Updated October 2020 with two new bonus myths!
There are myths around most topics of conversation, without them MythBusters may have struggled to have so much content. It’s almost certain you’ll have encountered many myths in your life, and some you may not even know for certain whether they are in fact, true or not. It could be the classic ‘cutting an earthworm in half makes two earthworms’ or ‘we only use 10% of our brains’ or believing Walt Disney was cryogenically frozen – these are all myths we’ve likely heard about, or even believed at some point in our lives.
Believing some of them doesn’t cause us an any negative implications, even if it might harm a few worms. But some myths do need debunking, especially when they may affect the performance of your business. Examples of these myths people can all too quickly fall for in business often surround SEO.
SEO is one of the most important digital marketing activities you can do for your business. Over 70% of links on Google are Organic, which means competition is high. But with over 75% of people clicking on organic search links and not ads, having a great SEO strategy really matters.
So, let’s bust these rumours and set some things straight so you can get on top of your SEO game.
1. Building a website that is SEO optimised will make you rank higher without doing any further work
Nope. SEO is not a one-time thing. A website that is SEO-friendly or technically optimised will help you gain favour with Google, but SEO activities need to be carried out continually to maintain search engine rankings. This is like filling a car with petrol once and expecting it to keep going forever…. not going to happen!
What actually happens if you start neglecting your SEO is that your competitors may start to overtake you if they consistently work on their SEO. Additionally, you may start losing backlinks due to ‘link rot’ (link rot can happen when webpages are migrated, expire, or taken down). And also, your content can lose freshness and therefore become irrelevant or be superseded by something better
Of course, there are always exceptions and you may have heard of the rare instances where a site can be left for years and still maintain consistent traffic – but it’s rare, and not worth risking.
2. Google Featured Snippets are the holy grail
Plenty of people go after the Featured Snippets – they’re right at the top of the search results page, after all. But that doesn’t mean they’re more important than the rest of the results.
Sure, featured snippets could mean people aren’t scrolling or searching for further articles written by businesses below the top position.
3. Social Media has no effect on SEO and keyword rankings
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and other social media channels do not have a direct link to Google. Because of this, having the most followers and likes (however popular you are) will not be beneficial to your SEO efforts. Google doesn’t care if you’re popular on social media period. However, this doesn’t mean that you should give up with your social platforms, they still have their place in your digital strategy.
How do people find your website, blogs and articles? Through brand awareness…and in today’s market, brand awareness is achieved online. What is the best way to reach hundreds of people at once? Tweet, share and publish your blog to your hundreds of followers. They click on your interesting title, read your advice, then click through to your website! This is where Google will register your activity and raise your profile as a thought leader. So, keep the ball rolling on your social channels – remember SEO is a long game, you won’t see results over night.
Plus, some searches will show a twitter results section – this is usually based on usernames rather than general tweets, but it means having a presence is still helpful.
4. You need to rank first
Everyone wants to rank first. It’s a common assumption that the number one result will get the most traffic – and it’s true that the top position gets the most traffic most of the time. But many, many buy online because they have had a good experience online, not because it is the first thing they see. If your website is slow, old or clunky no one will buy from you no matter what position you are in!
Rather, your focus should be on user experience. To gain more traffic you should focus on covering your topic in more depth, building more backlinks to boost page-level authority and nail your search intent. When people are searching for what you’re trying to rank for, make sure what you’re showing them fulfils their search intent. If someone searched ‘best cake recipe’ they won’t be interested in a page that sells the best cake near them. Google knows what users want to see when they search, so you should focus on making sure your content aligns with the search queries.
5. Blogging is dead
Blogging isn’t dead – it’s simply evolved. That only makes sense when you consider the concept of blogging. It started out more for personal, online journals – sources of information and advice for every subject under the sun. From food, travel, tech and parenting, there were prominent blogs dedicated to everything you may experience in life. But then, marketers and businesses started to notice, and blogging for business started to become a recognised and effective digital marketing technique. That was the rise of blogging, and we’re not about to experience the fall…
Sure, the internet of blogs is extremely saturated, but that doesn’t mean blogging doesn’t add value to your business. In order for Google to rank, sift and display relevant content, the criteria for which you must reach to benefit from your blogging activities has shifted. You can’t just splurge words out and hope, fingers crossed, that you might make it to the top of a SERP for a particular search query.
Now, you need to use pillar content and topic clusters. This requires a great deal of planning, strategy and knowledge – but in order to get to the top of your game, pillar content should play a large part in your content strategy.
Of course, if you don’t want to do that right now, a good rule to stick to with blogging is trying to answer questions people will ask. Then, using these topics focus on creating high quality original, authentic content that will speak to your buyers’ pain points.
6. You always have to keep it fresh
You may be aware of the strategy of refreshing content to optimise your SEO. And it’s an important strategy – this post is a freshened up post from our archives, after all.
But that doesn’t mean it’s always the best approach. So, why and when is refreshing content beneficial? If you Google ‘how to make fire’, the top result was posted in 2008. But if you Google ‘how to create a good PPC campaign’ all the results are from 2019 and 2020. Why? Because time can change what constitutes an effective PPC campaign, whereas the basic technique for making fire hasn’t changed for hundreds of thousands of years.
Freshness is a query-dependent ranking factor, so Google will determine whether freshness will impact certain content’s quality. So, there would be no point in you continuously refreshing an article on how to make fire, but when your content is about something that is constantly evolving, make sure your content is getting those regular face lifts.
7. SEO is dead
It can be difficult to visualise huge numbers. But google sees roughly 2 trillion searches each year. For a little perspective, if we talk in seconds, 1 million seconds is 11 days. 1 billion seconds is almost 32 years. 1 trillion seconds is 31,709 years. 2 trillion searches is an incomprehensible volume, and we can’t see that number dropping any time soon. There are also around 1 billion blogs on the internet, so it comes as no surprise that you can pretty much find content about anything on the internet.
So, it only makes sense that people go to the internet to find out whatever it is that they are after, and that’s where you need to be to be found – to an extent. However, it’s being reported that over half of Google’s searches result in zero clicks thanks to images, featured snippets, and other Google-owned properties.
SEO will never be dead, not for as long as the internet exists, but diversifying and refining SEO techniques will be the key to getting to customers in a world where now, they don’t even need to leave their search engine result page to get the information they’re looking for.
The SEO game is complicated and often changing, with algorithm updates and new practices. If you need any help tackling your SEO in Bristol, get in contact with us for a free consultation.