It’s a little late, but here is the final instalment in our series where we look to dispel 18 of the common myths surrounding search engine optimisation. I hope this information has been helpful.
13. Creating content equals SEO
In spite of everything that I and others say about content being a crucial part of search engine optimisation, having a great blog or vast amounts of content still doesn’t mean you have optimised your site. While good content will take you far, it can’t be relied upon solely to propel your site to the upper regions of Google.
Your site still needs to be written with a purpose. Who is your target market or audience? Which pages and posts are receiving the most traffic? What keywords are you targeting with each new post? Where is your traffic coming from? If you don’t know the answers to these questions you need to find them – or you may put a lot of effort in creating content only to have it miss the mark and add little or no value.
14. The most important on-page element is the H1 heading
Heading tags serve several purposes.
- They reference what font styling and size will be applied to a piece of content
- They provide a hierarchy to the structure of the page
- They indicate to search engines the importance of page content beneath the heading
Search engines check the H1 tag for relevancy and keyword consistency with the rest of the page. The H1 is an important tag and it should never be skipped on a page. But it is incorrect to label it as the most important on-page element. It’s just another element that needs to be present and used correctly. Search spiders pay attention to the words used in the h1 tag so it should contain a basic description of the page content, just as the page title tag does.
You are optimising your page for users first and foremost, which means that you want to tell them what your page is about by using a clear headline. From a user perspective, people will take note of the H1 heading and scan the page to read the other headings (H2-H6) to get a clear indication of what the page is about.
15. I can use microsites and my other domains to link back to my site and boost my ranking
Not likely. Google is very sophisticated and it’s easy to check who owns the domain. You are essentially just voting for yourself which doesn’t carry any influence.
If you’re thinking you’ll beat the system by changing the domain registration details…….possibly. Or you could put your efforts into legitimate ways to improve your website and the end-users experience. The latter is the long term, sustainable way to achieve success. Focus on making one site the very best it can be.
16. User experience and search engine optimisation are unrelated
[blockquote_right] Time spent on site is one of the factors that Google uses to determine whether a site fulfils user’s needs or not. That’s what SEO is all about. [/blockquote_right]
A well designed site with a logical page hierarchy will make it quick and easy to access information. You’ll keep visitors on your site longer, and allow search engine spiders to crawl your site more thoroughly.
No one should have to click through page after page to get to the single piece of information they need. Remove as many steps and barriers as possible so that users and spiders will love your site.
Don’t make your visitors search for what they need. Clear navigation and calls-to-action will convert visitors to customers. Time spent on site is one of the factors that Google uses to determine whether a site fulfils user’s needs or not. That’s what search engine optimisation is all about.
17. Putting my address on my contact page is all I need to do for local SEO
Doing this is a start. Search engines know where users are located and will usually favour results that are specific to that location. Make sure your business location is correctly and consistently used on your website, online directories and any website which lists your business details. Inconsistent details will confuse Google.
Search engines are very good at picking up this information from meta-tags, reviews and social media. You must have a Google + local page for your business. You can find out more about Google + Local here.
If you are using WordPress and run the Yoast SEO plugin (it’s what we use) there is a very good extension which adds schema.org markup and generates a Geo Sitemap to provide Google with additional information that assists with local search engine optimisation. If being found in your local area is important, you should consider using this.
18. SEO involves outsmarting search engines
No! However there is such a thing as black hat search engine optimisation which uses unethical techniques to get higher search rankings. Black hat SEO practices usually include one or more of the following characteristics:
- breaks search engine rules and regulations
- creates a poor user experience as a result of the SEO techniques used on the website
- presents content in a different visual or non-visual way to search engine spiders and than it does to users.
Good SEO is about building an informative website with unique and relevant content and encouraging the sharing of this content to drive organic links back to your site. Good SEO is about following the guidelines given by search engines and using best practice when designing the site and creating content. It’s about providing search engines with the information they need to determine the relevancy and importance of your site when users search for information.
Google won’t be happy if you test its intelligence by trying to outfox it. You may be penalised by Google or have your SEO strategies devalued, both of which will lead to a drop in search rankings.
By Aaron Enright