SEO is a constantly changing world. There is a constant struggle between major players. On one side we have Google which is pushing its own advertising methods through algorithmic changes. On the other side, there are canny marketers and SEOs who game the system and will never stop. It comes down to a back-and-forth between these two sides jockeying for position.
The side effect of this situation is that it’s very easy for old or incorrect information to spread. What was considered a good practice months ago, no longer works under current conditions. Moreover, the highly technical nature of SEO makes it easy to be misunderstood entirely by the uninitiated.
This article will focus on three of the biggest SEO Marketing Myths that are spread far and wide. If working in the industry you’ll be sure to come across at least one of these sooner or later. Cue the eye-rolling!
1. SEO is Dead
We all know this one.
It takes Google making a little typo correction to an FAQ on their algorithm, for doomsayers to start banging on doors proclaiming the end of SEO. The fact is that, as described above, this changing landscape is part and parcel of this line of work.
The Wild West is an apt comparison to what it was like when SEO marketing was born. It was anyone’s game where the rules were loose and the techniques easy to work. Simple methods like bulk spamming of blogs and the flooding of link-sharing shot pages up the front page in no time at all. The SEO scene was all about the outright manipulation of algorithms on search engines. Consequently, there were few incentives to actually work with high-quality organic content.
As Google updates came through, such as the series of animal-themed algorithms, the scene shifted and moved towards qualitative content that benefits users. This has the effect of making SEO marketing a more difficult and involved process that takes time to provide clear results. That doesn’t mean it’s not working. It’s simply not an instant solution.
An interesting effect on the side of SEOs themselves is the perception of this shift in the scene. Some who were active in the halcyon days, struggle to appreciate that working towards high-quality content gives the best of both worlds to site visitors and page rankings. There are those who claim that many in the SEO world need to “wake up” and change their expectations and ways of working to suit this new landscape. Although there has been a constant change in Google´s algorithm, one can say that there are three main aspects driving modern SEO.
Main Changes Driving the Modern State of SEO
- An increase in long tail style searches – a larger number of web searchers are using unique and difficult-to-anticipate searches. This places the onus on the company to develop its SEO to a level of quality that can anticipate these searches. Marketers have to do a detailed analysis of their demographic and brand to discern what keywords and phrases to target best with their SEOs.
- Social media platforms – we all know of the rapid expansion of new social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. These are difficult to quantify exactly when it comes to SEO but nobody is arguing that they are influencing strategy to a greater degree every year.
- Everyone is going mobile – you’re in big trouble if you don’t know this one! Similar to the advances in voice searches, mobile has fast become the predominant method for web searches. This has brought a whole slew of changes with it such as the drive for greater web accessibility and mobile interface changes.
Here is a great read on 4 Essential SEO Strategies You Should Be Focusing On.
2. Bigger is Better When it Comes to Pages
This is a sentiment that seems to be all over the web.
Causing problems and poor user experience in many cases, the notion that you have to have a large number of pages to be successful in SEO is flat wrong. It’s easy to see why someone might come to this conclusion but it remains a commonly spread seo myth and comes second on our list.
The truth is that search engines are already way ahead of you if your plan is to get a slew of indexing ranking benefits by spamming pages. Algorithms are long since in place to suss out this activity and all a site owner will do is waste time trying to flood their site with pages needlessly. Google will even remove what it deems pointless pages from indexing itself – point to note if you are an SEO working for an enterprise marketing client.
That’s not to say that a site should be limited in the pages it runs. It all comes down to real content of good quality. Some sites might need a large range of indexed pages and some can get away with a few pages or a range of non-indexed pages – e-commerce sites are a good example of this with a high number of pages for individual items that might not be indexed individually.
3. Keywords Don’t Matter Anymore
Last on the list is a phrase as broad as it is wrong. As Google’s algorithms have advanced in their intelligence and depth you can’t blame some people for misinterpreting the focus of Google and the methods in which its algorithms work.
It mainly comes down to the game-changing algorithm called Hummingbird, introduced by Google in 2013. Similar in effect to an atomic bomb, Hummingbird radically changed the way in which Google recognizes keywords.
A key element of Hummingbird was the development of context and a more intelligent understanding of phrases. Google suddenly stopped just working off specific keywords to figure out rankings. The Hummingbird update gave it a greater ability in interpreting and intelligently understand content through the analysis of full sentences.
This clearly means that the notion of a fixed keyword had become somewhat outdated. While SEO strategies were still defined through core phrases and keywords, the landscape changed and became more fluid. Now Google was able to interpret and infer meanings to a greater degree. It gave it the ability to perform complex actions like linking entirely separate keywords holding the same meaning together.
It’s important to keep in mind that Google never actually stated that keywords would cease to be important. It’s actually thought that marketers themselves pushed this notion.
What Google did say was that the concept and overall subject of text were intended to be a driving force in SEO instead of words alone.
What can we learn from this?
Be wary of what you hear second hand and be sure to fact-check any information you receive. SEO moves fast and future updates put out by Google will only ever increase in complexity and ingenuity.
The fact is that SEO marketing is here to stay. It’s easy to understand why doom and gloom or outright panic can set in when careers and companies are on the line.
It’s the savvy and up-to-date SEO who will analyze the latest changes and ensure their sources of information are fresh and relevant. To cop a phrase, with great complexity comes great responsibility. It’s on you as a technically skilled professional to ensure that the principles and concepts you work with are correct and that you remain on the cutting edge.
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