One of the most palpable and yet most difficult part of online marketing is the fact that it is an ever-changing world. This means that many aspects of search engine marketing that are true for some time change after changes are made by giants like Google. The most dreaded and important of these changes are the Google updates that appear on the radar very now and then, post which SEO marketing companies need to figure out the impact that these changes will have on SEM strategies that have been followed thus far.
The constant change also leads to a series of myths that develop over time since some of the previous rules or facts do not apply anymore. Here are 18 of the most common myths that we have come across about SEO that need to be shed as we enter 2017.
Most common myths about SEO
1. I can ignore organic traffic and get instant results with PPC
Part of this myth is true. You can get faster and more immediate results with PPC or Adwords. However, you cannot ignore organic traffic and long-term search engine marketing since these are the efforts that will sustain you for longer. PPC also requires constant investment and a large number of people ignore sponsored ad listings when searching on search engines.
2. I can automate the SEO process
In an environment that changes frequently, automation does not really have a role. In fact, even if someone were to automate the process, the automation programs will need to change too often. Secondly, automated SEO is spammy and the smart search engine bots can easily identify such attempts.
3. Good user interface is not mandatory
Not only is this a bad practice if you want repeat customers, this is now a factor fir Google’s ranking algorithm too. Pages that have a higher bounce rate are knocked a few notches below in the ranking algorithm and therefore a good experience for the user is absolutely mandatory.
4. A higher number of backlinks will get me a better rank
Black hat SEO techniques are passé. Trying to trick Google into getting a good rank does not work anymore because Google has just gotten smarter and smarter. While you should attempt backlinks to your site, you need to make sure they are from reputed websites that will add, and not detract from rank.
5. I must submit my site to Google
By Google’s own admission, this is not a necessity. While there is a provision for submitting your site to Google, you do not have to do this for your site to be found. Submitting your site also does not guarantee anything. You can however help Google index it faster by using Google XML sitemap generator plugin.
6. Having an HTTP site is not so bad
Google announced their preference for https or secure sites in August 2014. However, it was not a big deal at that point. However, after having given everyone a fair amount of notice, the presence of an https now makes a significant impact on the page rank. Non-secure or http sites are flagged off as ‘potentially unsafe’ by Google’s Chrome.
7. I just need a rank on the first page of the Google SERP
There is more to SEO than just page rank. Once your page appears as a search result on Google, you also want users to click on it. Which is why, it is important that you choose the right keywords for your site so that the customer reaches a relevant page to find what they are looking for. You need to have appropriate meta descriptions for each page so the user knows exactly what he or she will get when they click.
8. Meta tags are not important
This myth has its roots in the fact that Google does not use the keywords meta tag in calculating the search results. However, ensuring that you add in the title, meta description and the meta keywords is important so that the user gets an idea of what the page is all about before he clicks on the link. This enhanced user experience is rewarded by Google.
9. Anchor texts should always include keywords
This is another thing of the past. Cross linking between two pages is another no-no. The approach that you need to take with regards to anchor text is completely user based. So, when you include an anchor text in your site and are linking to another, your anchor text needs to be relevant to what it is linking to. However, you can make sure that some of your anchor texts are optimized for keywords. In fact, diversify your anchor texts to include generic terms, primary keywords, brand, secondary keywords, keyword variants, and URL variants to get the best results.
10. Keywords need to be an exact match in content
You do not have to reproduce keywords repeatedly in a verbatim manner. Keyword stuffing has been warned against since 2007 and yet some people believe a higher keyword density is what will get them a better page rank. With smarter algorithms, the idea is to use words and phrases in the content that matches the intent of the user.
11. Images do not require any optimization
Image recognition technology is not being used as yet in Google searches and therefore image optimization is a must. If you are using images and videos to market online, these need to be optimized using relevant file names, alt tags and placing them along with relevant content.
12. All featured answers are only Wikipedia
There are others sites as well that come up as featured answers based on relevant content, beating even page rank number 1 and appearing right at the top. To get your site there, you need to have a great match for what the consumer is looking for and your site should have a schema mark up too.
13. SEO can be managed by my IT people
SEO does have technical components to it. However, it is much more than playing around with site structure, html code and uploading content. SEO should be handled by a team that consists of personnel adept in marketing, IT and web development. Such a team is best equipped to handle SEO optimally.
14. Guest blogging is a crime
Not many people understood what was meant when Google warned against guest blogging to get links. The main idea behind the statement was to avoid bad quality links from guest bloggers rather than to stop all guest authors contributing on your blog. If you have a site with a blog, it is perfectly fine to allow prominent guest authors to contribute and quality content should be accepted anytime, especially if it comes with high quality backlinks too.
15. I will lose my visitors if I link to high quality sites
The idea is not to avoid linking to high quality sites because it will get you a better page rank. When you link to good sites, you are benefitting your visitors. If your customers know that your site always provides good quality links, they will come back for more. A good user experience is noticed by Google too!