The internet is evolving, so the rules for marketing your website are changing as well. Here are 10 SEO myths you should keep in mind in 2018:
Myth: More links are better than more content
Reality: While in the past having as many links as possible meant your site would get higher ranking in SEO, this is no longer the case. Links are still very important, but the way you choose and build-in your links is different. Don’t just link to any old page. The reputation of the sites you link to is crucially important. Nowadays, the quality of your links is more important than the quantity.
Myth: Having a secure or encrypted website doesn’t matter to SEO
Reality: In 2014, Google announced that it will start taking into account sites that are secure, meaning they have “https” in front of their site. The extra “s” there means your site is encrypted so hackers can’t get to your data. Sites without encryption now get ranked lower on SEO searches than sites that do have secure encryption.
Myth: SEO is all about ranking
Reality: Ranking is no longer the end-all-be-all when it comes to website traffic. Studies have shown that internet browsers tend to favor the first three hits on any search engine page. There’s a misconception that higher rankings mean more traffic, but this is not necessarily the case. If your website is the number one hit on a search but doesn’t have what the browser is looking for, they will pass your site by.
Myth: Keyword optimization is the key to successful SEO
Reality: New smart-algorithms use machine learning to help browsers find what they are looking for in a more intuitive way. While it used to be that what you wrote should use very specific keywords that matched exactly with your content, these new smart-algorithms are using artificial intelligence to sort through the thousands of websites out there. The algorithms are now more nuanced and are better able to find what browsers are looking for, even if keywords don’t match exactly.
Myth: Keywords have to be an exact match
Reality: Go ahead and use them in your headlines, but make sure it isn’t clunky. Your goal is to write engaging content, not something that is overstuffed with obvious keywords. That can discourage people from wanting to read your stuff. Also be aware that keyword-stuffing can work against you. Google’s Webmaster Guidelines actually warn against this, and your website could get penalized for doing it.
Myth: My homepage need a lot of content
Reality: Similar to keyword-stuffing, over cluttering your homepage can also work against you. Your homepage is like your storefront. You want people to come inside and explore. If you have too much or too little content, people will be put off. Your homepage must leave a good first impression. Visualize what you want your storefront to look like. Does it convey what you’re all about in a clean, simple, and sophisticated way? Does it make sense? Make sure you don’t overwhelm or underwhelm your visitors.
Myth: The more pages the better
Reality: This goes along with having too much content. You don’t have to have tons of pages to get more traffic. It can even be off-putting as it can make visitors feel like they’re going down a rabbit hole. Make the information they need clear and easy to find. Simplicity is key here. Not endless numbers of pages.
Myth: Local SEO doesn’t matter anymore
Reality: Local should be your focus, as local SEO is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal, especially if you are a business. Optimizing for local SEO hits is one of the best ways to grow your website and get more traffic. If you have products to sell and are local, your local customers can tell their friends about you and this will increase your traffic even more.
Myth: Images don’t need any optimization
Reality: This used to be the case but not anymore. Nowadays, it’s more important than ever to make use of SEO for images. Doing this boosts your page’s overall SEO results. This means you will have to give your images captions, as many search engines—in particular Google—cannot “see” images. To make sure search engines know what is in your images, include relevant text.
Myth: SEO is something I can hand off to IT
Reality: While it might seem easier to just pass off all the work to someone with technical expertise, SEO is one of those things you should be involved in. Work with your IT if you must, but just handing it off entirely can mean you’re not optimizing your site to the best of its ability. Build an SEO strategy together. This way you can see what’s working and what’s not, based on what you know about your business and the customers you are targeting.