Search engine optimization is a mysterious process. The task of achieving an optimal position within results listings might seem like a mystical quest, beset on all sides by hidden perils and evolving threats. However, many rumors surrounding optimization are based on folklore or misremembered advice.
To separate fact and fiction with the aim of making life easier for industry newcomers, Midphase has exposed ten common SEO myths and falsehoods. They might just surprise you…
#1. “First page results can be guaranteed”.
If this nonsensical claim had any substance to it, there’d be more than ten results on the first page of most business-related search results. These tedious SEO myths are generally peddled by overseas web marketing agencies, hoping to impress uninformed consumers.
#2. “Keywords are everything”.
While they still matter, keywords and long tails (exact phrases of three or more words) receive lower priority in the algorithms used to rank web pages. Factors such as inbound links, the frequency of updates, and mobile optimization are also important, alongside average visit duration and page loading times.
#3. “Big companies always do better”.
This is simply not true. Big firms might have lots of ad revenue to throw at social media campaigns, but a well-written website from a sole trader can trump a bigger rival’s second-rate platform. Even so, advertising with Google and Bing does usually boosts visitor volumes – itself improving SEO.
#4. “Your choice of top-level domain doesn’t matter”.
It does matter, especially for domestic search results. The country code TLD of a foreign nation (such as .uk or .fr) hinders a site’s performance in American results because Google will assume it’s targeting foreign audiences. Also, avoid rare domains or ones associated with spam (.gq, .men).
#5. “Something should work tomorrow because it did a decade ago”.
Tricks like keyword stuffing and link farms worked in the Noughties, but they’re often actively detrimental now. Google and Bing are constantly redefining the characteristics expected of successful websites, meaning that historic SEO myths could end up damaging current platforms.
#6. “Links can be bought”.
Once upon a time, lowbrow SEO agencies registered hundreds of inbound links to client sites through cut-price link farms. Multiple inbound links looked good, that is until Google and Bing worked out how to distinguish genuine from low-grade. Association with link farms is very damaging to SEO nowadays.
#7. “It’s good to get content published in more than one place”.
Search engines take a dim view of plagiarism, and duplicated content is heavily censored. Republishing other people’s work will get a site downgraded or even blacklisted. Every piece of online content should be able to pass a basic Copyscape check, even if it’s your own work.
#8. “Websites only need to look good on big screens”.
Maybe once, but not any longer. Most web traffic these days is handled by smartphones and tablets. Modern templates in the likes of WordPress are engineered to display equally well on any screen size, and desktop-oriented sites get marked down as being unsuitable for many visitors.
#9. “Security doesn’t matter outside ecommerce platforms”.
Clearly, a website where financial transactions take place requires a secure payment gateway. However, most modern websites will benefit from HTTPS encryption and an SSL certificate, and web browsers will now flag up insecure portals. SEO algorithms increasingly prioritize secure platforms.
#10. “SEO can be completed”.
This is absurd, and anyone who peddles these SEO myths is probably trying to get out of doing further work. The algorithms powering search engines are constantly evolving to improve accuracy and in response to attempts at manipulating results. SEO requires periodic time and energy investing in it.
To check your existing website SEO and get tips on how to easily improve your search engine rankings, get a FREE SEO report with our SEO Guru.
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