Misconceptions about just anything are rife throughout the world. And in the world of SEO, misconceptions abound even within long time SEO practitioners. Google releases tweaks to their algorithm quite frequently and their accompanying hints (and hints being hints) often lead to a generous sprouting of misconceptions. When a misconception travel long enough, it gets adopted as a fact. Then there is that space between a falsity and truth. This is where uncertainty, confusion and side taking reside. Unfortunately many SEO practitioners reside within this space.
In this discussion, we would like to set the record straight with some of the more stubborn SEO related misconceptions. In fact we would take an emphatic approach by stating in no uncertain terms that:
Social Signals Impact SEO Ranking!
With the advent of social in the last ten years or so, social signals have become a hotly debated item in SEO work. It would therefore be a natural assumption that since a lot of traffic is driven from social sites to your website, and traffic being a signal on its own, SEO search rankings would also correspondingly go up.
But Google has gone on record to say that social signals do not directly impact your rank. Likes and comments are just vanity metrics and such contents are easily shared. Follower’s too can be bought. It is only when your contents or articles or brand have demonstrated relevance to a particular search query than you would be ranked. There are also instances where a piece of your content on social media sites have sufficient relevance to match a search query, only then Google only index it for a rank on the search results page .
SEO Is Dead!
The prediction that SEO would die is as old as “end of the world” predictions. The intense pace of changing technologies, the emergence of artificial intelligence and the intense pace of the search have thrown up all kinds of predictions not unlike “natural selection” theories.
SEO just cannot survive or persevere through this maze of evolution in the Internet right? But think about it. Google serves approximately six billion searches every day. They have an algorithm that is tremendously complex to determine contents that are worthy of a rank when a relevant search query is made. SEO is critically needed to optimise a website to meet the requirements of Google’s algorithm. In fact more so today because the race to rank has intensified and only websites that are SEO optimised to the full extent stand a chance to rank.
Duplicate Contents Affect Your Rank!
Google, in 2011, rolled out their Panda update which was, among other factors, meant to get rid of low quality contents that were clogging the search result pages (SERPS). That is a good thing because searchers do not want nor be inundated with poor contents. This update literally ended the SEO content gold rush and the content mills along with it.
Instead good quality with authentic authorship becomes the new gold standard. However, there would be situations where having duplicated contents in a website are inevitable. In such a case, when same information from a site is return, Google simply does not show them. Our advice is that you put in the effort to produce good quality contents that would not only sit well with Google, but also be of interest to your audience. If there have to be duplication here and there, don’t sweat it.
Content Is King!
Having copious contents in your website proves nothing and means nothing to Google if they are not, according to their machine learning algorithm, not speaking relevantly to a searcher’s search intent. It is a question of pointless voluminous contents versus good quality contents. Good content draws and retain attention which, more often than not, lead to a call to action or conversion. So content is king only when it is good.
Keyword Research Is Not Critical!
Our natural instincts is to try and get rankings for as many keywords as possible. That has spawned a truck load of so called SEO companies offering “no limit” keyword ranking packages. Keyword research is thus neglected or completely overlooked.
But consider this: If you do not have a good grasp of what search words your potential customers are actually using, then you would likely not show up in their search results. The focus today is about search intent. If you are using keywords thoughtlessly, Google would assure you of no ranking. By understanding your user’s search intents and patterns, you would be able to target them with longer tail keywords that are proven to target accurately and have high conversion rates. Longer tail keywords have lower competition so your chances of ranking are higher. Put in the effort on keyword research and the you would be rewarded.
Misconceptions would continue into the future just as fake news is undeniable part of the news landscape. And social media has certainly help in propagating these myths. We do see “fad” or “sage” advice emanating from a variety of SEO sources. We believe in keeping things simple. Understand what Google is trying to do to organise the gigantic amount of information they have at hand, the billions of searches they have to cater to and the determinations it makes to arrive at the best matching results. From there, build a good website with solid contents that are led by thoughtful keywords. See, you have satisfied Google and your audience at the same time.