Ten Unavoidable Facts and Misconceptions About SEO
With the frequent Google algorithm changes, the field of ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ is always in flux. Read on to discover the most common misconceptions about SEO from one of our specialists.
SEO is not always about keywords and links
Keywords and links definitely play an important role in SEO, but that’s not all there is to SEO!
Repeating your keywords in an unnatural way will only result in a decreased Page Rank. Content like the below looks odd to us, and to Google too:
“Yes, we do have the blue hands-free headset and our hands-free headsets are blue and they are hands-free headsets and the other blue hands-free headsets are not as good as our blue hands-free headset because hands-free headsets, in general, are blue and our hands-free headsets are blue too”.
With the release of the Hummingbird algorithm back in 2013, Google understands the whole query and not just the keyword. This means that placing your keywords in the title won’t be as important.
Matt Cutts, the former head of the webspam team at Google also specifies the uselessness of spending too much time and effort in Link building.
Yes, it’s true that Link building is good for SEO but, it’s always advisable to share quality content rather than planting links in others’ comment boxes.
Since much content is shared through Social Media these days, it’s better if you optimise your content for social media sharing.
BING does matter; don’t be a fool and deny it
BING won’t be overtaking Google since Google is the most widely used search engine owning 64.5% of all search traffic. But, looking at recent statistics, BING received 32.6% of searches in the United States in 2015. This matters a lot when you consider the fact that the overall US internet searches over BING have doubled since 2013.
BING is owned by Microsoft and advertising in BING means advertising in Microsoft’s other two search engines too -- Yahoo and AOL. Since 2012, BING and Yahoo have shared their search functions, and both of them together constitute about 30% of the overall search landscape, which is, of course, a good percentage.
Compared to Google’s AdWords, BING advertising is easily affordable, and the playing field is a bit evener. With BING, you can search for pages with specific files, like a PDF. However, with Google, your search will be only linked to that particular file.
BING Rewards is another cool thing about BING. You get ranked up for each search you perform, which you can later redeem at Amazon, Starbucks or can even donate it for charity.
Finally, if you are doing a site-specific search on BING, you get to see the Knowledge Graph information, something that Google doesn’t provide.
Did you ignore the increasing importance of BING till now? It’s high time then to start looking at how to optimise your website for BING search results.
Don’t get depressed over (Not Provided) Keywords
After Google decided to encrypt all keywords back in 2011, making all the Google searches secure, SEO professionals are nearly blindfolded in the sense that they have absolutely no idea which organic keywords are converting into sales, since, you can’t track them from Google referrals anymore.
However, you can still track paid traffic though! Here are a few other top tips for capturing traffic.
- Look at your non-Google search engine referral traffic.
- Use Google webmaster tools, by clicking onto Search Traffic > Search Queries.
- Capture all the on-site searches that visitors are doing on your site
- Use Google AdWords, especially if you are trying to determine the value of the high traffic keywords.
- Use the Google Ad Planner to determine the search volume and estimated clicks for particular keywords.
And most importantly,
- Focus on quality content
Seriously, it’s high time you aim for driving traffic to your content and don’t just rely on your main keywords. You can focus on spreading your content across various social media channels. Try talking and listening to your customers about what they were searching for when they found you.
It’s an inconvenience that Google encrypted its keyword data. But, remember that SEO is about creating relevant and viral content.
Earn your inbound links; Don’t just leave behind links in the comment section
As you may know, the Inbound links or Backlinks are those links to other Web Pages that direct customers and search engines to your webpage.
Thus, Inbound links are more like votes of confidence for your content, bringing out a positive impact on your page ranking.
However, make sure you earn those inbound links by including informative, helpful text information in your web pages, and not just by leaving links behind in the comments section of someone else’s blog! This won’t help you because most of the blogs have a ‘no follow’ instruction built in their comment section to avoid spam. So, the search engine spiders will ignore the links in the comment section just as instructed.
Leave links in the comment box only when they make sense or when you feel that link is going to help the readers gain more information on the topic. Adding links in the comment box for SEO is not going to help for sure.
Subheadings don’t weigh as much as you think
Even though there are many assumptions and explanations surrounding this particular topic, from my experience I can say that the Sub Headers H2 to H6 don’t actually carry much weight. The H1 tag is the only header tag that is potentially a ranking factor.
But, it’s always advisable to add your keywords into your content rather than your H1 tag, because it’s from the content that the real value comes.
So, always remember to tackle the important things first, instead of giving high priority to the H1 tag.
Google Plus does not directly lead to higher search rankings
Google’s Matt Cutts made it clear in one of his talks that Google Plus doesn’t account for higher web rankings.
Matt further said, “If you make compelling content, people will link to it, like it, share it on Facebook, Google Plus, etc. But that doesn’t mean Google is using those signals in ranking.
“Rather than chasing Google Plus for content, your time is much better spent making great content.”
SEO is a long-term endeavor, not a quick fix
It was in the good olden days that SEO strategists were able to achieve high rankings for websites within a matter of a few days. But with Google’s Penguin and Panda updates the situation has changed a lot.
‘Gaming’ the search engines is practically impossible now. Since SEO has become a long-term endeavour, not a quick fix, It’s now become a long-term investment. It starts with creating quality content and publishing it frequently and systematically. You can build different social media channels and build the overall brand by developing relationships with reputable blogs and websites.
SEO can’t stand in isolation
Earlier it was possible to carry out SEO in isolation, with an SEO person, department, or consultant working alone without the input or direct support of other departments.
But, now content marketing and SEO have become more interconnected with support from all other departments, both marketing and non-marketing.
Every department needs to have access to those minute details that another department might not know of.
For example, the sales department will know the specific terms that your customers use to refer to a particular product of yours better.
So, if you fail to involve them in the keyword research process, then you will be missing out on a wealth of valuable information.
Content marketing & SEO can’t replace each other
Many discussions and blogs have been published on how content marketing and SEO are interlinked. They both are closely related and can hardly stand alone. Even then, in the digital world, both have their own place and importance of their own and one can’t replace the other.
I thought to note this down in particular, because of the widespread news among many business owners that producing quality content is enough for SEO; and that everything else is irrelevant. It’s true that producing quality content is very important for SEO, but without proper technical optimisation, social media expertise, and distribution strategies, your content will never attain the higher search rankings that it deserves.
Poor SEO practices will bite you back in the future
Stopping your spammy keywords and linking practices won’t erase the past sins.
Even if you are producing amazing content, the poor SEO practices that you followed in the past will be there to harm you even in the future.
If you ever notice a significant drop in the traffic at a particular point in time, it could mean that your site has received a manual penalty or action. In case of a penalty, try the following.
- You can request to remove the Inbound links from spammy or poor quality sites
- The poor quality content should be rewritten or removed from your site
- The anchor text used for internal linking can be changed.
- SEO is not always about Keywords and Links
- BING does matter; don’t be a fool to deny it
- Don’t get depressed over (Not Provided) keywords
- Earn your Inbound links; don’t just leave behind links on the Comment section
- Subheadings don’t weigh as much as you think
- Google Plus does not directly lead to higher search rankings
- SEO is a long-term endeavour, not a quick fix
- SEO can’t stand in Isolation
- Content Marketing & SEO can’t replace each other
- Poor SEO practices will bite you back in the future