Technology changes fast. Which means the internet changes fast. Which means Google, and Google’s algorithm, and the entire concept of SEO are all changing fast. This rapidly shifting landscape has given rise to a fair number of myths and misconceptions about SEO.
Here are 18 of these myths:
1.) Google Authorship Increases Search Visibility And Click Through Rates
In 2011, Google started an experiment where by using certain tags, you could link content to the Google+ profile of it’s author. They called it “Google Authorship.” Cut to three years later, the big G determined this practice had a low adoption rate, and minimal value to searchers, and as of August 2014, Authorship got the Axe.
2.) I Must Submit My Site To Google
While you technically can submit your site manually to Google (and Yahoo, and Bing), search engines have gotten way smarter at crawling the web on their own. Submitting your site isn’t necessary, nor will it guarantee getting indexed.
3.) More Links Are Better Than More Content
Building an SEO strategy around quantity of links is outdated thinking. Now, it’s all about quality content. Links are still important, but the focus should be on relevance and diversity of sources. Quality content can be used in a variety of ways, and over time, that content will result in links.
4.) Having A Secure (HTTPS Encrypted) Site Isn't Important For SEO
We all know that every URL begins with “http.“ Except some of them actually begin with “https.” And that’s not the same thing. The “S” stands for “secure,” and it means there’s an extra layer of security baked right in. And as of August 2014, Google announced that their algorithms were taking that “S” into account for search rankings.
5.) SEO Is All About Rankings
Where you place in search results is important, but not as important as it used to be. Therefore, ranking obsession is not a good hole to fall down. Modern search engines are smarter, and so are users. It’s much better to rank first in relevance to your potential customers than it is to rank first in search result placement.
6.) Meta Descriptions Have A Huge Impact On Search Rankings
Websites are capable of having certain descriptions and information about the site written directly into the HTML in the form of what’s called “meta” descriptions. Meta information never appears on the web page itself, but it can appear in the preview snippets that show up in search results. These meta descriptions won’t, however, have any impact on your rankings.
7.) SEO Is Something I Can Hand Off To IT
While SEO does sometimes require a bit of technical wizardry, it is not a strictly technical task. The best SEO combines a bit of technical with a bit of strategic and creative thinking. After all, for most people, your IT specialist is not going to be much help in creating the quality content needed for good SEO.
8.) On-Page SEO Is All I Need To Rank
Search engines used to be all about keywords. Your website had keywords, searches had keywords, match up the keywords and - voila - you’ve got search results. In 2016 though? Not so much. Google now does a much better job of actually trying to answer the questions people throw at it. So while keywords still have their place, don’t expect them to unlock all the mysteries of SEO.
9.) Keywords Need To Be An Exact Match
Don’t go trying to jam keywords into places they don’t belong. It’s uncomfortable, and everyone can tell. Including search engines. Keywords in your headlines and content should be used in a way that feels natural and results in the highest level of clarity for your audience. And your audience is not Google robots.
10.) The H1 Is The Most Important On-Page Element
H1 is an incredibly important HTML element… if you’re a designer in the process of styling a web page. When it comes to search engine results, H1 (or any other title tag for that matter) has basically no impact.
11.) My Homepage Needs A Lot Of Content
Cramming your homepage full of content isn’t going to help your SEO. Especially if it means that when people do click through to your site, they feel like they are under content-assault. For most people, your home page should be about making a good first impression, and showing visitors what you’re all about.
12.) The More Pages I Have The Better
The internet is a really really big place. Just because you take up more space, doesn’t mean it’s easier for people to find you. In fact, the more you try to create loads of content, the more likely it becomes that the quality of the content you are creating will suffer. Remember, quality over quantity.
13.) For Local SEO, I Only Need To List My Company's City, State And/Or Country
Don’t think you can just slap your physical address on your web page and consider local SEO handled. It takes more thought, and that thought is worth it, since Google’s algorithm is designed to boost local search results to the top.
14.) Microsites/Other Domains I Own That Link/Redirect Back To My Domain Help
Not only does this have virtually zero impact on SEO, at this point you are really just working against yourself. At the risk of sounding like your high school math teacher, if you took the time you spent goofing around, building microsites and instead did your homework, err, built quality content for your main site, you’d be getting an A.
15.) Bad Site Links Won't Affect Me
Having an SEO strategy is a good idea. Trying to get tricky or scammy or game the system is a bad idea. At best, you’ll be wasting your time. At worst, Google will punish you or ban you from results. And trust us. Google knows.
16.) SEO Is Not A Usability Issue
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization” but you should think of it more like “Search Experience Optimization.” Never forget that your website is designed for humans, not search engines. It’s the search engine’s job to read what’s relevant in your site the way a human would, not the other way around.
17.) SEO And Inbound Marketing Don't Mix
SEO and inbound marketing go hand-in-hand. SEO may be about how your website interacts with search engines, but potential clients or customers (in other words, people) are the ones on the other end of those searches. SEO is a tool to make sure you are reaching the right people, which is a vital part of inbound marketing strategy.
18.) SEO Is A One-Time Review
As long as you continue wanting people to search for your business, SEO will continue to be important. The internet itself is constantly changing, and Google, as a result, is constantly adding, subtracting, and refreshing it’s index. The only way to stay part of it is to treat SEO less like a single project and more like a regular process that is part of your business.
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