The SEO industry has matured over the years. With internet technology evolving with the surge of mobile devices and Google getting to grips with web spam, here we highlight some of the myths surrounding search engine optimisation.
Meta Tags Aren’t Important Anymore
When you do search on Google, you will see two pieces of information a meta title (around 60-70 characters long) and a meta description tag (160 characters long). These can be manipulated by code (or through a text editor if you use a CMS). Many people wrongly assume that with the deprecation of keywords as a metric for SEO, means you shouldn’t bother optimising these. This would be foolish advice. Think about the meta tags as an advertisement for your business. The title is the headline to capture a searches attention, whilst the meta description tag involves your USP and a good description can improve clickthroughs to the site.
Whilst we are on the topics of meta tags, the meta keywords tag is blatantly ignored by Google, don’t fill this in with your most important keywords, not only will you be wasting your time but you will be giving away valuable information to your competitors.
Keep Pages Under 1KB
One of the myths I hear time and time again is surrounding page size limits. There was a time that you would want to keep your page sizes below 1KB or Google may have struggled to crawl your site properly. With the birth of mobile search and faster broadband speeds, may visitors can download pictures and content in seconds. In fact, instead of concentrating on page size, a better metric is page speed. It is recommended that your site loads in 2-3 seconds.
Make Sure Your Keywords Appear On Every Page
This has been one of the biggest changes I have seen over the last year. Pages fighting over the same keyword. Back before Google Penguin, you could basically optimise a site with keywords and then throw links at that page to get it linking and to get it authority. These days, link juice isn’t as easy to manipulate and if you have a blog post, a service/product page, fighting for the same keywords, you will find your rankings bouncing around all over the place, as Google struggles which page best serves the query a searcher is entering. Either rel=canonical or redirect other pages to the page Google should be indexing, give the page stronger signals (using internal linking and optimising the page efficiently) and reducing the signal of other pages, should do the trick. Be careful not to sabotage other pages that might be ranking though.
Keyword Rankings Are The Critical Metric To Measure
The truth is if you are a client or an SEO for that matter and you are using keywords as THE metric to measure against, you are going to find yourself massively disappointed. Rankings change hourly and then bring in personalised search, algorithm changes, and local search and it is impossible to see what a user sees. Instead, concentrate on no.1)Conversion = downloads, purchases, newsletter opt-in’s etc, no.2)Traffic to the site and then no.3)keywords. With Google no longing showing keyword data In Google Analytics, it is impossible to show exactly what keyword has produced a conversion, instead look at pages that people have visited to track progress.
Link Building Is Dead
This is my favourite along with SEO is dead. SEO like any industry advancement evolves! And this is what has happened. Instead of just building links in bulk, or trying the latest tactics for quick wins, earning links is the way to go through content or very niche link building. Instead of page rank or domain authority as a metric, we look at trust flow and citation flow, how relevant a link is and if Google didn’t exist would I build it?
As we approach the end of 2017, it will be interesting to see what practices will become outdated next year. As with any learning, you have to keep up to date or find yourself falling behind with the success of your optimisation efforts.