Even though SEO has been practised for over 2 decades, we are still met with constant myths about SEO that need to be debunked and forgotten. SEO myths are usually conjured up by those who have had failed attempts at optimising their websites, have had bad experiences with agencies, or simply do not want to invest the necessary time into their SEO and need to justify it somehow.
Although we do cover the topic of black-hat SEO as well as some common misconceptions about SEO in our SEO course, this week we’re focusing on the myths surrounding SEO so our students and followers do not fall into these misinformed ways of thinking.
Let’s get right into it.
Myth #1: SEO consists of tricks to manipulate search engines
No. Just no.
The only time SEO can be seen as manipulative or as “trickery” is when someone is making use of black hat SEO tactics to intentionally fool search engines and gain artificial rankings.
Something that is often overlooked is the fact that SEO’s share the same goal as search engines; providing the visitor with an enjoyable browsing experience by showing them results that are relevant to their needs, up to date, valuable and informative.
SEO aims to make valuable content more discoverable to search engines and people, creating a fluid and easy user experience by optimising the structure of a website, giving data a structure that is easy to understand and easy to access, abiding by technical standards that make it simpler for search engines to display the right content to the right audience which in turn will lead to the audience sharing the content and thereby generating links, optimising a website for social engagement, and improving site speeds.
If SEO only consisted of tricks, we would be seeing sudden spikes in our rankings, and just as suddenly thereafter, a great fall.
SEO takes work, and not just once. All the actions mentioned above are invaluable to a website on their own and by investing time into implementing SEO as a marketing strategy, you will reap great rewards.
Myth #2: SEO is not affected by activity on social media
Although Google does not make use of social metrics such as likes, followers or the number of shares when ranking websites, it is not this direct type of effect that we should worry about.
By making use of social media, sharing your content and engaging with your audience, you stand a much larger chance of reaping incredible rewards. When you use social media platforms correctly, you place a great amount of power into the hands of your users and this is valuable because, in this manner, the correct audience decides whether your content is valuable, instead of users who happened across your site, and found that it was not what they were looking for due to incorrect search terms or the like.
By creating and sharing great content on your social media, as well as optimising your website for social sharing and engagement, you make it easy for users to distribute and share your content which can lead to a wonderful snowball effect which includes links, more visits and brand awareness.
And this does, in fact, affect your SEO.
Myth #3: SEO is about ranking #1 in search results
This one is a pretty common one. My personal opinion is that this one has a lot to do with agencies promising to land businesses the number 1 spot in search results for a highly competitive keyword or keyphrase along with the great desire for business owners to rank number one as an ego boost.
SEO encompasses so many skills, tactics, strategies and tasks that many of you in the digital industry have probably at one time or another, practised some form of SEO strategy without even knowing it.
Although #1 is a nice spot to have, especially for a high competition keyword, it is quite likely that this keyword could bring in the least amount of traffic to your site if you have spent a sufficient amount of time implementing your SEO strategy. It is important to realise that when you create your content around topics and provide useful and informative content on the subject, you will find that you are ranking for long-tail keywords that you weren’t even trying to rank for due to the fact that your content was relevant to the needs of the user. In this instance, the user landed on your site because you matched their needs, not a keyword, and that is when you have gained a user that will most likely return and share your content.
While it is proven that being on the 1st page of the search engine results page leads to more traffic due to the ease of access and visibility, however, rankings only form a small part of the overall SEO goal.
Your SE strategy as a whole needs to aim for more engagement, increased traffic brought in by valuable content and an increase in conversions. When we focus on content optimisation instead of obsessing over grabbing the number 1 spot on Google, it is then when your increased traffic and fresh, useful content will aid you in climbing the rankings.
Myth #4: Image Optimisation isn’t important for SEO
Before getting into the technical side of this awful myth, I want to address the fact that we need to be considerate of all our users when we create content. Whether it is a visually impaired user or a user with a poor internet connection that simply cannot have images load, we need to optimise our images to let our users know what the image is.
We look at many websites to find that their images are not optimised with the correct titles, alt text and descriptions, and this problem is very common.
When you search for an image on Google, how do you think Google knows what images to display? There certainly isn’t someone looking at the trillions of images on the web who spends their time analysing and naming them. Search engines cannot actually “see” your images.
The reason image optimisation is so important is because it grants us yet another channel to be seen by search engines and humans. If your images are optimised with titles and alt text, you stand a chance of having images from your website appear in an image search, which in turn can end up leading to a visit to your site. Google suggests that we use descriptive titles and captions as well as keywords if relevant.
Image optimisation is surely one of the easiest tasks when we create content, it is, however, harder to remember to do it. So, we need to keep reminding ourselves what is necessary when creating new content and be sure to have image optimisation on the checklist.
Myth #5: Good Design and user experience isn’t a requirement
When this argument comes up, we need to look at websites from the perspective of the search engine. Google’s goal is to provide their users with the most relevant and useful content based on their search queries. As Google continued to provide better results to their users, they also used the increase in their user-base to enhance their algorithm and thus, they have included user experience and website engagement into their ranking algorithm. Just as with all of us, Google too is a business and their mission is to keep their customers happy. In order for them to keep their customers happy, they need to direct them to quality web pages. By showing your website, Google is actually recommending your website to one of their users, and should the user experience on your website not be fluid, easy and enjoyable, Google’s user will leave your site and be unhappy about the result they were given. Simple as that.
User experience ties in greatly with SEO because the ultimate goal is to provide the user with relevant, recent, and informative content that is easy and enjoyable to navigate.
There are a lot of strange rumours out there along with bad and manipulative SEO tactics. Stay aware of the sites you visit for information concerning SEO and be sure that the content you are viewing is up to date and from a reliable source. If you are not currently one of our students at iMod Education, you can learn even more on the topic of SEO, correct practices and reliable resources by joining our course.
I hope this week’s post will help you weed out the fake SEO’s and their advice and encourage you to invest the time and resources into your SEO efforts. When you do, you will see the great rewards which accompany your SEO success.
As a big thank you to all of our supporters and readers, we are giving our readers a 25% discount on the SEO course.
To claim your discount, use the code IEBLOG when checking out as your coupon code.
Until next week!
Stay unique. Stay ambitious. Stay you.
Yours in digital,