Six SEO myths you can’t afford to ignore

How is your website’s SEO? Are you happy with it? Or prefer to be higher in Google rankings? If it’s the latter, read six SEO myths you can’t afford to ignore.

There are lots of reasons why your website’s SEO might not be as effective as you’d like. Maybe you’re not really sure what SEO means, or haven’t made it a priority? Or perhaps you’re making a common SEO mistake.

To help you get the results you want from SEO, web design and online marketing agency Datadial reveal six popular SEO myths – and why they’re wrong.

Why it’s worth investing in SEO

But first, if you need a good reason to invest time, effort and even money in SEO, here’s not one, but two:

  1. 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine
  2. Google carries out over 3.5 billion searches every day

With so many of today’s buyers starting their decision-making process online, searching for the products or services they need, you can’t afford NOT to pay attention to your business’ website SEO.

Your website can’t be found without SEO

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process by which you produce and present online content in a way that makes it as easy as possible to be found by search engines (like Google) – and potential customers.

SEO is vital to a vibrant, successful online presence, and an integrated SEO plan can ensure that your business is immediately positioned alongside its competitors and directly targeting its key consumer.

There are 3.42 billion internet users today – equivalent to 46% of the global population. And as we’ve already discovered, most of them start their online experience via a search engine.

So if you don’t make sure you have a careful plan that ensures your brand ranks highly on Google, your website probably won’t be found.

Who do you trust for SEO advice?

But even if you understand that SEO is vital, who do you turn to for advice? It’s not hard to stumble upon an SEO ‘expert’ who will promise you amazing things, but how do you know if they can really deliver what they say?

And it’s wise to be cautious. Companies that employ ‘black hat’ SEO tactics are eventually penalised by Google.

The world of SEO is also a constantly shifting landscape. Algorithms are updated and machine learning grows more powerful, which means that, in order to stay relevant, you need to continually update your practice – and ensure you don’t fall foul of the latest Google penalties.

Six SEO myths you can’t afford to ignore

So what are some of the SEO myths that you shouldn’t ignore? Here are six of the most common misconceptions we hear.

1) Google knows you’re ‘doing SEO’ and punishes you for it

No, Google doesn’t. The most recent substantial Google update, the rather friendly sounding Hummingbird, continues towards the goal of better providing users with high-quality results that answer the need framed in their search query.

The idea of quality goes back to relevance and reputation. Good SEO is ensuring your website meets Google’s definition of quality, while providing the content to answer the needs of the searcher.

You can read why this is especially important for local businesses here.

2) Cramming in keywords will improve your rankings

This is one of the most frustrating SEO myths. Do you want to find a website about how to peel a mango that simply repeats the phrase over and over again? No. You want content that meets your need and resolves your frustrating mango peeling conundrum.

Search algorithms are smart, and they’re designed to find the relevant, high-quality site to resolve a user’s query, so there’s no need to repeat the same few words or phrases again and again.

If you do, even if your site attracts traffic, it won’t win many fans as it will be hard to read and judged as poor quality.

3) Social media links directly help SEO

Unfortunately, social media links DON’T directly help your SEO.

Yes, links are a vital part of good SEO best practice, but social media links from the likes of Twitter and Facebook do not directly contribute.

However, don’t discount them completely, as they do help to raise awareness of your digital presence, and may build an organic interaction as people return to your site at a later stage. There’s also a strong argument that social shares also help build the idea of reputation, rather like signals Google uses to establish authority.

So while using social media as your entire link building strategy will not provide the same direct results as good link building, it still has value building your brand organically and potentially adding to the idea of reputation and authority

4) Any link will do

Not all links are born equal. In the dark days of so called ‘black hat’ SEO, some practitioners would build entire websites of poor quality links, driving up search rankings with spammy inbound links.

Not only have search engine algorithms learned to recognise this poor practice, they actively now penalise websites who use it. Building natural, high quality links is the way forward.

5) SEO is instant

Like many worthwhile activities, SEO takes time to bear fruit, which means you can’t build up build up a positive search ranking overnight.

A huge part of SEO is building a positive digital reputation. Nobody expects to build a great reputation immediately. SEO best practice is about producing quality, relevant and respected content and building your brand online. You may not see immediate results, but you will see results.

6) We’ve already ‘done’ SEO

SEO is not a one-time thing – it’s an ongoing, holistic approach to your online presence. SEO best practice is all about quality and relevance.

We cannot emphasise this enough. To suggest you should only strive to be high quality and relevant once wouldn’t be something you’d even consider in other aspects of your business.

As a shoe retailer for instance, it might be tempting to go all out targeting the keyword ‘shoe’. It’s what you’ve got. It’s what you want to sell. And therefore it makes sense. ‘Shoe’ is also an incredibly popular search term, so surely targeting the top will get you the search ranking you dream of? Well no. That’s vanity talking.

First of all, there’s a huge amount of competition for the term ‘shoe’. Unless you’re far and away the largest shoe retailer out there, you’re going to find it tough to rank. That’s problem number one. That’s applying the sanity part.

Problem number two goes back to relevancy. How many people actually searching for the term ‘shoe’ are really looking to buy the type of shoes you sell? Maybe they’re just looking up shoe sizes because they’re curious. Maybe they want to know what shoes their favourite celebrity was wearing at the Oscars.

So yes, ranking highly for ‘shoe’ (if, by some miracle, you managed to) would help get your brand more exposure. But it wouldn’t necessarily deliver many more sales. Certainly not enough to make it worth the money and effort to get to the top of Google.

Much better to focus on less competitive but more relevant and defined key phrases, like ‘what shoes are best for running?’ in your content. If you sell running shoes, the chances are someone searching for this phrase is looking for the type of products you sell.

And the best way to achieve this, is by creating high quality content over time, letting Google know that not only is your website relevant for the specific term your customers are searching for, but that your website is regularly updated with useful content that their searchers will appreciate finding.

Start taking SEO seriously

Start-ups and SMEs have a huge amount to gain from a detailed, quality SEO plan – both in raising awareness and gaining new business.

So if you don’t already have an SEO plan in place, we recommend learning more about SEO or hiring a reputable agency to help you. If not, you could see your competitors climb above you in Google rankings – and secure any potential customers who may otherwise have come your way.

You can find out more about Datadial and their services on their website