SEO myths your business should be aware of in 2017

Let’s face it, SEO is a difficult practice. It requires proficiency, patience and persistence and just when you think you’ve cracked it, Google goes and changes its algorithms again. There’s a lot of speculation in the SEO arena on the dos and don’ts of SEO practice, so we thought it would be useful to understand what’s what. Here are 6 SEO myths you should be aware of in 2017.

1. SEO doesn’t work

Myth: We’ve heard many a marketing person mistakenly comment that SEO is dead and that organic performance is largely due to off page signals such as social presence and online brand mentions.  Marketing teams have actively dropped SEO from their digital strategies with the assumption that it’s a waste of time and effort.

seo for business

Truth: SEO is definitely not dead, but it has changed significantly over the years and has expanded to encompass other online practices into its strategy. So, marketing teams are not wrong to be focusing on off page signals as SEO has evolved to encompass activity both onsite and offsite, however the fundamental technical elements of SEO still need to be followed. These include keyword targeting, NAP listing, image optimisation, content structure etc.

2. PPC doesn’t improve your SEO rankings

Myth: Running paid ads on Google has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on your organic performance. OK so this one is very much a debatable issue and understanding Adwords and its effect on SEO is a little unchartered, however in our experience we are not convinced that running PPC alongside SEO doesn’t give it that edge.

PPC for business

Truth: You’d be forgiven for thinking an agency might have an agenda to try and make you sign up to both SEO and PPC services to maximise their return, however the truth is, most debate seems to surround whether Google is the one trying to upsell paid services. That would certainly make sense.

Google’s response to this when asked at a recent digital garage seminar on SEO that we attended, was that PPC had no bearing on SEO performance. However, in a later talk about PPC, it was mentioned that businesses who had stopped their PPC campaigns saw a slight drop in their organic rankings. Make of that what you will.

3. You don’t need to put much effort into SEO

Myth: Covering the basic SEO practices when you launch your website is all you have to do to perform well. By this we mean keyword research, keyword mapping, optimisation of page titles, meta descriptions, ALT tag attributes, heading tag hierarchy etc.

Truth: These on-page technical elements are fundamental to get going. They ensure your site is going to be adequately crawled to then be ranked. Where you rank month on month is down to the consistent effort you go to, to bounce your brand around online and encourage visitors to visit and engage with your content.

Unfortunately, if you’re looking for an easy way out with SEO, then unless you’re in a highly uncompetitive market, you aren’t going to stand out online as a business. To compete with other businesses in your industry, you need to constantly work at it. This means creating new, engaging content regularly and sharing this via your social channels,

4. Link building is dead

Myth: Since the rollout of the Google Penguin algorithm in 2012, link building has become a black hat SEO practice.

linking building

Truth: You could be forgiven for assuming this. The penalties that were dished out by Google after Penguin first rolled out were so severe that some businesses were blacklisted from the SERPs for poor quality backlinks. This led to businesses being very wary of backlinks and avoiding them altogether. In fairness, buying bulk backlinks became risky and asking for reciprocal links from quality sources was deemed to be engineering these.

Backlinks are certainly not a dead practice, they are very much an important rank signal, but these backlinks need to be natural – from sources such as social media posts, guest blogs, content on other relevant sites and those from a highly trusted source. Ideally these need to actually send traffic and they must not be reciprocal (i.e. not mutually set up).

5. Keyword optimisation is no longer important

Myth: You no longer need to focus on optimising a page for a particular keyword because Google now looks at content in a different way.

Truth: This is partially true. Google now looks at content contextually to a user’s search query, looking at the topic semantically to identify several words in the query and synonyms of those words to match the best content online. So yes, your content must be descriptive and should not focus on stuffing one keyword into the content. Descriptive content naturally contains synonyms meaning you don’t need to engineer anything at all when writing. Just write naturally!

That said, you do need to focus on a particular keyword for that page to signal to Google and users what the main topic of that page is about. So, optimise the page for that keyword but focus on the subject surrounding its context rather than just the word.

6. Guest blogging is damaging

Myth: Guest blogging is a dead strategy that came about after Head of Google Webspam Matt Cutts’ deemed it a ‘spammy’ way of obtaining backlinks. His 2014 article titled “the decay and fall of guest blogging” scared many a marketing peep into dropping this from their strategy, worried that the practice was too engineered.

guest blogging

Truth: Guest blogging still has some benefits to your website, if executed correctly. The trick is to avoid doing it just for SEO purposes. Like link building and keyword optimisation, execute guest blogging as naturally as possible in a bid to increase exposure. Vet your bloggers to ensure you are only using high quality bloggers who aren’t likely to cost you a penalty. If in doubt about their credibility, don’t take the risk.

Are you looking to improve your SEO performance for your business? Talk to us on 01303 720 288. We are a Folkestone based digital marketing agency who help Kent businesses to improve their online visibility. Alternatively, you can use our FREE SEO audit tool.