Search engine optimization is a huge part of building a modern website. It’s also something that is terribly misunderstood. From improving page rank through simple tricks to stuffing sites full of keywords, there are many myths and misunderstandings about the topic. Below are some of the more common myths – and facts – about search engine optimization.
MYTH: It’s All About Keywords
FALSE. The truth is, keywords don’t play nearly as large a role in gaining page rank today as they did in the past. Are they still important? Of course! You should not, however, build a site around them any longer. These are helpful tools that will give some context to the algorithms that create search results, but they’re not what will keep users coming back to your site. Consider them a helpful addition, not the core of your new site optimization plan.
MYTH: You’ve Got to Build Links
TRUE. Link building is a core part of modern site optimization. While you certainly can’t just take links from anywhere, having links back from authoritative sites will actually help to increase your site’s ranking. Building the relationships that will get you these links takes time, but it’s ultimately an important part of your SEO experience. You can grow a site without links, but it’s much harder than doing so with them.
MYTH: High Bounce Rates Kill Rankings
FALSE. High bounce rates can definitely be a sign of a problem – but they don’t necessarily hurt how Google views your site. If you see that users are bouncing away from your site quickly, it’s time to take a hard look at what’s there. If you are lucky, the rate is because your site is easy to use. If not, you might have some work ahead of you.
MYTH: Anyone Can Do It
TRUE. It doesn’t take a specialized team to help boost your site’s rank. The reason that people work with professional firms is to offload labor. Optimization can be very labor intensive, especially if you are optimizing your site from the ground up. Many business owners just don’t have time to do all that work without an immediate return. You can, however, do it yourself – you just have to be prepared to put in extra hours.
MYTH: It is a One Time Project
FALSE. There’s an idea that this process is something you paid to have done once and that it will keep bringing you results in perpetuity. In truth, site optimization is an ongoing process that requires a great deal of oversight. Not only do Google’s algorithms tend to shift and change, but there are sometimes major overhauls that require completely changing the way that search engine optimization is viewed.
MYTH: Only Social Matters
FALSE. Social optimization is amazing and it can have a huge impact on your business. You do, however, need to keep the focus on your main page. These are two parts of the overall optimization puzzle that need to be managed separately, but they both do need to be managed. Leaving behind traditional site optimization is a great way to waste money on your website.
MYTH: Images are More Important Than Words
FALSE. While it’s true that using appropriate images is a great way to help boost your site’s rankings, you can’t give up on written text. The purpose of most websites is to provide users with information, so you’ll need to make sure that your text content is at least as good as the written content. Posting pictures might be easier, but it’s ultimately the words that will give your customers what they want.
MYTH: I Need a Good URL to Rank
(SORT OF) TRUE. If you can manage to get a good, readable URL you will be ahead of the game. It’s easier for users to remember and even search engines tend to like them better than random strings of text. It’s not a huge factor in your ranking, but it’s certainly something that you should keep track of.
MYTH: I Need to Pay Attention to Tags
TRUE. No, tags won’t really help to boost your rankings – but they will help your site to be more accurately cataloged by search engines. This is one of those factors of the optimization process that won’t necessarily have an immediate payoff, but it’s worthwhile nonetheless. Consider your investment in headers and meta-tags as just another organizational step.
MYTH: SEO is a Scam
FALSE: This is the big one. There’s an idea that the whole process is nothing more than a fad or a quick way to sell services. In truth, an optimized site will almost always rank higher than a site that hasn’t been optimized. SEO doesn’t always pay off immediately and there’s often ground to be gained, but it does work in the long-term.