Fact or Fiction? Exploring Prevailing SEO Superstitions
Local search professionals cannot seem to reach a consensus about SEO best practices: whether the design of a website is useful or useless, whether or not guest blogging serves a purpose or is just a waste of time, etc. With all of the disagreements, there are several erroneous ideas that are circulating in the industry. This article aims to break down those myths.
True or false: “You should funnel site traffic to a spin-off microsite to boost your SEO.” FALSE. You can’t trick Google with Black Hat tactics like this. In addition, you will only irritate your users. Keeping them on your primary site and keeping them interested in your content with a superior user experience will serve you far better in the long run.
True or false: “Nofollow links can actually be helpful to your SEO strategy.” TRUE. Nofollow links can create awareness and build engagement provided that you ensure that your link is pertinent, that it links to related content, and that your landing page is prepared to handle any traffic that you generate from the nofollow link.
True or false: “Your bounce rate in Google Analytics wreck your site’s ranking in organic search.” FALSE. There is no connection between a site’s bounce rate and its search ranking. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something.
True or false: “having an XML sitemap is a shortcut to a higher search ranking.” FALSE. Sorry, no shortcuts here. XML sitemaps have their purpose, which is providing Google with guidance in discovering the pages of your site. It is not a magic wand that does all of your SEO for you
True or false: “Keyword stuffing is no longer the best way to grab that coveted #1 spot on Google.” TRUE. This strategy is very outdated – it’s going to take more than that to hold Google’s attention, or a user’s. Resist the urge to cram your site full of keywords in an attempt to get more traffic. The keywords should happen naturally because you’re creating content for your site that is relevant to your business and to your target customer.
True or false: “Google regards SEO as the enemy.” FALSE. Google loves good, ethical SEO that shares its goals of delivering the right information to the right user at the right time. In fact, they have even put out resources to help business owners and marketers hire reputable SEO practitioners. The only SEO that Google despises is Black Hat SEO, which involves purposeful manipulation of the end user and malicious attempts to “game the system.”
True or false: “Being #1 on Google is the ultimate goal of all SEO.” FALSE. This idea is problematic for several reasons. First of all, only one website can rank #1 at any given time. It’s simply impractical for that to be your end-all, be-all means of measuring SEO success. Secondly, even if you are #1, it only means something if the cash register is ringing, or at the very least you are getting more leads as a result of your SEO strategy. That first-place finish is shiny and attractive, but it is far too simplistic to be a full and complete metric of SEO success.
As the SEO industry grows, misinformation will continue to spread. Whether you are an SEO practitioner or you are thinking of hiring one, be on the lookout for these prevailing falsehoods so you don’t suffer any SEO pitfalls.