Are your company’s SEO efforts in a rut?

If you’re churning out content only to see your rankings remain stagnant, chances are you’ve fallen prey to common SEO myths. To attract more eyeballs and drive conversions, while trends in SEO are constantly evolving, there are some practices you’ll want to avoid regardless of the latest algorithm change.

Here’s a look at four of the most common myths pervading the SEO world – and how marketers can better position their companies for SEO success.

Myth #1: Lots of content generates higher rankings

Reality: Quality trumps quantity

Spending more time honing fewer pieces of content may seem counterintuitive, but it’s a far superior method of driving results than turning your marketing team into a content factory.

Google’s algorithm rewards content that delivers relevant results to searchers. This often entails thoroughness: An analysis of Google search results found that the average first-page result contains 1,890 words. Fifteen pieces of content that barely scratch the surface of a topic will be drowned out by a more comprehensive page that packages information in a compelling and user-friendly manner. Such content will be shared by more users and enjoy a longer shelf life.

Myth #2: More backlinks mean higher rankings

Reality: One quality link can be more beneficial than many poor ones

Inbound links from highly-trafficked and relevant sites will give your site a significant search boost, whereas links from obscure, low-quality sites are ineffective at best and can actually damage your site’s link profile.

Of course, many backlinks from many stellar sites are even better than a handful of such backlinks – but as with the content on your own website, emphasizing quality over volume is crucial. Ensuring that your website is up to snuff can help generate premium backlinks.

Myth #3: Content must be lengthy to climb the ranks

Reality: Search intent should define content development

While it’s true that the average first-page result skews longer, that doesn’t mean that you should strive for lengthiness in all cases. User intent matters.

So when should you opt for lengthiness, and when is brevity the soul of SEO success? Viewing each case through the searcher’s lens can help guide your path. Consider a user searching for “top tourist attractions in London.” A piece titled “15 London Tourist Attractions You Can’t Miss” is likelier to spark her interest than one titled “2 Top Tourist Attractions in London.” The former post gives her far more to work with, and while the latter page may indeed provide some handy information, it’s unlikely to be the first page she visits, given its dearth of options.

But say our tourist has arrived in London and is conducting a search for “vegan pizza restaurant in Notting Hill.” In this case, she’ll need short and to-the-point results reflective of her navigational intent.

It’s not complicated: To draw more users, optimize content according to what it is they’re searching for.

Myth #4: A high search ranking is enough to accomplish your KPI

Reality: Traffic is great, but it’s only the first step to conversions

If you’re luring a high volume of users only to see them leave your site without taking action, your content strategy needs some rejiggering. Ensure that your landing page features a clear call to action and is optimized for conversions. Utilize A/B testing to determine which messages ultimately move users to perform desired actions.

In SEO, the intent is a two-way street. Developing your content through the prism of both the user and your company is key to an SEO strategy that generates both traffic and results.