Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is constantly evolving and it can be hard to keep up with the latest best practices. Which leads to confusion about what businesses should be doing.
We’ve reviewed six of the biggest SEO myths and debunked them, telling you what you should be aiming to do instead.
SEO is dead
We saw so many articles last year claiming that SEO is dead. But unsurprisingly it’s still alive and kicking.
SEO has evolved plenty of times over the years and is now heavily involved with marketing. As long as search engines exist, SEO will exist.
SEO is spam
We understand where this idea comes from because being a spammer used to help your search rankings.
Unfortunately some people still use those outdated practices.
The best example of this is the unrelated and sometimes unreadable comments you may see on your blog or website which link back to irrelevant websites.
Using outdated spammy SEO tactics like that will probably result in search engines punishing your search rankings.
I need to rank number one
Out of all of the myths, this one is the one with the most truth to it. Ranking first isn’t the be all and end all but trying to rank as high as you can is important.
Studies have shown that the number one result gets 33% of search traffic. But you can still get visitors and gain customers by ranking sixth or seventh.
For some small businesses it may be impossible to rank number one because they are competing against internet giants such as Amazon.
If you find yourself in that situation it isn’t the end of the world because your website will still receive visits.
It isn’t solely your ranking that counts. If you’re ranking well but you aren’t giving visitors what they’re looking for then they will never convert.
I need to earn as many links as possible
Search engines are no longer just interested in the number of links you have. They’re also interested in the quality of these links.
If your website is linked to by hundreds of low quality websites, search engines will think that your website is poor quality. If your website receives links from high quality websites they will see your website as trustworthy.
It’s better to have 10 links from high quality trustworthy websites than 100 links from poor quality websites.
In fact, Moz’s Rand Fishkin believes that co-citation will become more important, which doesn’t even involve a physical link.
What happens is Google may ‘see’ that a brand name is being mentioned alongside a keyword quite often. It will begin to improve that website’s ranking for that keyword. Despite it not being linked to much and in some cases the keyword doesn’t appear on the page that often.
To use one of Rand’s examples if you search for ‘backlink analysis’ you’ll see that Open Site Explorer is ranking really high despite the words ‘backlink analysis’ not being mentioned on the homepage.
In part of the snippet it uses for Open Site Explorer is text from an article on another website about Open Site Explorer.
The more times we use a keyword the better
Search engines are no longer influenced by the number of times a keyword appears on a website.
Using a keyword as many times as possible is known as ‘keyword stuffing’ and is something a search engine will punish your website for.
You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘content is king’ used enough to last you a lifetime when it comes to SEO but that’s because it’s true.
If you focus on creating brilliant quality that will help people who visit your website. Make sure that you do add some instances of keywords you want to show up for, you will slowly begin to see your ranking for those words improve.
Directory listings are important
Like many of the other SEO myths, directory listings were once considered important because they sent a link to your website.
People abused this and as a result search engines aren’t heavily influenced by directory listings anymore.
That isn’t to say that directories are completely useless when used properly. There are hundreds and thousands of directories on the internet but not all of them are equal.
If your business is listed on a directory that people use and trust, such as Yell, Dmoz or Yahoo, it will benefit your business. As well as send traffic to your website and hopefully generate leads for you.
Being listed on a directory that people don’t visit won’t bring your website much traffic or generate many leads. And being linked to by lots of low quality directories could damage your rankings.
SEO can be daunting to begin with. But you’ll find it easier to understand when you think that the aim of a search engine is to provide users with the best, most trustworthy and relevant results they can.
Understanding this will help you to realise that SEO is more than keywords. It is about pretty much every aspect of your online presence.
If you’re based in Burntwood, Lichfield, Staffordshire or the West Midlands and need help with SEO, get in touch to find out how we can benefit your business, or you can check out more our SEO blogs here.