Like many elements of the internet, search engine optimization has experienced growing pains. As Google and Bing refined their algorithms for scanning and ranking websites, the fledgling process of optimizing a website’s appeal evolved into a mature industry worth billions of dollars. And along the way, knowing how to SEO has become a marketable skill. Self-declared internet experts and SEO agencies have sprouted like weeds, often making unrealistic promises in an attempt to maximize profits.
SEO has now become a distinct strand of marketing, and an important part of being found by online audiences. However, some of the myths and legends surrounding how to SEO a website endure, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. To help people separate achievable goals from unrealistic expectations, Midphase has listed a few of the more outlandish claims about SEO – and explained why they really aren’t true…
#1. Your site is guaranteed #1 on Google.
Just consider that claim for a moment. How could a company you’ve never heard of, get in touch via an unsolicited email and be certain of positioning you at the top of search engine results? Do they have insider knowledge on how Google and Bing order websites? Can they wave a magic wand, transforming existing web copy into perfectly optimized SEO text?
Of course not. These spam emails usually originate from overseas, created by blackhat marketing agencies whose staff don’t even speak English as a first language. They know little about the nuances of SEO and care even less. Their “services” will include badly-written text stuffed with obvious industry keywords, plus suggestions for things you could change yourself. And as for being “#1 in Google”, most companies already rank first for their own name…
#2. It’s all about the keywords.
Unlike the previous point, this does have some grounding in truth. Ten years ago, when ranking algorithms were comparatively basic, keywords were the be all and end all. As a result, some websites had a peculiar style to their text, with an excess of industry keywords and short phrases (known as long tails) throughout each sentence.
The search engines quickly wised up to these crude attempts at gaming the system. For years, algorithms have been able to distinguish keyword-laden content from the text written for people. Indeed, keyword stuffing will now see a site downgraded in future ranking results. The same is true of anchor text, where keywords and long tails are hyperlinked. Market analysis in 2015 suggested keywords usage only contributed around 15% of a site’s SEO ranking.
#3. SEO is a one-time deal.
If a web design agency ever tells you they’ve sorted or finished SEO for your new website, smile politely and make your excuses to leave. Go straight to a lawyer, and find out if you can get out of whatever contract you’ve signed. The idea that SEO ever ends is laughable – not least since Google’s algorithm is believed to be revised on a weekly basis.
Knowing how to SEO a website involves constantly adding and removing elements according to the latest wisdom of Google and Microsoft. And since a key metric in SEO evaluation is the frequency of site updates, you’ll need to add new content all the time anyway. Many companies employ a News or Blog page for this very purpose. Revisions also keep weblinks up to date, incorporate newer keywords, and prove a domain is still active – all good for SEO.
#4. You don’t need to worry about links.
This is usually said by lazy people who can’t be bothered putting any effort in because link building is difficult. Low-quality overseas link farms have been penalized out of existence by search engines, and creating inbound links to your website from reputable third-party sites takes a lot of effort.
However, it is worth the effort. Search engines continue to use link authority as a cornerstone of ranking results, and sites with inbound links from directories or news websites perform strongly. Clients or intermediaries might agree to a link exchange if you ask nicely, or offer to guest write for their blog or social media platforms. Social posts are ideal for inbound links, and even internal links between pages on your own website will boost SEO.
#5. Well, it used to work…
Even if you “knew” how to SEO a website back in 2013, this industry has evolved more than any other aspect of the internet in recent years. SEO tricks that achieved results five years ago may well be counterproductive today. Examples of this phenomenon excessive content, link farming and tag clouds.
If your site needs an SEO overhaul, Midphase’s SEO Guru service may be the ideal tool. Request your free report here, and get ready to SEO like it’s 2018, not 1999…
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