Effective SEO strategies and tactics can be counterintuitive. This article is intended to dispel some of the more common misconceptions and, by doing so, guide brands toward adopting and implementing a more effective approach to SEO.
More Keywords Are Better
Many SEO practitioners will brainstorm as many relevant keywords as they can think of and include them within prominent web page locations including metadata, titles and alt tags. The theory is that by including more keywords on the page, the odds of ranking within the organic search results for some of those keywords increases. Unfortunately, this practice has the opposite effect.
Google sets aside a limited number of points for any and all keywords in various locations on a web page. The available points are then divided by the number of keywords. For example, Google may set aside 10 points for a title. If 10 keywords were included, each keyword would receive one point. Alternatively, if only one keyword were included, then that keyword would receive all 10 points. Therefore, strategically you can either target a short list of competitive keywords or a longer list of less competitive keywords.
Targeting too long of a list of keywords will cause the value assigned to each keyword to be too insignificant for rankings to be obtained.
More Pages Are Better
Many bloggers and content marketers subscribe to the belief that more articles and content automatically means more keyword rankings within the organic search results. Unfortunately, this theory is also not always true.
Search engines assign a quality score, based on links from third-party sites, which is generally referred to as link equity. Link equity is typically concentrated on the home page of a site since that is where the majority of third-party sites link. Link equity is then distributed through the site’s navigation. This process can be thought of as being similar to that of a cascading fountain, where link equity becomes more dispersed with each level.
Adding more pages diminishes the link equity available per page if more sites don’t link to it as a result. Therefore, care should be made to ensure that only high-quality content is added. Otherwise, more harm than good with regards to search visibility will be done.
Link Building No Longer Works
After Google’s Penguin update, many marketers threw in the towel in regards to link-building efforts. Many sites with bad links lost their search engine rankings. As a result, marketers seemed to view the entire practice of link-building as too risky. However, these updates were only intended to ignore paid and spammy links used solely to inflate search engine rankings.
It’s true that links from paid networks no longer have much of an impact on rankings. However, by and large, the majority of links don’t cause penalties but instead are ignored, no longer passing any value.
Many of the legacy link-building tactics — including submissions to high-quality directories, blogger outreach, link campaigning and article development — are still effective tactics, especially if they are conducted on an ongoing basis. Link-building is still a necessary evil for growing brands. You just need to be smart about your selection of links.
Everything Online Is Included In Google
Another common misconception is that everything online is automatically included in Google. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Essentially, what happens is that Google’s robots discover new sites and content by crawling links from one page to the next, then decide whether the page is worthy of being included in their index. Therefore, for a web page to be included in the Google Index, a link from another page that is already in the Google Index must exist.
Once Google discovers a web page, the quality requirements must be met to then be included in the index. Since storage capacity is not unlimited, duplicate, spammy and old content is often left out.
The range in SEO knowledge by self-proclaimed experts is staggering. And unfortunately, the SEO approaches leveraged by many may, in fact, be doing more harm than good for your business’ search engine visibility. It’s always recommended to work with a credible agency or resource with a proven track record of success. Otherwise, you may be pouring money down the drain.