SEO has a somewhat questionable reputation. In the past, people shared supposed tricks that would instantly get you to rank. But a lot has changed in the SEO world. So, are these tricks still true? Let’s take a look at what’s an SEO fact, and what’s SEO fiction!

The origin of this reputation

A lifetime ago, when Google’s algorithm wasn’t that good, you could trick your way into the search results. Putting down keywords in white (so nobody would see, but Google would crawl it) was an effective strategy back then. As was buying bulks of links from questionable sites. As Google evolved, these kinds of dirty SEO tricks started to backfire. 

If you’re wondering whether certain tactics of old school or blackhat SEO still pay off, just think: does it give the user a better experience on your site? Does your website become a better result? If you can answer these questions with yes, then it’s probably a good SEO strategy. Anything that feels like a trick though, probably won’t be a good SEO strategy in the long run. So, let’s look at some SEO statements and find out if they’re fact or fiction!

SEO fact or fiction?

Fact or fiction 1: Content is king

Content is a very important aspect of any SEO strategy. After all, Google crawls texts and determines the ranking of your site on the quality of your texts. High-quality content also leads to lower bounce rates and more social media attention.

SEO fact: Content is king

While backlinks are definitely important for your SEO strategy, you should be rather selective in which kinds of backlinks you’d want to attract to your website. To start, you shouldn’t buy large amounts of links. (Nor should you exchange links.) Secondly, don’t use any automated programs to get links. Moreover, don’t do guest blogging with very thin content and don’t go for links that are unrelated to the topic of your website. You shouldn’t have links from spammy sites whose only purpose is to advertise for gambling, viagra and porn (unless your website is about gambling, viagra and porn). Lastly, make sure there is real content behind the links you use. In a nutshell: you should never pay for links.

If you choose to go overboard on link building, you’ll risk a penguin penalty and lose your rankings in Google. If you want to learn more about link building strategies and other essential SEO skills, you should check out our All-around SEO training! 

SEO fiction: Get as many links as possible

Fact or fiction 3: Keyword density should be sky high

Some people claim you should put as many keywords in your texts as possible. They hope that Google will notice the amount of keywords they’re using and therefore will rank the text highest in the search results. However, their text will become unreadable. So they shouldn’t do that! It’ll definitely backfire. Never write content that’s created for the search engines. Always write content with a real audience in mind. Invest in high-quality content that’ll generate long-term stable traffic to your website.

SEO fiction: keyword density should be sky high

Fact or fiction 4: You don’t need high-end technical skills to do SEO

Technical SEO is definitely an important element of an SEO strategy. And it doesn’t hurt to learn a bit of code (it could even be great fun). However, if you’re using WordPress and our Yoast SEO plugin, your technical SEO is pretty much covered. Our plugin is designed to take care of all the technical aspects of your SEO strategy.

SEO fact: You don’t need high-end technical skills to do SEO

Fact or fiction 5: Meta descriptions don’t matter

Google rewrites 70% of manually added meta descriptions. That means there’s a high chance that a meta description you added manually will be rewritten by Google. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pay attention to the content of your meta description. Meta descriptions provide critical information to both search engines and users. Moreover, it’s based on the SEO title and meta description that the user decides whether to visit your page. Neglecting them would be missing an opportunity to get more traffic to your website.

SEO fiction: Meta descriptions don’t matter

Fact or fiction 6: Social media can improve your rankings

Google doesn’t look at your website’s social media performance (like followers or shares) when ranking your content. However, a good social media strategy helps your rankings by boosting your traffic. A lot of traffic makes search engines deem your content as relevant. Furthermore, the difference between search engines and social media has been blurring. For example, both Google and Instagram can be used to find an answer to a question. 

SEO fact: Social media can improve your rankings

Fact or fiction 7: Google will be replaced by AI

While using AI platforms as search engines might be relatively new, AI has been shaping the search engine experience for quite some time. For example, AI is what helps Google provide voice search and image search. And not only are some search engines introducing their own AI language models (like Gemini), they are also integrating AI models into the search engine results.

So while we don’t know exactly what the future holds, it’s clear that Google and AI found a way to work together instead of replacing each other.

SEO fiction: Google will be replaced by AI

Fact or fiction 8: SEO is all tricks

At Yoast, we propose an SEO strategy we refer to as holistic SEO. Holistic SEO means you focus on developing a long-term SEO strategy that focuses on all aspects of website optimization, in order to be the best result. Part of this strategy is to write awesome content, do great PR and social, make sure your website is properly secured and create a superb User Experience. And of course, your website should have technical excellence and an awesome site structure. That’s no trick. That’s just a whole lot of hard work.

SEO fiction: SEO is all tricks


The final SEO fiction actually says it all: SEO is not all tricks. Yoast believes that SEO is a long-term strategy that focuses on creating quality content for your audience and becoming the best result. It is a lot of work, but it will definitely pay off in the long run!

Read more: Holistic SEO »

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