SEO is often seen much like the dark arts; a mysterious set of spells that will magically get your website ranking at the top of Google.
That is not the case. But as SEO is often seen this way, unfortunately there are a lot of myths and incorrect information about what you need to do to get to the top of Google.
As more and more businesses enter the online space to get a piece of the search ranking pie, it has become more important than ever to know what SEO tactics will work for you.
This article will help you sort fact from fiction, getting to the bottom of what tactics will help you compete in Google and what are just old wives’ tales that will cause harm to your website.
Myth 1: Using meta descriptions and meta keywords will increase your rankings.
This is the number 1 myth I come across. In fact, I come across this misconception on almost a daily basis.
While optimising your meta descriptions and meta keywords did play a role in increasing your search rankings in the early days of SEO, they have not been a Google ranking factor for years (since 2009). While meta descriptions don’t affect your ranking position, well-written and client-focused meta descriptions can attract potential customers to click on your page.
Don’t however; be shocked if your beautifully written meta descriptions don’t appear in Google. Sometimes Google will decide to show a description in their search results that includes content that they have pulled from the ranking page. This is okay and does not mean that your page is not optimised.
Simply don’t bother with meta keywords. In fact, I would recommend avoiding them completely as Bing interprets meta keywords as a spam signal and Google and Yahoo just ignore them.
Myth 2: SEO can be automated. And it will save you money.
One of the most common myths is that SEO can be automated. This common misconception is also one of the most dangerous as it is advertised to save you time and money. This is far from the truth, and will likely end with you, your website and your website’s revenue getting burnt.
Whether it is article spinning, mass directory submission or meta data generation tools, using automated SEO software that will “do your SEO for you”, is considered spam and will get you penalised by Google.
Google’s algorithms are clever and can detect when a website is tricking search engines to rank them higher. And while it may appear to work in the short term, Google will pick up on it, and your rankings and organic traffic will come crashing down. So it’s definitely not worth the risk.
SEO Automation is only a positive for analysis and reporting. Combined with manual expert analysis and interpretation, SEO systems can provide you with data showing you where your keywords are ranking or how many broken links you have and which pages they are on; which allows you to focus on making those changes.
Myth 3: Keyword rich domain names will give my website higher rankings.
While this tactic worked years ago and may have secured you a 1st page ranking for the keyword in your domain, a Google algorithm update in 2012 changed this.
For example: Having the domain name redtshirts.com does not gurarantee you a 1st page ranking for the keyword “red t-shirts”, especially if you aren’t optimising your website on a regular basis.
Instead, focus on improving your website so that it provides a great experience for your users and then for Google. Meaning, create and optimise high quality, industry-relevant content and backlinks that positions your company as experts in your field.
Myth 4: The More Links the Better.
This is a very common, but also a very dangerous myth in the SEO world.
It’s a very common belief that the more links your website has, the better chance it has to outrank your competitors. This unfortunately encourages website owners to buy and/or build hundreds if not thousands of spammy backlinks to try and gain high rankings. This leads to a whole lot of heartbreak, and lost revenue and traffic when Google penalises you for doing this.
On the other hand, the more quality backlinks your website has compared to your competitors, the more likely you are to outrank them.
So quality over quantity. Always.
Myth 5: SEO is dead.
SEO isn’t dead, it’s just changing for the better.
Google is becoming smarter and more intelligent at detecting when “black hat” SEO tactics are being used; such as spammy backlinks or duplicate content. So those “black hat” SEO tactics that worked and were used widely a few years ago are now dead.
Doing active, high quality SEO is as important as ever, especially when more and more businesses are turning to the online space; increasing the competition for gaining relevant rankings.
Focus on using “white-hat” SEO tactics that work, like improving and optimising your website’s content for users, targeting long-tail keywords with high quality, targeted content, developing and implementing social media strategies, and becoming responsive/mobile-friendly will help you gain the upper hand when it comes to ranking in Google.
So there you have it folks. Avoid these myths and tactics and focus on SEO tactics that work – create a user-optimised website structure and optimise high quality, industry relevant content and backlinks and to earn search engine authority and rankings that will last!
About Author: Charlie Nicholls is our Digital Marketing & SEO Coordinator and is passionate about developing strategic eCommerce SEO campaigns that earn sites greater authority, rankings and traffic. Realize Online is a great source of information and has the capability to help you at every step of the online marketing process. Please get in touch, we are happy to answer any questions you may have.