In today’s competitive marketplace, most business owners worry about their online visibility. They spend a lot of time and energy getting their head around Search Engine Optimisation but overlook some common SEO myths.
In fact, I regularly have clients sending me emails like this:
“I want my website to show up more on Google, but so far, the things I’ve tried haven’t made a scrap of difference.”
It’s no secret that Google is a mighty beast to conquer – especially since it keeps most of its (over 200!) ranking factors shrouded in mystery.
But being found quickly and easily online is vital as it means more clicks to your website and a healthier bottom line.
So, I’m here today to give you the basics. And bust a few myths along the way.
Firstly, what is Search Engine Optimisation all about?
SEO is the process of influencing the natural search results so that your website pages rank well for your chosen keywords.
And Google is the biggest search engine of all.
Put simply, its website crawlers ‘read’ webpages, Google applies an algorithm, and the results are stored in its index.
The crawlers are not seeing the webpage as we do. They read both the content and the code behind the page, which is why using the right SEO tags is vital to attract Google’s attention.
When you type a search query into Google, it selects the best results from this index and serves them up for you on a search engine results page (SERP).
Okay, but how does Google decide what the best results are?
It uses three broad categories to spot good websites: technical merit, good-quality content with optimised keywords, and high domain authority.
Some of the stand out elements that Google looks at include:
- Website speed
- Mobile responsiveness
- Unique, good-quality backlinks
- Domain authority score
- Well-chosen keywords
- Webpage title tags
- Optimised H1 headings
- Engaging and informative content
But what if you’re doing all the things and still not ranking?
Well, chances are you’ve fallen into one or more of the common SEO traps we all seem to find ourselves in along the way.
So, to save you a lot of time and frustration, let me clear up the top seven myths right here.
SEO Myth #1 – Increasing website traffic improves your ranking
The truth is, the amount of traffic your website gets won’t shift your ranking. That said, the way visitors interact with your site – things like the time they spend on your website and the number of pages they look at – do make a difference. This is where great content comes into play. Plus, fantastic content means more websites will link back to your site. And more backlinks = higher domain authority.
SEO Myth #2 – More social media activity means better rankings
It’s a common misconception that more social followers will mean higher Google rankings. Ultimately, the traffic you generate through social media engagement is no different to any other website traffic. However, social media can have an indirect positive impact, mainly because social media popularity will presumably increase the number of websites linking back to yours. It’s also great for brand presence.
SEO Myth #3 – Keyword density is vital for ranking well
Once upon a time, SEO was as simple as stuffing keywords into your content to achieve a specific density. But Google is much, much smarter these days. In fact, Google now penalises websites using this strategy, including using hidden keywords. So, write content that your audience will love and attract Google’s attention in more positive ways.
SEO Myth #4 – Content doesn’t matter beyond keywords
While it’s true that your content tells Google what search queries to rank your website on, it doesn’t end there. Google keeps an eye on how long visitors spend on your site, consuming all your juicy content. If your content is fresh, fun, and engaging, not only will Google reward you, but you’ll be guiding more potential customers towards your end goal – a sale.
SEO Myth #5 – Using Google Ads will help boost organic ranking
Sure, you’ll show up more on Google if you’re paying to be there. But there’s simply no correlation between using Google Ads and improving your organic search rankings. On the other hand, using paid Google Ads can help you identify and refine the keywords you may want to rank for organically, so they still play an important role in the SEO strategy of some businesses.
SEO Myth #6 – Buying cheap backlinks will help
We now know that increasing your number of backlinks means a higher domain authority score, which means a better chance of ranking above other websites in the search results. However, not all backlinks are created equal. What’s more, backlinks from dodgy or shifty sites will actually harm your chances of ranking. So, don’t buy into cheap SEO tricks. At best, you’ll waste your money. At worst, you could damage your SEO beyond repair.
SEO Myth #7 – SEO is a set-and-forget process
Of course, we’d all love this one to be true. But, since Google is constantly evolving and your audience’s expectations are also shifting, you too have to adapt and revise. You may choose to review your SEO weekly, monthly, or just when you have the time. Like anything, the more time and energy you invest now, the better the results you’ll enjoy later.
I hope that’s set things a bit straighter for you.
Are there any other common SEO myths you’ve heard about or been caught out by?
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