The power of search engine optimization is impossible to ignore in 2020. With more and more social media platforms limiting their organic reach and pushing the pushing companies to move towards paid advertising, we clearly know how significantly SEO impact businesses.
Even though SEO is gaining its popularity at a massive pace, yet the practitioners aren’t moving along with it. That’s exactly why there are several old SEO practices which doesn’t impact your search rankings, yet are still in use. Doesn’t matter if you’re a consultant or an SEO agency these practices are crucial for you.
Let’s shed some light on some of these SEO myths and find out the reality behind SEO.
One of the most common used terms in SEO is keyword density. Keyword density is simply the ratio of how many times a specific keyword has been mentioned on a certain page.
So for example if a web page has 100 words and a keyword “basketball” was mentioned 3 times, the keyword density for this keyword would be 3%.
Keyword density has been something SEOs used to track for their webpages to rank. Even today many SEOs believing its effectiveness value it as a ranking factor. They’d continue to find what the ideal keyword density for a webpage is.
The reality in this case is much different. Google’s algorithm is way smarter than we know. Although Google does use pages textual data to find relevancy with queries, but that isn’t dependent on keyword density. Google utilizes NLP (natural language processing) systems to evaluate the content.
So what does this mean for the marketers? Should we stop placing keywords in the content? Not necessarily. Placing keywords strategically is a good practice but chasing a specific number for keyword density is not.
Backlinks are dead
A backlink is generated when one website links to any page on another website. It helps search engine evaluate the popularity and credibility of a website.
Every now and then you’d hear from some of people within the SEO community claiming that backlinks are dead. It’d be asserted as if backlinks are not a ranking factor anymore. You’d even see senseless case studies to prove that links don’t work or aren’t as important as they used to be.
The reality is this regard is totally opposite. Backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors for search engine algorithm. Google bot, just like any other search engine crawler, crawls the links on the web and based on the quality and volume of links associate certain domain power for a website.
There are cases when links can negatively impact your SEO campaign but that happens only if you violate Google’s guidelines. And that happens if you either bought those links or you’ve acquired them through a nefarious method. In simple words the more qualitative links you have the higher your website rank.
Sitemap isn’t important
A sitemap is simply a file that contains the information of your website’s webpages. This includes all the content on those pages as well; written, video or any other file. It also conveys the relationship between different files to search engine.
Many SEOs going with the utilization of new tools and modern tactics have developed this thinking that sitemaps aren’t as important. What they claim is that Google can crawl and index your pages on its own so one doesn’t need to invest it’s time & resources into it.
The reality is that a sitemap is one of the most valuable resources for a search engine. Before the rankings come index-ability and a sitemap can help crawlers to better crawl and hence index your webpages.
Even if you’ve formulated world-class SEO campaign, you won’t see any rankings if your website isn’t indexed properly. And that’d only be possible if search engines discover every valuable page on your website.
A well-developed sitemap would let the crawlers navigate your website in a convenient manner. It’d be even more significant for websites which contain hundreds of web pages such as ecommerce stores.
Content quality isn’t much important
Content has always been a foundational piece of work for any SEO campaign. What content basically means is the textual words on your website which search engine reads and thus determine on the basis of it whether your website would rank higher on the results page or not.
Many SEOs argue that search engines rank content based on the wording used and keywords stuffed into it. Thus they’d believe that the keywords utilization triumphs the overall quality of the article. This lands the content into bad practices such as;
- Content duplication
- Spun/thin content
- Plagiarized content
In simple words, SEOs would compromise on the quality and the user –experience the content delivers just to make fill it with keywords on purpose.
The reality on the other hand is that user-experience is one of the biggest ranking factors for any search engine directly or indirectly. For example, let’s say with some magic you’ve brought your website on the 1st position in the search results even when the content isn’t up to the mark. Your website reached the top but it won’t stay there for long.
Google see patterns based on the bounce rate, so if visitors went to your website and immediately bounced back because the content couldn’t serve them right, you’ll lose your rankings soon.
Thus the content quality and ensuring the overall user-experience is on priority and the only way your website can sustain its rankings for a longer period.
SEO is a one time-activity
Digital marketing itself is an ongoing process and many of the fields within it are to be continuously rolled out. The concept is simple and similar to old marketing concepts. If you market your product/service your business will grow rapidly, if you don’t it won’t grow that rapid.
Many marketers into search engine optimization believe that unlike paid media where you have to continuously run campaigns and pour money, SEO is a one-time activity. The reason for this is because SEO takes a little longer to show results so when a website ranks it’s believed that it’ll sustain it for a longer time as well. Thus once achieved the top results, SEOs won’t bother to keep a track again.
The reality is different and not that simple for SEO campaigns. The hard part for any SEO campaign is not to achieve the rankings, but is to sustain them. Each of your competitors is also making marketing & SEO efforts continuously. Thus if you stop the process after a one time activity your competitors would out rank and get all your traffic. Thus it’s important to keep the SEO activity alive even if the pace isn’t so aggressive.
Only aim for 1st position on SERPs
As we know every SEO campaign aims to rank the respective website on the top of first page. And more specifically the goal is always the first position. And it makes sense as one should not settle for less than 1st position on the search results. The higher you rank, the more traffic you have.
Many SEOs believe that the first position is always getting the most traffic while those below it are getting nothing in comparison. So for any keyword they target or any topic they go after, they won’t appreciate any position achieved below 1st.
It’s true that many studies have found that on average for any query 35% of clicks are acquired by the 1st position results. However it as a whole is a very subjective topic. It really depends on the keyword’s volume and more importantly its search intent. Generally speaking it’d never be the case that you rank on 3rd or 4th position and yet don’t get any relevant traffic.
Thus a better target would be the first page for your query or first 4-5 results position. However this doesn’t mean that your efforts shouldn’t aim for the 1st position. It just means the positions below that can also be impact for your business somehow.
Overall every SEO would need to understand that this field is always evolving. One Google algorithm update could affect all the “proven” SEO practices which we used to follow rigidly.
Thus it’s important to keep experimenting and find newer tactics to rank on the top of search results and gain consistent traffic.