SEO Myths That You Really Need To Dump in 2013
Well, it’s 2013 and we’ve all managed to survive the curse of the so-called ’2012 phenomenon’ as predicted by a bold few as the end of the world. Instead, we can now focus firmly on the future.
For all the changes that occurred in 2012, one thing remains constant, and that is that if you’re running a business, you really do need to have an online presence. Not only that, you really do need to stand out from the crowd and get yourself noticed. SEO continues to be a key part of this and despite the exponential growth of social media, the search engines continue to be the main entry point for people looking for services or products. For this reason, good search engine optimisation is key.
Over the years many myths or stories have built up around best SEO practices and whilst it’s fair to say that some of them are true, others are…well….not so!
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With this in mind, here are a few of the SEO myths that you really do need to leave behind in 2012!
SEO can “Guarantee” top ranking
If anyone tells you that they ‘guarantee’ to get your website to that elusive number one position in Google, then you need to do one thing. ….turn and run for the hills!
In essence, there are two main variables that no SEO company has influence over and that is
- Google’s Algorithm
- The activities of your direct competitors
Both of the above will have a significant impact on where you are in the rankings. If a company guarantees you a top spot, then they either don’t have a clue as to how the search engines operate. Or alternatively, they’re telling you this simply to make them sound good and close the deal.
Either way…it really doesn’t bode well.
Social media and SEO are two different entities
The idea that SEO and social media are two different entities is most certainly a myth and here’s why…
For the past few years, a more formal relationship has been forming between social media practices and the way that we search for things. The crossroads of this is something known as ‘social searches‘. In essence, people care what their friends think and content that has been connected to you in some way, either by recommendation or by social linking is prioritised.
A clear example of this is Facebook’s new graph search feature where searches will be prioritised in line with what friends and acquaintances have recommended. As a result, your search engine optimisation strategy should always include social media.
We have to be number one!
It used to be that if you ranked ‘numero uno’ for a popular keyword then you’d be pretty much-guaranteed business. Well, not anymore!
Studies carried out on click-through rates show that with search results now being supplemented with keyword-rich snippets, the rates of click-through are higher on those kinds of listings, even if they aren’t at the top of the page.
The main point to take away here is that user-friendly listings with relevant content information are often more valuable to searchers than simply ranking alone.
Despite the explosion of social media over the last few years and despite what many SEO naysayers will tell you, search engine optimisation continues to play a large part in the online marketing strategies of businesses and, if carried out correctly, SEO is still a powerful tool.
Having said that, there are a lot of beliefs and stories surrounding SEO which may or may not be true. So without further ado, here are another 6 myths that you may just want to leave back in 2012.
You have to get all your keywords within the first page… and the more the better!
One of Google’s main aims since the “Panda” updates of 2011 are to make it an all-around better experience for the reader. This includes clear, concise and relevant content. To this end, content should be written with the reader in mind in the first instance and not simply ‘stuffed’ with keywords. Instead, for good SEO results, it’s always better to try to lay out your site with carefully placed keywords throughout, so when Google spiders your site, it not only increases in relevance to the search engines but also provides value to the end user.
The most important on-page SEO element is the H1 tag
It used to be that when the search engines weren’t quite as smart as they are now, H1 tags were probably the most important aspect of the page. Unfortunately, people cottoned on to this and as a result, H1 tags were spammed to death.
Nowadays, algorithms have become much more complex and reader relevancy is now key. Businesses need to present their most important concepts upfront. This is often done through a clear, concise, informative headline. As a result, heavily optimising the H1 tag no longer guarantees that you’ll rank for that keyword.
Keywords need to match exactly
Whilst it’s true that keywords continue to play an important part in SEO, Keywords no longer need to be repeated verbatim throughout the body of the text. This is especially true if you have a difficult key phrase to slot in. Instead, try to use keywords in the way that makes the most sense.
If you think about it, Google’s plan is to give the end user the best search experience possible. Nothing is more off-putting to a reader than trying to read an article, blog post or piece of web content when they then have to try and navigate their way around difficult word placement, or forcibly repeated keywords. In essence, it really sucks! Instead keep keywords that are natural.
Other domains and micro-sites that I own linking back to my site will help my optimisation.
There’s no getting away from it, search engines are clever and the bottom line is that they know exactly who is linking back to your site. In essence, it’s like voting for yourself a hundred times in an election campaign, it’ll still only count as one vote and the same goes for backlinking.
Links simply don’t matter anymore!
Over the past year or so, search engines have changed the way links are now viewed. Now it’s no longer about quantity (see the above point). Instead, it’s about relevance (see, there’s that theme again!). Nowadays, links that come from highly respected and relevant sites will give your site much more credence in the eyes of the search engines and is good SEO practice.
Link building is better than content creation
As already mentioned, quality inbound links will give your website authority but insightful, well-written content is still the main factor in attracting visitors to your sight. Link building is no longer simply a numbers game instead writing great blog posts, web content and guest posts is going to generate more relevant inbound links back to your site over time.
In essence, if you can make sure that you’re publishing content that’s not only relevant to your target audience but is personalised, and addresses how users see the site and how quickly they can find what they’re looking for, then this is half the SEO battle right here! Instead, don’t look at it as search engine optimisation, look upon it as search ‘experience’ optimisation and you’ll be on the right track.
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