14 July 2017
The practice of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is in constant evolution. When you’ve got your head down working on other campaigns, it can be difficult to keep track of the changes to SEO practices. Google is often working on fine-tuning its complex algorithms. Inspired by a great paper by Hubspot (you can find here) – busting some of the common SEO assumptions, let’s take a look at what works, what doesn’t and what you can ease up on – or stop doing – all together.
Myth #1 High volume links more important than content
This is the link building versus content generation argument. In the past, the value of a website’s was determined by the number and quality of links (or other websites) that linked to it. Now, it is much less about the volume of links – in fact, poor quality links, or those that can be perceived to be automated, bought or bogus actually result in a penalisation of your website in rankings. So it’s clear that focusing purely on organic, useful and high-quality content that is shareable is what Google uses to boost your rankings. Adding value is the key.
Truth: Invest in creating quality content NOT link building strategies
Myth #2 ‘SEO in 2017 is all about ranking’
We felt like this one was very important, as we commonly hear from clients, “I need to be ranking number one for this search term”. To quote the paper, “ranking is not the supreme end goal that it used to be”.
While there is no argument that being within the top rankings does result in click-throughs, studies suggest that the same trend is happening for companies found in the top 3 of subsequent pages.
Invest some time to optimise your pages (especially core pages) in the back end and make sure they have engaging descriptions. If you can manage to include additional information via rich text/snippets then all the better! These helpful descriptors coax users to bypass the top 3 options on a web page because they are cleverly written. When done really well they can be included as a top result or Featured Snippet.
# 3 Keywords must be an exact match
The goal in your digital communications is always to inform the reader. Moving away from the case of old, your keywords should be thought of in terms of phrasing rather than exact matches. Keyword stuffing – where a particular keyword sequence is repeated verbatim, or a number of keywords are contained in a piece of content is not going to help rankings. It is likely to have the opposite effect as Google has made moves to target bad content. The art of SEO is subtler than before. It does still take a tiered approach and the key is to make sure that your desired keyword phrases are in the body of the piece, but presented in an easy and natural way.
Truth: Focus on stating your key content for the page and piece up front and center of the article.
Myth #4 Mobile is not THAT important
The report found that “Websites that aren’t mobile optimised had an average of 5% decline in organic traffic.” Other research shows that it is more than this, so this myth is well and truly busted. Responsive design is an important part of user experience that Google finds particularly important. If you organisation hasn’t yet taken the steps required to cater for a quality mobile experience, then this needs to be addressed.
Truth: Mobile, having a mobile website and or responsive web design is VERY important.
Myth #5 Local SEO is in the past
The use of so many different geographical and business apps like Yelp or Maps have meant that local listings, reviews and ratings are more important than ever. It is vital that you attempt to rank in your local business area for keywords and phrases that are relevant to your business. This mode is so powerful that local businesses can completely overpower national and global businesses that are attempting to rank for a particular phrase.
Truth: Make sure you are paying attention to local SEO – that means listings, rankings and reviews too!
See also: SEO and inbound marketing
Need some help optimising your website? Contact Creative Agency MIH – we’d be happy to get you ‘Google Ready’.