Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a topic widely researched by marketers and entrepreneurs alike. While many people have a general idea of what SEO is, there are still a number of myths and misconceptions held. Ranking in search results with Google, Yelp, and other search engines is an important mission. A mission pulled off course with every misunderstanding embraced. The following are SEO myths you should leave behind so you can position your brand to consistently perform well in search results.
Site Loading Speed Isn’t Important
Over half of site visitors will leave if it takes longer than three seconds to load. In other words, site speed equals revenue and if your site speed is lacking, your bottom line will feel the impact. Sometimes all it takes it the compression of some images or text to create a quicker load time. Take a critical look at all pages of your site. Utilize one of the many free resources, like Pingdom or the Google Page Speed Insights tool, available on the web to ascertain how you might make some changes to speed up the loading time of your site. And be sure to pay special attention to how your site loads on mobile devices!
Links Don’t Matter
Link building should be a part of your SEO strategy. The key is to create real links that are relevant to your website and value-added to the web. Sharing links to high-quality content other websites can add value to your own site content and encourage visitors to spend more time on your site. These interlinks to relevant content can also indirectly promote your pages with search engines as they help to create clusters of different topics. Also, higher quality content on your site pages will make it more likely that others will link back to your website.
Guest Blogging is Overrated
Content is content. There is no difference between guest blogging content and other content on your page. They are simply a way to provide valuable information to your target audience and to increase traffic on your website. Consider the fact that high authority websites such as Entrepreneur and Forbes both employ the practice of guest blogging.
There are some things to keep in mind with guest blogging:
Use only high-quality guest posts that are relevant to your audience, website, and searchers – the better the quality, the more it will resonate with site visitors
Build relationships with the people you’d like to have write a guest post as this will improve the chances of them agreeing to provide content
Encourage guest bloggers to include contextual links that can get you more credibility because of linking to authoritative sources
No Need to be on Social Platforms
Your ranking with search engines is influenced by links shared on major social media platforms. Google has started to take social signals into account. Things such as shares, likes, and an overall social media presence will help your website rank better in search results. These activities are similar to backlinks in that they help your page’s organic search ranking. Where they differ is that they are designed more to drive traffic to your website than to exist as a standalone ranking tactic.
No Need for Keyword Research
There is a minimal likelihood of Google eliminating keywords from its algorithm. Perform due diligence and research keywords that your audience might use to find information relevant to your website. Use relevant keywords and phrases that maintain a focus on the user intent behind the search. Hopefully, you thought to include one of your overarching keywords in your domain. It isn’t a make or break type of thing but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
While keyword research still plays an important role in a successful SEO strategy, be sure to not over-optimize by excessively using keywords in your content. This so-called keyword stuffing will result in a Google penalty.
SEO is a One Time Thing
Your brand’s to SEO strategies should be updated on a regular basis. An ongoing approach will ensure the best results for your website. Update content regularly as content can become obsolete and irrelevant when new pain points and trends take over the focus of conversations. Produce timely and relevant content to provide valuable information to your audience and, at the very least, keep pace with your competitors.
Another reason to adopt a continual approach to SEO is that changes in search engine algorithms will affect your site’s rankings. Search engines tweak or greatly change their algorithms to provide Internet users with the best user experience possible. That being said, you don’t have to react to every update that occurs. Take the time to understand whether or not a change in algorithm will impact your site and then make modifications as needed.
Images Don’t Need to be Optimized
Many people think of file size when they hear the term optimization used with the topic of images. While file size does matter, what is being alluded to in this case is the fact that search engines are not able to read images. As such, there are things you can do to help make sure the images on your website are search engine bot friendly and helpful in your quest for a highly optimized site.
Name each of your images and do so plainly and with everyday language. Add alt attributes – the text alternatives to images when a browser is unable to properly render the image. As an additional benefit, alt attributes are also used for web accessibility. (See our article on Universal Accessibility HERE.)
We already mentioned the idea of properly sizing your image files so they are not overly cumbersome. You should also save them as either a JPEG, GIF, or PNG file type. And don’t neglect to optimize your thumbnail images, too.
Amazing Content will Automatically Rank with Search Engines
Sorry, no. Search engines do value fresh content but you still have to let the search engines know you have recently published content that is crawl ready. Website hosting platforms, such as Squarespace, work with Google Search Console to help site owners manage their site’s presence in Google search results.
These platforms offer easy to access sitemaps that can be submitted to Google and help Google’s bots more effectively crawl all of the active pages on your domain. The sitemap lets the bots know where on your website pages are located and which pages should not be included in search engine results pages.
SEO myths will continue to manifest themselves as SEO techniques continue to match pace with changing search engine algorithms. Take the time to understand how various SEO strategies will improve your site’s performance and compare sources and opinions to avoid indulging in rumors and misconceptions.
The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing work hard to stay on top of the shifting world of SEO. We’re ready to meet you where you are and help you get to the next level. Whether you are in need of a new website or have an established site and want to reevaluate your SEO strategy, we’d love to help. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do to help you best optimize your online efforts for search engine rankings. Let’s get started!