If your customers can’t find you, they can’t buy from you. That’s why search engine optimisation (SEO) is such an important part of doing business online. Good SEO will help people find your site and once they’ve done that, you have a chance to turn them into a customer. However, SEO is a constantly changing field and because of this a number of myths and misconceptions have grown up around the field over the years. If you don’t know SEO fact from SEO fiction, then you could harm your site, decreasing the likelihood that you’ll rank well and attract potential customers. In this guide, we’ll bust some of the biggest SEO myths around so you won’t unknowingly act on bad advice. Let’s get started.
Myth: Good content is enough
If only this was the case. It would be brilliant if you could focus all your attention on creating a fantastic website and then wait for search engines to rank you well and visitors to flood in. Unfortunately, as good as Google is, it’s not able to rank pages well just because they feature useful information.
This is why SEO is so important – at a fundamental level it’s about ensuring people and search engines are aware of and can access your content. Get it right and you’ll rank well and your visitor numbers will grow. Ignore it altogether and the chances are your site will be buried on page 100. Ensuring you monitor your site’s SEO and implement best practices is crucial if you want to succeed online.
Myth: Using AdWords will help you rank better in organic search
This is one of the oldest SEO myths around. It’s been debunked many times, but it’s still repeated. Matt Cutts, in his role as head of the Google webspam team, addressed this issue head on and explained in no uncertain terms that there’s no link between AdWords and organic rankings.
“If somebody clicks on ads, that’s great. But we’re not going to make an algorithmic change to try to drive people to buy ads,” he said. “If you buy ads it’s not going to algorithmically help your ranking in any way, and likewise, it’s not going to hurt your ranking if you buy ads.”
Myth: Meta titles and descriptions don’t matter anymore
It’s true that in the early days of search engines all you had to do was cram hundreds of keyword variants into your site’s meta titles and descriptions and you’d rank well. It’s also true that because of this neither your meta titles or descriptions are used as a ranking factor these days. However, that doesn’t mean you can ignore them. Meta titles and descriptions are used to create the snippets you see when you make a search. That means they’re a huge factor in whether someone clicks through to your site, or decides to visit a rival instead. If you don’t tailor your meta titles and descriptions for each page on your site, you’re potentially missing out on clicks. If you don’t know whether your meta titles and descriptions are unique for each page on your site, then you need to find out using an appropriate tool. The 123-reg Search Engine Optimiser tool has been designed to identify issues such as missing or duplicate meta titles and descriptions and then guide you through the process of fixing the problem step by step. Even if you’ve never done any SEO before, you’ll still be able to use the tool as it tells you everything you need to do.
Myth: Big brands will always win
Ok, you’re probably not going to get to the top of the search rankings for competitive terms such as “buy shoes”, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up before you even begin. By understanding the market and targeting longtail keywords, you can still grab great rankings for searches that will drive customers to you site. Of course, if you ignore SEO you’ll never know what you could achieve. You can learn about conducting longtail keyword research in this guide – once you’ve picked some target phrases, you can start tracking things with a suitable tool. It’s also a good idea to focus on local search if your business targets a specific area – that way you can attract people looking to do business with a company based in their community.
Myth: You need to hit a precise level of keyword density
Another persistent myth is that you need to use your keyword a certain number of times on a page in order to rank well. Like a lot of SEO myths, this probably had an element of truth to it in the early days of search engines. However, in 2015 you don’t need to worry about counting keyword instances. Instead, you should focus on ensuring that your keyword is used in all the right places on a page, so search engines can easily tell what that page is about and include it in the appropriate search results. Not sure where you should be putting keywords? Don’t worry, the 123-reg Search Engine Optimiser tool will tell you exactly where to include your keywords on a page, helping you to achieve good rankings.
Myth: I only need to worry about my own site
It’s true that you can only have a direct impact on the SEO of your own site, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore your rivals. Understanding what other sites in your niche are doing in terms of SEO can help you make improvements that you might otherwise have missed. Competitive research is one of the cornerstones of good SEO – by using the right tool to keep an eye on your rivals, you find it easier to keep up with them.
Myth: Links aren’t important anymore
Links used to be the only thing that really mattered when it came to getting a site to rank well. And although it’s true that links are slightly less important than they once were, the fact is that you can’t expect to get to the first page of Google without links from high quality sites. However, it’s also possible that links from the wrong kind of site could damage your chances of ranking well. If too many low quality sites are linking to you, your site’s rankings are likely to suffer. You need to build quality links from relevant sites. However, in order to see how your site is doing you’ll need to use a backlink monitoring tool to see which sites are linking to you. It’s also important to create links that drive traffic to your site. Often this can be done by identifying relevant, high-quality online directories and adding your site to them. Our Search Engine Optimiser tool will help you identify these sites for you.
Myth: SEO is a one-time thing
SEO isn’t something you can do once and then forget. It can take months of works to see positive results and if you stop, all your hard work will be for nothing. It’s like go to the gym – you wouldn’t expect to get a six pack overnight and once you’ve got one, you have to work hard to maintain it. SEO is about building a solid base by doing the basics well and then pushing on to the next level by building quality links. But you have to keep going, and keep on monitoring your efforts. If you let things slip, or miss a problem with your site then all your hard work could be undone. By using our SEO tool, you’ll be able to see what’s working, what could be better and if something suddenly goes wrong, you’ll be able to identify and fix the issue.
If you’re not monitoring your SEO efforts, you can use the 123-reg Search Engine Optimiser tool to get started. You’ll get detailed steps on what action your site needs including an assessment of your meta titles and descriptions. You’ll also get information on your rankings, a link monitoring tool and a competitive research tool, so you’ll be able to make the changes needed to help your site rank well.