If the world of search engine optimisation (SEO) often feels like a bit of a mystery to you, you’re certainly not alone. The SEO landscape has altered significantly in a comparatively short space of time and it will continue to evolve at a rapid pace long into the future.
Although evolution is undeniably a good thing because it provides so many new opportunities for small businesses, there are some downsides as well. Arguably the most prominent obstacle is the sheer number of SEO myths that have become remarkably persistent.
The amount of misinformation that continues to be shared by those who aren’t staying one step ahead of emerging approaches and strategies means that SEO can very quickly become confusing and difficult to navigate. And acting on the wrong advice can send you spiralling off course, which will obviously be detrimental to the growth of your small business.
So, we’re here to dispel some of these myths and somewhat demystify SEO because developing and implementing a robust strategy has the potential to transform the fortunes of your small business.
1. Keywords Matter
Keywords clearly do play an important role in rankings and you should endeavour to incorporate relevant keywords into your content. The caveat here is that keyword density, as in the percentage of keywords your content contains, doesn’t matter. In fact, incorporating an extreme number of keywords into your content can actually be detrimental.
This is where the term TF-IDF comes into play. Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency essentially, looks at keyword density, it does so in the context of what’s happening on the rest of the web. This means that if you’re using particular keywords in a number that is unusual for a specific topic, Google is less likely to view your webpage as a relevant piece of content and is instead more likely to perceive your content as being manipulative and of low quality.
The good news is that Google’s Hummingbird update has made keyword targeting significantly easier. All you need to do is approach the process with a keen focus on searcher intent.
2. Content and Links Aren’t THAT Important
Staying with the topic of content for a little while longer here, there are a remarkably large percentage of so-called SEO experts that don’t believe that content is as important as it really is. So, if you’ve heard anyone say that content or links ‘are dead’ steer well clear of the rest of their advice because it’s likely to lead you down the wrong path.
Content plays a significant role in telling Google which search engine results pages (SERPs) your webpage should be ranked for. And links play a significant role in telling Google how high to rank your content on the SERP. As they both have their own distinct role, it is important to carefully consider both when creating content. If your focus is solely on backlinks, the experience you’re offering to your visitors isn’t going to meet their expectations. Without excellent content, you’re essentially forcing your visitors to guide themselves through your sales funnel and make their own decisions with no support. Clearly, visitors aren’t going to do this because they know it won’t be too difficult to find another business that can offer the experience they want which will lead them to ultimately convert.
3. Backlinks Can be Bought with No Negative Repercussions
Buying backlinks simply isn’t something you should be engaging with. If it is something that you have considered, it’s imperative to remember that low-quality links are easy to get which, yes, does mean that high-quality links can’t simply be purchased.
Updates to Google PageRank were introduced to combat the nefarious SEO technique of buying links in bulk. So, links on webpages that contain a lot of other links are worth less than a small selection of high-quality links would be worth.
It’s also important to highlight that if you bulk buy links, you’re essentially aligning yourself with myriad low-quality websites that have also bought those same links. The best-case scenario here would be that those links don’t add any value at all. But in the worst case scenario you will place your website into a position that may take several years to overcome.
4. I Only Need to Do SEO Once
If you’re looking at SEO as a strategy to remain competitive within your marketplace, you absolutely cannot get away with viewing SEO as a one-time activity. Now, there certainly are agencies out there who advertise simple site audits that will flag approximately 20 ‘fixes’ that can boost your rankings. Yes, there are some best practices that will yield beneficial results but if you want to remain truly competitive, investing in your SEO is something that will need to be done on an ongoing basis.
So, if one of your competitors is ranking above you in a key SERP, this isn’t something that you should view as simply just being the way things are. Because with the right SEO strategy, you can overtake them and benefit from the additional traffic this will deliver.
5. Meta Tags Aren’t Important
Meta tags are used to display a snippet of on-page content in SERPs. They have three components: the title tag, the meta description, and meta phrases or keywords. The keywords meta tag isn’t used by search engines when determining ranking positions, however meta descriptions are still important. When meta descriptions aren’t present, Google may select a sentence from the body of a page to display in SERPs but retaining control is key if you want to ensure your search result is as attractive as possible to potential visitors.
In addition to ensuring that your meta descriptions are concise and unique, they should also be descriptive. Using a journalistic approach and asking yourself ‘Who? What? Why? Where? When? How?’ can be particularly beneficial when constructing an informative and engaging meta description that will appeal to your ideal audience.
There are many SEO myths out there and a lot of the time, they are based on out of date practices and techniques or hearsay with no basis in fact. Working with a reputable SEO agency with a proven track record and client testimonials to back it up, like UK based Superb Digital, means you’ll know the information you’re getting is accurate and based on real world experience.