SEO myths: What is fact and what is fiction?

SEO myths: What is fact and what is fiction?
Rachael Dines
Rachael DinesShake It Up Creative

Posted: Thu 4th Jul 2019

When you launch a business, it's exciting to get a shiny new website. But when visitor numbers are perhaps still lacklustre a year later, you might start looking into some DIY search engine optimisation (SEO).

The world of SEO moves so fast, with regular search engine updates happening to improve the quality of organic (natural) search results. So what is fact and what is fiction?

Keywords are dead

False. SEO is about targeting and using key phrases; more than one word (keyword).

Google does ignore the keywords meta data for its main search results now, but keywords should naturally be part of the content on a website.

Search engines are understanding context and subject relationships now so there's more to SEO than keywords alone but they are still an underlying importance.

I can just place a list of keywords in the footer of my website to optimise it.

No. This action wouldn't be of any value.

In addition, the search engines are smart and your site can be penalised should it be found to be using any 'black-hat techniques' and/or be trying to optimise without the site user in mind.

You can only optimise web pages.

Fiction. You can optimise web pages, videos, images and most content including blog posts, directory listings and social media posts by including your target key phrases.

I use Yoast and I have the green light, so my web page is optimised.

This all depends on what you have entered into the 'Focus keyword' field.  If it was derived from proper keyphrase research then you've done your job.

If you just entered something you thought would work or was already written within the words on the page, you haven't necessarily optimised that page for a suitable target keyphrase.  Yoast is simply a guidance tool for WordPress websites.

I will need to do SEO again after every Google update.

False. Google, Bing and the other search engines run small updates very regularly. We usually only hear about the bigger ones that have a major focus.

Whilst these can harm your rankings, SEO should be an ongoing process anyway and it's unlikely you will need to make lots of amends to your small business website following an update.

Having hundreds of links will improve my SEO.

Links are important but actually, where they are coming from is more important.

One link from a high-authority domain (like a university website or a council website for example) to your page is likely to really aid your efforts, but vast numbers of links from low-quality websites might do more harm than good.

Duplicate content is the worst thing ever.

False. Duplicate content in its entirety is not good because the search engines find it hard to determine which came first and Google only wants to show one version. Google tries to determine the original source of the content and display that one.

Causes can be many things including HTTP and HTTPS versions of the same page, or different language versions perhaps, we're not just talking about plagiarism here.

There are lots of technical things that can be done to help the search engines, but it's best not to publish two pieces of matching content in two places on the same day.

If I pay for search ads, it will help my site rank higher.

Organic SEO positions and paid advertising positions are separate and paying doesn't affect any natural rankings.

Paid ad data can provide insight into the competitiveness on a term but that's it.

You can pay to rank higher for a keyphrase with an advert, but this will not make your organic results position higher.

I must get the top, number one spot.

Fiction. You don't have to be number one to be winning.

First position results are excellent and very much desired, but sometimes a lower first-page organic position can deliver more traffic.

Nor should an agency ever tell you that they can guarantee to get you the first position space through SEO activities, because this is false.

If I have a business website with a business address on it, I'll automatically be on Google Maps/Bing Maps.

No. You must create an account and set up your listing on each search engine.

Verify your ownership of the business, then you can set your opening hours, add images and more information to help people searching for businesses like yours.

This is a very worthwhile activity that will aid your search engine optimisation efforts.

Rachael Dines
Rachael DinesShake It Up Creative
Creative Services Company - marketing, PR, web development, graphic design, SEO, social media, consultation.

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