The Google algorithms and other search engines are now mature enough to recognize when a website is relevant to readers and when it is not. The first place in the search results is only a good resource if users get what they were looking for on the page: relevant information, interesting material and engaging content. Therefore, the most important SEO rule is always: good and effective content produced for people, not for search engines.
However, there are several misconceptions and myths surrounding search engine optimization that are either obsolete today or are outright wrong to begin with. Some of them are quite simple while others can have a negative impact on the performance of your website. So, to clear things up, here are some of the most common SEO myths debunked by the team of OptiWeb Marketing, a renowned SEO Company in Montreal!
Myth 1: SEO is Dead
Is SEO work counterproductive these days now that Google already knows all of the tricks can punish disobedient websites? First of all, SEO is far from dead, but the rules have changed over time. As long as there are search engines on the internet that list and rank their results one after the other using an algorithm, and you do not have to pay for placement, SEO is not in any danger of dying.
There is a misconception that Google tries to punish websites that perform search engine optimization itself. However, whether a website is displayed as the top search result by the search engine depends on several criteria. These criteria are based on the simplest possible operation of the page with high relevance to the searcher. So good search engine optimization, therefore, also means an improvement to the user’s experience. Google only punishes websites that trick the search engine, and that are solely aimed at improving the search position.
Myth 2: It’s Good to Stuff Keywords in Your Website Content
The more often a chosen keyword appears on your website content, the better, right? If you think keyword stuffing still works, chances are, you may not keep up with the updates in search algorithms. Instead of the frequency, density and proximity of keywords, Google is now looking at how relevant articles are for its users.
According to the recent SEO trends in 2021, completely illegible text blocks that were only written for the search engines are counterproductive today. Additionally, keyword density has largely become obsolete. According to Google, the selected keyword can appear as few as once so that the page can be found in a particular context. The focus should be completely on good legibility. If keywords are used too often, your page can be classified as spammy – with negative consequences to your search engine ranking.
Myth 3: Meta Keywords Are The Ultimate Key to Success
As we discussed, the trick of stuffing keywords is no longer as important as it used to be, it’s as simple as that. This is especially true for meta keywords that are invisible to the user and are inserted into the code of the page. According to various studies done by SEO agencies, meta keywords have not played any role in the ranking on Google for several years now. However, this does not apply to other information such as the meta descriptions or the page title – these are still read by Google – but are only one ranking factor among many.
Myth 4: Long-Form Content Is An Effective SEO Hack
Fold-out content is a widely used tool to keep pages with a lot of content organized. Not every reader is interested in the big picture and may be looking for specific information, especially in mobile view. Folded content is meant to ensure that the user is not overwhelmed by a multitude of information.
However, concerns that search engines do not record these fold-out texts prove to be wrong: these are recognized and evaluated by Google and other search engines. However, the search engines indeed rate “hidden” text as less important. Significant passages of text should therefore best be found in the normal running text – without the user having to unfold a certain area first.
Myth 5: Good SEO Work Gets Reflected Immediately In Results
A few optimizations here, a few adjustments there and your own page is already number one in the Google results, right? Unfortunately, it is not that easy and fast. SEO is a marathon, not a sprint, and can require a lot of testing and trial and error.
Is Google just too slow? Yes and no. Simple actions such as indexing a new page can be very quick. On the other hand, it can take several weeks for the results of processes such as link building to become noticeable or for the page to be found under certain search terms. Because the search engine algorithm is constantly changing being optimized, SEO work on a website is also an ongoing process. If you are not ranking #1, you still have work to do. If you are ranking #1, you have to maintain that position or your competition will eventually catch on, and catch up.
Myth 6: Using Several Headings of One type, For Example Several H1 or H2 Headings, Will Get You Penalized
It’s common for SEOs to try to rank better by tweaking headlines. Keywords are then packed into the headings or everything is declared as an H1. However, there is a fear, rightfully so, that this will put you in danger of receiving a penalty. But that is just as unrealistic as the hope of tricking the search engines with this approach.
This is simply because Google mainly uses the headings to understand the structure of the content. Therefore, it is initially not a problem to use several headings of the same type. At the same time, however, it also makes no sense to pack everything under an H1 – because this will weaken the structure and Google will probably ignore such an approach. The same applies to keywords: if a keyword is used over and over again, there is a high risk that Google will simply drop it. So there is no penalty, but great success should not to be expected with these tactics either.
Myth 7: If Google Crawls A Page More, It’ll Rank Better
Crawling does not lead to better rankings- it is rather the technical prerequisite for ranking altogether. For Google to be able to index and rank a page, the search engine must first see, understand and classify it. The first step, seeing, is called “crawling”. Googlebots look at the individual sub-pages so that the content can be classified in the next step. So if a page can’t be crawled, it can’t rank either.
It’s not like you have to artificially improve the crawl rate to rank better. In the vast majority of cases, Google can understand this for itself. There are times when crawling should either be ramped up or down – but this usually has to do with the server and can often be recognized by Google. With regards to crawling, two things are particularly important: good internal linking so that the Googlebot can reach all of the important pages, and blocking of senseless things such as endless calendars. And if things really change and have to be crawled quickly, sitemaps or Google Search Console can help. The current content will then always be indexed.
Brad Sacks is a Negotiation, Sales, E-Commerce, Retail, Management and Web Marketing expert based in Montreal, QC. He is the founder of OptiWeb Marketing, a web agency with overseas satellite offices that ensure around the clockwork to maximize the full potential of each one of their clients.