A client of ours (Flora Fusion) sent over a cool little content piece from the guys at HubSpot called ’18 SEO Myths You Should Leave Behind in 2017′. As they have a brilliant CBD blog themselves, It inspired me to write a blog myself.
I’m a big fan of these things. SEO is a fast-paced industry, and if you’re not willing to stay up to date with the latest practices, Google changes and tools, you’ll quickly find yourself getting left behind. This is exactly why we feel no need to brag about how long we’ve been doing SEO for – it’s pretty irrelevant when you consider the types of things which used to work even as recently as 2012.
However, I’m not entirely in agreement with 100% of the points made in this piece. I was initially going to just send my ‘reaction’ along to the Flora Fusion guys for their consideration, but I figured it might be a nice little blog post (plus, it’s a Sunday and I’m in a good mood):
Myth 1 – ‘I must submit my site to Google’
Well yeah, that’s a myth. Google will most likely find your site at some point. Having said that, submitting your site to Google can help speed things along a little. Google have a property called ‘Search Console’ which basically gives you access to a whole bunch of tools that you can use to help Google find the content on your site easier. If you publish a new post, you’d usually have to wait a few days before seeing it in the results. But if you submit the post via Search Console, you’ll find it within a few hours.
Myth 2 – ‘More links are better than more content’
This is a tricky one – I wholeheartedly agree that firing a bunch of links from crappy sites to your own is not just worthless, it’s also potentially harmful. There was a time when this would work beautifully for SEO, but now it’s just going to get you slapped with a penalty. You’ve got to do something special to earn those links from real websites, which is a slow but worthwhile process. However, the idea that more content is automatically good for SEO is also false. Every piece that you publish should be worthwhile, otherwise it’s doing your site more harm than good. If people aren’t going to read it, or share it, or even link it – don’t bother pressing publish.
Myth 3 – ‘Having a secure site isn’t important for SEO’
Having a secure site is becoming more important for SEO, but it’s not 100% crucial to rank. Sites without an SSL certificate do tend to rank better. However, I can think of a few pretty big exceptions here. Take IMDB for example – a site dealing with millions of monthly visitors, ranking for loads of big keywords. And still no SSL.
I’m by no means advocating this by the way. I think it’s a dumb choice for a massive sites which will eventually come back to bite them pretty hard. We prefer to have our clients on https.
Myth 4 – ‘SEO is all about ranking’
In essence, this isn’t a myth – SEO stands for ‘search engine optimisation’ i.e optimsing your site for search engines i.e ranking in search engines. But I agree, it’s foolish to get tunnel vision here. SEO starts with ranking on page 1, but is supported by clever retargeting, awesome content and good user experience.
Myth 5 – ‘Meta Descriptions can have a huge impact on SEO’
Direct impact? No, this is a myth. Cram all the keywords you like in the description, it ain’t going to do anything. But your meta description can have an indirect impact on your rankings. If you’re sitting at the bottom of page 1, but users click on your page because it has a meta description which piques their interest, your rankings will likely increase.
Myth 6 – ‘Pop-ups will hurt my rankings in search’
Annoying pop ups will, helpful pop ups won’t.
Myth 7 – ‘Keyword optimization is the key to SEO’
I wish it was this simple. Keyword optimisation is certainly important, but it’s not the key. The key is to be the best result for the user, and this relates to other factors like how easy it is to navigate your site and how compelling your content is.
Myth 8 – ‘Keywords need to be an exact match’
I completely agree that this is a myth. Somebody looking for ‘green bikes’ will also likely be interested in ‘small green bikes’ and ‘green mountain bikes’. Targeting your page around only one of those keywords is a big mistake.
Myth 9 – ‘The H1 is the most important on-page element’
It’s important, but no it’s not the most important. I’d say the most important element is your copy.
Myth 10 – ‘My homepage needs a lot of content’
Again, complete myth. Your homepage should get to the point quickly, letting visitors know what you’re all about and showing them the way to your key pages.
Myth 11 – ‘The more pages I have, the better’
I’d say ‘the more pages you have with awesome content, the better’ is a perfectly fine statement to make. But putting up pages for the fun of it is a waste of time.
Myth 12 – ‘Good user experience is an added bonus, not a requirement’
Good user experience should be at the forefront of your mind at all times, so yes this is a myth. Without it, your SEO efforts will be wasted.
Myth 13 – ‘Local SEO doesn’t matter anymore’
Local SEO (by which I mean appearing in the ‘map pack’ section which frequently appears at the top of locally orientated searches) certainly matters less than it once did, as it now shows mostly localised results depending on the location that you’re searching from. But the ‘normal’ results don’t usually change based on location, so it’s still very worthwhile.
Myth 14 – ‘Google will never know if I have bad sites linking to me’
Google knows almost everything about what you’re doing with your site, which is why it isn’t worth risking anything. Unfortunately, you can’t always help it if bad sites are linking to you – some sites scrape directories and link out to all of the sites on there to populate their sites. However, Google is smart enough to recognise when a link has been intentionally acquired, and when it’s a situation like this has occurred.
Myth 15 – ‘Images don’t require any optimisation’
Anyone who still thinks this is going to have a very slow site. Big myth.
Myth 16 – ‘Answer boxes only matter if you’re Wikipedia’
Answer boxes are popping up everywhere, and it’s not just Wikipedia that they’re appearing for. However, I’m not always entirely sure of the value of answer boxes. It means searchers see your content without actually having to click on your site – kind of frustrating.
Myth 17 – ‘I don’t need a mobile optimization strategy’
It’s almost 2018 people – if your site doesn’t display properly on a mobile device, then I don’t think you deserve to rank in Google. Sorry to be so brutal.
Myth 18 – ‘SEO is something I can hand off to IT’
SEO is often considered to be a technical practice, and while their are technical aspects, it’s more about marketing than html.
Wow, that escalated quickly. Overall, I found myself agreeing with most of these myths. I’m now going to add value to this post by sharing it on social media.