PHOTO: Eric Tompkins
10 SEO Myths for 2014
Are you stuck on the SEO hamster wheel? You try all the tried and true SEO tricks but still are not ranking. Here are 10 myths from search engines that can shed some light on your SEO strategy and hopefully offer some insight.
My site needs to Rank #1 to get noticed
It’s always nice to rank on top, but actual rankings fluctuate on a daily basis. Does the #1 spot actually get you more clicks and conversions than the # 2 or #3 spot? Depends on the key phrase sometimes. And for those trying to get off page 2 of the SERP and onto page 1, be careful. Often the click through rate (CTR) of the top spots on page 2 are far better than the CTRs on the lower positions on page one. If you rank well on page 2, you may actually perfrom better than on page one. Unless you can get above the fold, it might be better to stay put and own the top of the second page. All of this varies a great deal form site to site, page to page and even across individual phrases. Sometimes people research on one phrase and buy on another version, for example. You may also want to look at buying misspelled key phrases as well.
Title Tag’s are your Savior
Title tag’s are important, but even the most well-crafted title tag can’t elevate a site while overlooking everything else. This is a somewhat common error from bloggers as some of the most popular platforms don’t include things like meta descriptions in their base code. In most cases you can simply add a plugin to allow access to these areas. SEOs love these plugins as you can go meta-crazy. You should spend time getting the title right, but this alone won’t save you in the long run.
I only need to be popular on Social Media
Social Media takes time to build organically. Many think that they only need to be popular on Social Media and overlook SEO. In the past you could focus on a single SEO tactic and it would boost rankings. Today, it’s more like trying to make the world’s best hamburger. Your success depends on a complex mix of ingredients, freshness and timing. One ingredient alone won’t bring success, and yet without that one ingredient, you don’t have a good burger. You may also be tempted to cheat on social media by purchasing likes or followers. In the long run, this will only hurt you. These purchased followers are not organic and probably could care less about your product or website. So what are you gaining? Not much.
Rich Media and Videos are all I need
I won’t deny that people love videos. Videos are easy to produce and easy to consume. It’s pretty easy to make high quality videos today, and even if you your not an expert videographer, the expectations of people online have aligned more with the content rather than the production. But there are some drawbacks, embedding videos can negatively affect page load times, frustrating visitors and a video alone won’t help rankings. You’ve got to give the engines something to understand, as they’re not going to “watch” that 4 minute rant you posted. Posting transcripts with your video are a great way around this little issue. Videos are a great part of growing your content, but aren’t definitely are not a guarantee, despite what some others would have you believe. Use Rich Media and Videos to enhance your content, but not as your only SEO solution.
SEM and Buying Ads will Increase My SEO
Unfortunately, you can spend all the money in the world on ads, while you will probably build traffic, you may not build SEO. No amount of ad buying will get you organically ranked higher. The instant a search engine starts determining ranking based on ads bought is the instant it loses credibility and that will be the end for them.
Write good content and they will come
How do you know your content is great? Great content is content that’s deemed great by searchers and visitors to your site. All the standards in the world won’t help you if no one likes your writing style, voice or message. Grammar affects how people (readers) perceive you, so that can have a direct impact on engagement and rankings. But never delude yourself into thinking what you produced is excellent just because you put time into it. Watch what visitors engage with and seek to follow that same pattern. The “build it and they will come” strategy only works if the audience likes what your putting out there.
I need thousands of Backlinks
Thses days there is simply so much link spam that it’s tough to know where to turn. Buying links is a dead end, and it doesn’t matter how you do this sharing, encouraging, incentivizing, buying – it’s all the same. You want links to surprise you. You should never know in advance a link is coming, or where it’s coming from. If you do, that’s the wrong way to go about it. Links are part of the bigger picture. You want them, but you want them to be natural. If an engine sees you growing them naturally, you’re rewarded with rankings. If they see you growing them unnaturally, you’re rewarded with penalties. Buying links can actually damage your SEO if search engines think that you are using grey hat SEO techniques to work the system.
I need clean Markup to rank high
Well, actually no, clean markup is not a guarantee to search engine dominance. It will help the search engine gain a better understanding of your content, and allow you to use that content in unique ways in the SERPs, but installing the code doesn’t necessarily boost rankings.
I don’t need a to concentrate on usability
With the addition of more and more devices to the market, having a website and content that is user friendly is very important. Investing in SEO and not investing in usability is like only wearing one shoe and going for a run. Yeah, you’ll be OK, but wouldn’t it be a better experience with both shoes on? If a user visits your site and has a bad experience, do you think they will return in the future? Probably not.
SEO alone will get me the traffic I need
SEO is an ongoing process that needs to continuously tweaked and maintained. It is important to your site and can fuel growth and return for the long haul. But SEO is only one component of being successful as I have shown from the examples above. SEO, usability, and content are all necessary components and work together to build your user base.
Tag: 10 seo myths for 2014, seo, usability
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