To the outward observer, SEO can seem like a bit of a mysterious art. This is largely because Google won’t release exactly what goes into their algorithm. As a theory, success in SEO relies on a multi-discipline approach that is as much about research as it is about testing and tweaking.
A good way to begin to understand SEO is by understanding some of the common myths that surround it. By understanding these myths, you can avoid pouring budget into strategies that aren’t relevant, or don’t work as well as they used to.
In this article, we’ll be covering the top 5 misconceptions about modern SEO.
1. SEO is all about keywords
Contrary to popular belief, SEO is no longer just about keyword implementation. In fact, if you stuff your content full of nothing but keywords, not only will it likely not rank, but it will also turn off your readers. A good rule of thumb is to use your keyword(s) about 2-5% of the time.
What’s more important is to develop content for people. Good quality content needs to be read by human eyes, rather than crawled by bots. In the end, Google is looking to connect people with answers — answers that you can provide with content. You can learn more through Google’s helpful content update.
2. Meta tags don’t matter
Meta tags are actually still quite important for SEO. While the meta keywords tag has been all but ignored by Google, the meta description tag is still used as the snippet that appears beneath your URL in the search results.
You owe it to yourself to make sure your meta titles and descriptions are well optimised. Not only are they an important ranking factor for Google, but they give your audience an invaluable preview as to what they are clicking on. This can increase traffic to your pages all on its own.
3. Social media has no bearing on SEO
Social media can actually have a pretty big impact on SEO. Google takes into account social signals when determining where to rank a piece of content. Things like the number of social shares, likes, and tweets can all help improve your ranking.
A social media strategy can work in tandem with a more holistic offsite strategy, driving more traffic to your pages through more channels. A quick organic post on Facebook to your audience can increase your page traffic tenfold in a matter of minutes.
4. Link building is dead
Link building might not be as effective as it once was, but it’s far from dead. In fact, links are still a very important ranking factor for Google. The key is to build links that are high-quality and relevant to your site.
It’s important to note that unpaid link building is basically non-existent. These days, you need to dedicate a budget to get quality links from authoritative sources — this may come in the form of a dedicated PR budget whether in-house or with an agency’s help. How much of your marketing budget to dedicate towards link building will depend on your business and your niche.
5. You need to be on Google’s first page
It’s no secret that everybody wants to be on the first page of Google, but it’s important to realise that this is not always possible or even necessary. Depending on your business, being on the second or third page could still result in a lot of traffic and conversions.
The key is to make sure your site is optimised for conversion so that people take the desired action when they land on your page. More conversions from less traffic is a key indicator that your website is doing its duty.
SEO is an ever-changing landscape, but by dispelling these common misconceptions, you can give yourself a leg up on the competition.