Many sources claim to have the right answers about how to make your business website SEO-friendly. As they often have conflicting views of things, it’s easy to get confused. Does it mean that some articles are simply wrong?
As much as not all websites are trustworthy, there’s one thing you should keep in mind when looking for SEO tips. Namely, the publication date. What was published a few years ago may well still be true but beware if you see newer sources claiming the opposite.
In other words, sources don’t have to be wrong. They may have been right once upon a time and simply become outdated over time. It’s quite clear how this situation could have contributed to the creation of SEO myths that simply won’t go away. Here are some of the most important ones NOT to believe:
1. It’s All About the Keywords
Neither keyword density formulas nor a specific number of keywords will make you rank on the first page of Google. In 2020 you simply can’t base your content strategy on the right use of keywords only.
In fact, Google has been fine-tuning its approach to keywords with a number of updates, starting with the Panda update in 2011. It was meant to prevent websites with low quality content from ranking high in search results.
There’s also a recent update, BERT, that focuses on contextual reading to match search queries with more relevant content.
As you can see you need much more to please Google than just a repetition of phrases popular in search. Keywords do matter because it’s important to make your content relevant and easy to find. However, instead of using the same words over and over again, you strive to publish naturally sounding quality content with synonyms and industry specific expressions.
2. Keywords Are a Thing of the Past
Speaking of conflicting views, this statement is another one you can hear around. Why would people even say such a thing? Well, the way to work with keywords is completely different than it used to be and in that way they are a thing of the past.
There was a time when your article could make completely no sense and still drive plenty of visitors from search engines as long as the right keywords were there in abundance. Today keyword stuffing is one of the surest ways to get your website penalised by Google.
It’s still important to do a keyword research, though. One of the reasons why is that we use different words and expressions for the same things. While your instinct may be to use the term “children’s camp”, someone else may prefer to say “summer camp”. The choice of vocabulary on your website should be based on preferences of the majority of people searching the web for services similar to yours.
3. You Should Copy the Best Ranking Websites
If it works for big brands on the first page of Google, it will work for your company too, right? Unfortunately, that’s very far from the truth. Google prefers big brands and it’s not a secret. Just check out this infographic to see how Google’s algorithm has been changing to strengthen this preference.
Big brands don’t need to work as hard as other businesses for their ranking. They can also get away with a lot. If you use their websites as your only inspiration, you may end up ranking worse not better. Keep that in mind and focus on making your business website unique.
4. Duplicate Content Is Penalised
There’s no duplicate content penalty as such. However, having numerous pages with repetitive content adding no value may affect your ranking.
In other words, there’s a difference between reusing the same sentence in a few places and copying a whole article, tweaking a sentence or two and publishing it as a new one. This could be tempting for a number of reasons none of which can be considered a good SEO practice.
There are also risks related to writing about the same thing over and over again, even with significant changes to the text. Remember that more content isn’t always better.
5. Social Media Boost Your Ranking
Social signals don’t boost your organic ranking directly. They can strengthen your brand and give you more visibility but there’s no direct link between the two. Remember that correlation does not imply causation.
6. Page Speed Is a Key Ranking Factor
Many people are worried about page speed, thinking it’s one of the most important ranking factors. However, the value of it is overestimated.
Making your business website user-friendly is an important part of your SEO strategy. This also means making sure that it loads relatively fast. That makes sense as a website that loads too slowly discourages users from engaging with it. Additionally, slow loading speed directly affects your bounce rate. Plus, it’s clear that when people leave your website just after arriving, it means there’s no chance for a conversion.
Having said that, an increased page loading speed is only a factor that counts for an otherwise optimised website. First and foremost, your business has to feature content relevant to your industry and to searches.
7. Google PPC Will Boost Your Ranking
Google PPC can help you get a spike in traffic, similarly like other well-executed campaigns. However, there’s no link between PPC and a better ranking in terms of organic traffic.
The tools used for evaluating websites for PPC and SEO are separate entities. Google Ads won’t help your organic traffic efforts. You should 100% use PPC as a marketing channel but do it to improve your organic rankings and you’ll be out of luck.
8. Only Content Requires Optimisation
There’s probably no phrase better known in online marketing than “Content is king”. It’s used often because it’s true. Here’s the thing, though: a kingdom can’t thrive if its only advantage is a great king. Similarly, a website needs more than just amazing content for outstanding SEO.
To make your business stand out online, you need to use both off-site and on-site SEO. There’s also much more to on-site SEO than just content marketing.
9. Visuals Don’t Require Optimisation
One of the things that require optimisation but are often neglected are images and videos. Take advantage of this popular SEO myth and turn it into an opportunity for your business.
Images should be precisely described. The more accurate the description, the better Google understands what it’s looking at. The ultimate place to look for tips in this respect are Google image best practices.
The same goes for your business’s YouTube videos. Just like with images, describe them properly and make use of tags and categories so that people can find them through search.
Don’t underestimate the importance of optimisation of visuals. After all, apart from displaying them in regular search, Google has a dedicated video and image search - and it owns YouTube.
10. SEO Can Be Sorted Once and For All
SEO doesn’t simply get sorted. Of course, you can order an audit of your website and fix SEO issues that are affecting your website’s ranking. This can help but it’s not enough to optimise your online presence for search engines.
To truly help your business you need a long-term SEO strategy that’s built around proven strategies to fit your unique business goals. Google algorithms are constantly changing so you don’t want to rely too heavily on just one approach. Only by creating a valuable and user-friendly website you can get the desired results for your business.
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