Over the years I’ve come across numerous myths and misconceptions surrounding current SEO best practise. These have often spawned from poor assumptions or outdated knowledge. The following list comprises of the 5 most common SEO myths and misconceptions that should be laid to rest.
Myth 1: Meta tags are important for Google rankings…
Back in 2009 Google went on record to say that the Meta Description and Meta Keywords tags are no longer ranking factors within their search algorithm.
Since then I’ve seen this subject crop back up time and time again. The intended use of a Meta Keywords tag was to inform search crawlers of the nature of the content of a webpage. Unfortunately this HTML element was heavily abused by spammers stuffing it with long lists of keywords. Consequently Google and other major search engines have since decided to ignore it altogether.
My advice would be to omit the Meta Keywords tag entirely from your webpages. All you’re doing is giving your competitors valuable insight for the target focus of your SEO campaign. Save your time and focus on other areas of your marketing strategy.
Continue to utilise Meta Descriptions. While these no longer have an impact on your Google rankings, these are still pulled into the search engine results pages. They are your opportunity to write compelling descriptions of the content of your webpages to entice clicks to your website.
Myth 2: The quantity of links to my website matters…
There’s no denying that links are important for SEO. Google’s dominance in the market can be attributed in-part to the superior search results achieved with their link focused PageRank algorithm.
A common misconception is that the quantity of links to your website is what matters, when in fact it’s all about the quality of your links. Think of a link as a vote of confidence for your website, you want it to come from a reputable source. One link from a website with high authority will often outweigh many more from less reputable sources.
It can take a great deal of time and effort to build online relationships and grow your brand, before you receive a link from a website with high authority. However, I encourage you to stick at it, and don’t get tempted to take shortcuts by turning your attention to large scale low quality link building.
Myth 3: Stuffing content with keywords will achieve great rankings…
The idea of stuffing a landing page with keywords to make it rank well is a common myth that needs to be debunked. This perception runs deep as many SEO’s also believe there is a magic keyword density that should be observed for optimal performance.
My advice is to focus on writing fantastic content for the benefit of your visitors first, not the search engines. If you have a designated keyword focus for your landing page then by all means include your keywords, but do so in a natural manor that will read well to your visitors. Don’t limit yourself to including phrases exactly; modern search algorithms are intelligent enough to understand the use of synonyms.
Myth 4: SEO and UX are two separate entities…
As ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ has evolved I’ve considered whether the meaning of the SEO acronym should evolve with it. One possible candidate would be ‘Search Experience Optimisation’ as user experience plays a significant role in the effectiveness of any SEO campaign.
View SEO as a long term investment in your website; improving your user experience will help your content to gain the attention it deserves. Don’t set out to manipulate the search algorithms for short term gains.
Myth 5: Prominent positions for highly searched keywords will guarantee success…
When conducting keyword research it’s easy to fixate on keywords which yield high search volumes. You might imagine that achieving prominent positions for such keywords will guarantee instant success for your business. In reality unless you equally consider the relevance of a keyword to your business, you’ll make little positive impact.
Focus your efforts on attaining prominent positions for search queries, which are highly relevant to your products and services, within the region in which you operate. Average monthly search volumes of longer-tail targeted keywords will undoubtedly be lower than generic keywords, but for those visits you do increase your chances of retaining a visitor and receiving an enquiry are significantly increased.
SEO is often perceived as some sort of dark and mystical art, rest assured it certainly isn’t, but if you are looking for some advice or are interested in developing a long term SEO strategy, get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.