According to Mashable, Google gets over 100 billion searches a month worldwide. That’s 100 billion opportunities to have someone find your website, buy your product, or consult your service. It is also 100 billion opportunities to have someone miss your website if you aren’t using proper SEO best practices and techniques. How can you know that you aren’t falling victim to some of the many notorious SEO myths out there?

Here are seven of the biggest and baddest SEO myths circulating the web today. Some are simply old – and outdated – SEO practices, some are just short of being correct, and some are flat out harmful. Many companies still follow these practices, though, so we recommend using this guide to not only recognize bad advice, but to understand how to overcome it with best practices.

  1. “Links are better than content.” Back in the beginning of SEO practices, many businesses went for quantity over quality when it came to cross-linking on their web pages. With the release of the Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird algorithm updates, however, Google has made it very clear that it’s not ok to try to game the search engine system. Focus on having relevant and diverse sources linking to relevant pages to get to the top of the search engines the right way.
  2. “It’s not important to have a HTTPS encrypted site.” Some URLs start with HTTP and some start with HTTPS. The difference? The extra S signifies that that web pages is secured and you can feel confident that data shared on that page is safe. Not surprisingly, Google greatly prefers secured sites that are trusted and certified when determining search engine results.
  3. “Social doesn’t affect your SEO ranking.” It takes more than just a couple keywords to ensure your website’s success. Although Google doesn’t explicitly state that it takes your social pages into account, it does pay attention to the traffic driven by social media. The biggest social sites have implemented over 750 new algorithms in the last year alone that affect marketing efforts so just remember: a successful SEO program includes a successful social program.
  4. “If my desktop site is optimized well, my mobile site will be fine.” You can’t just assume user experience will be positive through multiple platforms just because you have a responsive website. Since most searches occur on mobile devices, search algorithms for mobile take user experience into account. Make sure that the mobile experience for your page is top notch or you could lose out on potential mobile rankings and visitors.
  5. “With regards to content… less is more.” This is wrong. Plain, flat-out, 200% wrong. Quick, lazy content isn’t the answer, but creating as much quality, shareable, informative, and relevant content as possible is going to be the cornerstone to any successful marketing plan.
  6. “Keywords need to be an exact match.” Exact match keywords are the bane of quality headlines and title tags everywhere. Google no longer needs to match keywords to web pages exactly, with new algorithms it’s able to understand the more organic ways we talk – and type – so worry more about readability and less about keyword matches. This also goes back to the previous point. The more comprehensive content you create around a topic the more semantic keyword opportunities you have.
  7. “For local SEO, I only need to have the city and state on my pages.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. If you’re a local business especially, having more information available is going to generate more leads from nearby people looking for nearby solutions. Keep your information relevant, include as much data like hours and address that you have, and stay consistent with citations for the best results.