Common SEO Myths
In this article we’re exploring the common misconceptions that we see with our clients and also with a lot of people who are just starting out with SEO.
SEO is a one-time thing
If only!! In reality, SEO is an ongoing activity that takes months, even years, to establish a consistent result – it takes more than updating the meta information in the backend of a website.
Great SEO involves consistent monitoring of market changes and competitor rankings; and keeping up-to-date with Google’s algorithm changes. Though it’s estimated that Google updates its algorithm 500 to 600 times per year, the vast majority of these updates are tiny, and, therefore, insignificant to SEO. But, it’s also estimated that Google will make more significant algorithmic changes four to five times a year, and this is where SEO strategies do need to adapt to keep up and maintain a consistent SEO ranking.
Adding the same keyword multiple times will help improve the page’s rank.
For example: We’re Melbourne’s best digital agency, and as Melbourne’s best digital agency we specialise in digital design and development and SEO. If you’re a brand or business looking to boost your online presence then look no further than Melbourne’s best digital agency.
It’s called ‘keyword stuffing’ and, clearly, it’s awful. It’s awful to read – it feels totally unnatural. Google’s algorithms sniff out these kinds of ‘tricks’ and will hamper your SEO ranking as a result. Best practice for keyword density is for keywords to make up 2% of the total word count. The above example sits at 14.3%.
Using synonyms for words and phrases can make copy seem more natural than direct repetition and is encouraged, to a point. For example, ‘Jobs near me’ might also be stated as ‘Career options in Melbourne’ and both might rank for a search about ‘ local jobs’. But, again, Google’s algorithms are sophisticated and able to pick up on when synonyms are overused or used out of context. Well-written and clear copy will always win out in the end.
Hiding keywords will help improve SEO ranking
These sorts of ‘tricks’, generally, would be executed through the backend of a website by a developer. However, they DO NOT work – Google and other search engines crawl websites and pick up these sorts of manipulations. They’re seen as deceptive, violating Google’s guidelines, which, in turn, will cause you to lose ranking.
Here’s a few examples of how websites might try to ‘trick’ Google:
- Embedding white text on a white background
- Placing text behind an image
- Using CSS to place text off-screen
- Setting the font size to 0
- Hiding a link by making it almost imperceptible – e.g. linking to a hyphen in tiny font in the middle of a paragraph.
More backlinks = higher rankings
A backlink can be thought of as a citation – it’s a link from an external source or ‘referrer’ to your website. The quantity and quality of backlinks to a website can help Google understand how important or relevant a page is when ranking for SEO.
The key here is on the word ‘quality’ as opposed to quantity. With link farms and directories now selling artificial links made for these purposes, Google has instigated more thorough measures for picking up on ‘toxic’ practise. These phony links have little to no authority, and can end up hurting SEO more than improving it.
Best practice for backlinks is to monitor your links periodically, checking their quality – what’s the referrer’s content and how relevant is it to your website? If you find a link is artificial then it’s more beneficial for you to disavow the link using Google’s Disavow tool (caution: advanced users only).
Fresh content is the answer to a higher ranking.
Google looks favourably on fresh content, but again the emphasis should be on quality over quantity.
Including a blog or blog-like section to any website is probably the most common way brands and businesses continue to incorporate new content into their website. But, there are misconceptions about duplicating content and whether SEO can be penalised for this. The internet’s a massive place and it’s very hard to be original when it comes to a topic or idea – but that’s absolutely fine.
In addition to writing new content (600+ words is considered best practice for blog articles) you can also refurbish content, or even republish, as long as you’re doing it responsibly in the eyes of Google. This means using a ‘canonical’ tag, which is simply a way to show Google you’ve republished or refurbished a content piece that YOU originally created for something else.
For example: if you wrote a guest blog article, there’s no reason you can’t also include the same article on your own blog as long as you use the canonical tag – this tells Google it’s either a duplicate or a refurbished piece, and where the original is located.
‘We can get you to page 1 in 1 week’
NO THEY CAN’T!
No one can or should guarantee this. A consistent SEO ranking takes time to build. Don’t fall for fast promises as they tend to do more harm than good. Chip away at SEO and know that consistent results, which is what’s most desirable, take time to achieve.