Bing’s Duane Forrester Debunks 10 SEO Myths

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Duane Forrester, Bing’s Senior Product Manager, took to the Bing Webmaster Blog today to give his analysis on 10 of the most common SEO myths.

The SEO myths, along with a recap of Duane’s analysis for each, are as follows.

1. I need to rank #1

Duane says it’s nice to be on top, but actual rankings fluctuate on a daily basis. He also says not to obsess too much over being on the first page, as the click-through rates for the top positions on the second page are often times higher than the click-through rates for the lower positions on the first page.

2. My Title tag will save me

Duane says titles are important, but they won’t save a “sinking ship” if you neglect everything else.

3. Social is all I need

Again, Duane says that there’s no one thing that will bring success with SEO, but he also suggests that social media is an integral part of the complex formula of SEO.

4. Videos are all I need

Duane admits videos are great, visitors love them and they’re easier than ever to produce, but they also come with a handful of negatives. They slow down page load times and search engines don’t understand video content like they understand written content. Duane suggests if you’re going to add a video to your site to include a transcript of it as well, for the search engines’ benefit.

5. Buying ads helps my rankings

Absolutely not, Duane says. The day a search engine starts determining rankings based on ad buying is the day that search engine loses all credibility.

6. I make awesome content

You don’t get to decide whether or not you make awesome content, your visitors do. You can tell by how visitors engage with your content whether or not they like your writing style. Duane suggests following the patterns of your visitors when it comes to creating content.

7. Links are all I need

Duane says the most important thing when it comes to links is that they are acquired naturally. “You want links to surprise you. You should never know in advance a link is coming, or where it’s coming from. If you do, that’s the wrong path.”

8. Marking up my content will help it rank

Marking up content (I presume he means with Schema markup) helps search engines better understand your content, but it doesn’t boost rankings.

9. Usability is different than SEO

Duane says it’s time people started viewing these two things as similar, since they are both focused on improving a website for users. Optimizing for search and usability leads to the best experience.

10. SEO is all I need

Again, Duane repeats for a third time that just doing one thing very well doesn’t necessarily lead to success. SEO makes up the foundation of a website, but there are many other parts that go into it.

For more information about any of these points, please see Duane’s full post.

Matt Southern

Matt Southern

Lead News Writer
Matt Southern is the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides.
Matt Southern
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  • Arun Kallarackal

    Point #1 was actually interesting. I mean, the fact revealed stating that the posts ranking well on the second page had a better CTR than the posts low on the first page. This fact alone will shatter the beliefs of many people their obsession with somehow getting on to the first page of SERPs.

    #7, regarding nature of the links is also quite useful stuff. It should be like- links shouldn’t be built, they should be earned. The way author explained that part is awesome. If we know that a link is going to come in advance, it is useless! What a sentence! ūüôā To be true, links should be earned. I also support this statement.

    A very interesting myth busting session. I guess more and more such articles should come, so that people get to know what actually SEO is all about.


    • Matt Jackson

      I don’t think you can ever aim for the top of page 2 and you certainly shouldn’t be upset at reaching 9th instead of 11th.

      If you reach the bottom of page 1, and are getting fewer hits that when you were 11th, then you’re still a lot closer to hitting what should be your primary target, which is reaching the top of page 1.

      Never aim for mediocrity.

      • Norm Miller

        I agree Matt J. Suggesting we settle for the top of page 2, doesn’t really debunk the “myth” that firms need to be #1. Which I don’t believe is a myth in the first place. While CTR’s of top of page 2 may be better then bottom of page 1, impressions are significantly lower, and in my experience, so are conversion rates.

      • Norm Miller

        Sorry, another thought on being past page 1. I consistently observe high impressions with a really low average position in Google Webmaster Tools.

        For example one client we are performing SEO for has 64 impressions in last 90 days with an average position of 71 for the search phrase “maid service software that uses quickbooks”. I have a hard time believing that phrase was searched on 64 times, much less the number of times it would require to get 64 impressions on page 6, since most people don’t go past page 1.

        They have had 197 impressions with an average position of 160 for the phrase “group training atlanta ga”. OK, so this is in Atlanta, but 160 impressions on page 15 in 90 days? Do real people go to page 15 of the search results?

      • Umer

        I most certainly agree with you.

        Also, as Duane said, there’s no single thing that can take you to the top (of course, we’re talking about decently tough keywords here), but it’s a combined effort of all things that sum up to bring you the desired results

  • My chatmeter

    All of these points are well..on point! We like how Duane emphasizes how success isn’t based on just one component like SEO or Social. The first point is actually very interesting. It’s good to know that it’s okay if you’re not number one. It may not be so bad coming in second place if click through rates are higher on the second page search results!