception was…

When I first started SEO, keyword spamming was the #1 SEO technique. Businesses would have 5+ websites with domain names full of keyword spam. the URLs so that they could dominate the entire SERP; “bestwebdesigncompanynearby” followed by a TLD. Those techniques worked for so long, and to some degree could still work for long-tail searches that have very little competition. As search engine algorithms progressed, I believe my biggest challenge was leaving out those extra keywords. We always look back with more insight and experience, fun times back then though.

Troy Fawkes, Founder of Delta Growth

Troy Fawkes


My biggest SEO misconception was…

My biggest misconception about SEO when I first started in the industry was that it was about implementing best practices. I thought SEO was a shortcut to success, that it would take significantly less effort and investment than any other channel. I just had to get the right tag in the right place, and we’d generate revenue. The lesson I learned was that SEO takes a huge amount of effort, and that if you don’t think of SEO as a primarily user-focussed, high effort channel then you’re never going to succeed.

Psst! Want to learn SEO? I’ll send you a list of FREE SEO resources!

Ann Yaroshenko, Content Strategist at Jetoctopus

Ann Yaroshenko


My biggest SEO misconception was…

My biggest misconception about SEO was that I thought it enough to review Google’s guidelines and influencers’ articles superficially. You always need to spend time on detailed exploring of related content before giving any pieces of advice. You can build own trustworthy brand in SEO only if you understand what you are talking about.

Jaaved Khatree, Head of Digital at Pinpoint Media Group



My biggest SEO misconception was…

I thought that linking out to authoritative sites would help my own site!

Praveen Sharma, Owner of Softembly

Praveen Sharma


My biggest SEO misconception was…

I was taught by my seniors that Google crawls web directories first to find new websites, also, the more number of backlinks you have from these web directories, the higher you will rank.

François Joly, Technical SEO Freelancer

My biggest SEO misconception was…

If Googlebot is blocked with the robots.txt, it will not see noindex meta tag Your website will remain indexed. A couple of my staging websites run into this problem before I actually understand why

John Morabito, Director of SEO

John Morabito


My biggest SEO misconception was…

That google “loves fresh content” and that they would reward sites that published regularly. This content would then magically help other things to rank. Sure, parts of this are true, but the way I understood it at the time was as simplistic as “Google wants me to publish 1 blog per week or our rankings will fall”. For the record, this was year 1 of SEO for me. 8 years later I still hear SEOs say “google loves and rewards freshness” which is only true to a degree in certain circumstances, not a blanket truth.

Ali Nezamolmaleki, Head of SEO at AirHelp

Ali Nezamolmaleki


My biggest SEO misconception was…

Back in 2009 I had a lot of fun with “Keywords Tag”, each page of our sites had at least 100 keywords tags and I was wondering why we were not on the first page for each of them.

First position, 0 sales? what can goes wrong? That was another question I had to face, it took me a long time to understand just being on the first position doesn’t mean our company is going to crash the global economy, because there was no search around our keywords, not even our services.

Paula, Head of SEO at Punto Rojo



My biggest SEO misconception was…

When I started I thought the rel=canonical was a redirection.

Maria Hormaetxea, Chief Editor at Square Happiness

Maria Hormaetxea


My biggest SEO misconception was…

Site optimization is necessary only once and subsequent revisions could be optional.

Frank Olivo, CEO of Sagapixel

Frank Olivo


My biggest SEO misconception was…

When I first started, I thought the long tail was a lot shorter than it actually is. I was under the impression that ranking for two or three head terms would be a golden ticket; I was disabused of that idea pretty quickly.

Psst! Want to learn SEO? I’ll send you a list of FREE SEO resources!

Emilian Roman, SEO Product Owner at eMAG

Emilian Roman


My biggest SEO misconception was…

In 2005 I was pretty much sure that SEO means to add a few hundred of words in meta keyword tag! 🙂

Claire Brenner, Team Lead, Content Marketing & SEO at G2

Claire Brenner


My biggest SEO misconception was…

There were… quite a few, but our entire team went through a long period of time where we would make every. single. external link a no-follow. I think it’s a pretty big SEO misconception in general that external do-follows will harm your site when in reality, Google’s biggest concern is just that you’re linking to relevant content from high-authority sites that will help or inform your reader. It feels like Google’s acknowledged this with the announced change to no-follow links in March 2020, so we’ll see!

Sebastian Hovv, Director at SEO 101

Sebastian Hovv


My biggest SEO misconception was…

I used to believe the keywords with the highest search volume were the prize. I never took into consideration if it was the right fit for the page I was trying to optimize. I learned this lesson the hard way!

Ali Abbas, Director of Marketing at Crowdlinker

Ali Abbas


My biggest SEO misconception was…

My biggest misconception was that clients would jump on every suggestion I make and would actually implement them into their overall marketing strategy. Lesson learned.

SEO is not at the center of every business’s marketing strategy. Some companies prefer design over SEO. Some companies are reluctant to change copy/messaging on their website with target keywords. Some companies prefer the convenience and low cost rather than basic technical SEO implementations. What I’ve learned is to play the game to my best ability and know that I won’t get everything on my checklist in most scenarios.

Luke Carthy, Luke Carthy Consulting

Luke Carthy


My biggest SEO misconception was…

That more traffic is the silver bullet to achieving more sales.

It’s not always the case! A website that frustrates or irritates potential customers and therefore hemorrhages sales, will still continue to do so regardless of how much more traffic it has. The only difference is, you’ve paid an agency or spent a lot of time to throw away those potential customers and sales.

TL;DR – A website is struggling to generate sales or enquiries is likely to continue to do so even with more traffic. SEO is not always the silver bullet to more sales or enquiries.

Kristina Azarenko, SEO Consultant & Authour of MarketingSyrup

It would be impolite to share misconceptions of these great SEO professionals and leave out mine. So here it is!

Kristina Azarenko


My biggest SEO misconception was…

I thought that the more pages I create for a single keyword, the better because it makes the whole website relevant to this keyword.

On the SEO course I took, I needed to rank my website for the keyword “SEO contest”. So I created a post about it. And then another one, and a few more… Did it work? Not really. But now I have an SEO misconception to share, so it was worth it!

I quickly learned that Google ranks not websites per se but individual pages. This understanding helps me now create better navigation on the websites as well as make sure they are found when potential customers are looking for their services on Google.

Your Turn

Now you see that you don’t need to get everything right from the beginning. It takes time and experience. And that’s fine!

But most importantly: you need to start learning. You can do it right now. I put together a list of free SEO beginner resources you can download 🙂
I hope it will help you in your journey!

Psst! Want to learn SEO? I’ll send you a list of FREE SEO resources!

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One thought on “25 SEO Experts Share The SEO Misconceptions They Had When Started

  1. I love this topic! Although Rand’s was kind of beat-around-the-bush answer, and Bill straight up has a chip on his shoulder, haha. I’m curious how Ali’s from Crowdlinker ended though? Great article and I totally thought the same thing re: one keyword, all of the pages!

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