In two prior posts, we talked about SEO Changes and debunked 14 SEO myths. Here are the final 7 SEO Myths that you can ditch!
Myth #15 The H1 Is The Most Important On-Page Element
Think of the content structure on your webpage as an outline. It’s a tiered approach to presenting information to users and search engines.
The title tag your headline uses has little to no influence on your overall SEO –it is really only used for styling purposes.
The H1 is part of your CSS (custom style sheet) that your designer specifies to identify which font style and size will be applied to a particular piece of content.
Remember, you’re optimizing your page for users first and foremost. This means that you want to tell them ASAP what your page is about with a simple, clear headline.
When looking through a library, we scan titles to recognize the best match.
This is the purpose of the on-page H1 tag.
These, tags, along with meta descriptions and title tags
provide the recognition of a match for readers and search engines.
In order to bring in visitors, a search engine must identify your page as relevant.
Yet, a formulaic title and content will seem disingenuous.
Create titles that make sense to humans and engines.
And, only use one H1 per page.
Myth #16 My Homepage Needs A Lot Of Content
Ever come across a homepage littered with copy? Or, a page with almost no content at all?
Think of your homepage as the lobby of your business. Visualize your chance to make a first impression and convey what you’re all about.
Maybe your value proposition is simplicity — for an example like Dropbox,and a single login makes sense.
Homepage content should be sufficient to clarify who you are, what you do, where you’re located (if you’re local), your value proposition, and what visitors should do next.
Leave them satisfied, not confused.
Your home-page is the H1 of your website.
Make it about your customers.
Communicate with them and tell your story.
Why are they here and what can they find?
Keep it simple and drive home the message.
What value do you provide to your customers?
Myth #17 More Pages Are Better
One might think that the larger the footprint of a website, the better it would rank — but this is simply not true.
1. Not everything you publish gets indexed.
2. Sometimes, pages get indexed, but don’t stay in the index.
3. Just because you have pages indexed doesn’t mean they will drive qualified traffic and leads.
In fact, why have a page unless it has an objective, a specific audience, and a purpose?
Unfortunately, those who strive to have lots of pages on their website also tend to overlook the quality of that content — and realistically, it’s difficult to strive for both.
The aim should be to decide on a unique purpose for each page, publish what is most relevant, and invite them to the next step.
A large number of pages may increase your chance of search visibility.
But, search engines weigh “signal- tonoise” as a primary factor when judging your site.
High quality content on a properly built site with credible inbound links still rule.
Myth #18 For Local SEO, Just Add An Address
For a local business, local search optimization will help you get found by people nearby.
Google Maps has been adopted at an astounding rate. Google will continue to take steps to incorporate the best local content with maps and other location data.
In July of 2014, Google took a major step in this direction with the release of its new Pigeon algorithm.
The Pigeon algorithm treats local search rankings more like traditional search rankings, taking hundreds of ranking signals into account. Improving Google’s ranking by distance.
The bottom line: local SEO matters, probably more so now than ever before.
Consistent citations are important for local SEO.
Conflicts can be subtle.
To an engine, variations of an address can appear to be different locations.
Example: If “Road” is abbreviated in one page and not another, it may signify two different addresses to the engine.
Myth #19 Microsites & Other Domains That Link Or Redirect To Me Will Help My Rankings
The chances of this helping your SEO are slim to none. It’s like having an election in which you vote for yourself a thousand times — it still just counts as one vote.
Search engines are smart enough to know when content is duplicated from your primary domain.
There simply is not much value in defocusing Google from your primary mission.
Instead of spreading your SEO thin, put all of that love into your primary domain.
Microsites can have a valid reason for existence when they serve a specific marketing goal.
Focus on understanding your customers’ needs and creating content that helps satisfy those needs.
Myth #20 Google Will Never Know If I Go “Black Hat”
Links are good, except when they are links from “bad neighborhoods”.
“Black Hat” SEO firms live in bad neighborhoods (they earn a reputation for providing low quality content). These spammers make it more difficult for Google to do it’s job, so Google does not like spammers.
Remember High School? Your parents judged your behavior by observing your friends’ behavior. Google does that too. Links from bad neighborhoods are like certain friends your parents warned you about.
Google will notice when you are hanging out with the wrong crowd and (fairly or unfairly) assume things about you.
If Google sees you hanging out with people from a bad neighborhood, it will assume you are doing things you shouldn’t. It’s a dangerous game that could get you banned.
Google does not inherently trust a new site.
Over the years, as marketers took more shortcuts, the quality of search results suffered.
Google must regularly address SEO-caused reputation problems.
This issue is a major cause of regular revamping of search algorithms.
Myth #21 SEO Is Not A Usability Issue
“Search Experience Optimization” is what SEO should really mean to you.
SEO has evolved from simply getting found to improving how users engage with your content.
SEO is so much more than optimizing for search engines. You should optimize for users first and foremost. Visitors should want to click through your listing to your website and — once they click through — stay there.
To keep visitors on your site, ensure you’re publishing content that’s personalized and relevant. Also make sure your website is intuitive and easy to browse (in other words, accessible by both crawlers and users.
Also, don’t make visitors search for what they need. Provide clear calls-to-action, and you’ll convert those visitors into contacts, leads, and — eventually — customers.
SEO is important.
But don’t optimize content for engines only, it makes content hard to digest by humans.
Humans first, search engines second.
Myth #22 SEO & Digital Marketing Don’t Mix
If one thinks of Digital Marketing as a giant wheel, SEO is a spoke on that wheel.
Digital Marketing is a holistic philosophy that focuses on efficiently turning strangers into people who want to — and should — do business with you.
This encompasses a wide array of tactics and best practices, including content creation, conversion optimization, and leveraging social channels, among other facets.
SEO, in comparison, is a specific traffic generation tactic that focuses on attracting visitors, improving a business’s visibility in — and traffic from — search engine results.
We don’t think about SEO by itself.
Instead, we think about search engines as one of many information distribution opportunities available to reach customers.
It’s inbound because customers find you by searching for solutions to their problems.
It’s high value because they are searching for your solutions, not being interrupted while doing something else.
We think about integrating all facets of digital marketing to make it as easy as possible for customers to find you.
Then we get to work creating the content and dialogue required to solve your problems.
Whew, that’s a lot of SEO Myths to ditch in 2015!
Understanding these SEO myths and truths will make you both more effective and more efficient with your organic search strategy.
If you can take one thing away from this guide, it’s this: More than anything else, SEO is about the overall experience for a searcher, and that experience starts the moment they enter a search query.
A good experience with your site — from your results page listing, to the quality and relevancy of the content on your site, to the ease with which they can move through your site — the better your results.
Now that you learned about the common SEO myths, what are you doing that isn’t moving the needle? Or, what are you doing that’s making your SEO efforts worse?