With Google constantly shifting and changing its algorithms, the world has seen the rise of many self-proclaimed gurus and mentors for SEO. There are a very few authoritative voices in the world that can speak with conviction about SEO. This has led to the creation of several myths and misconceptions about the SEO strategies or things-to-do or NOT do. Tricks and tips that used to work in the past do not all work anymore and with each update, more tricks of the past are being rooted out by Google.
There will be people out there in the market that will tell you that a certain trick/strategy has done wonders for them but, if you ask us, SEO is more than just search engine rankings, and there’s only one true strategy for SEO: Content. Content is the KING! It always has been, it always will be. Create quality, engaging content for your viewers along with some fixes here and there, and you should be getting results as desired.
Google updates its algorithms often and the latest update that was rolled out in the last week of July affected the health and wellness websites. However, it affected all the verticals on a larger scale. Another update that took place in July was marking all non-HTTPS websites as ‘non-secure’ in Google Chrome. For the changes to take place, the users will have to install the latest version of Google Chrome. Updates happen now and then, but the myths surrounding SEO stick around for long. In this article, we will debunk the myths for you.
1- Keyword density is crucial
Before 2011, including keywords in your content, title tags and meta-tags was a sure way to get your website ranked for that exact keyword. This brought up a debate about the keyword density in the content. It was argued that an ideal keyword density in a website should be 2-3% in order to get it ranked. Then comes the Panda update and then Hummingbird update. The SEO ‘gurus’ got into confusion about whether or not the keyword density holds importance anymore.
Before further debunking this myth, let’s briefly discuss relevance and authority. Relevance of a website is how accurately your website is going to address the users’ needs. Authority of a website is how trustworthy your website is overall. Keyword density doesn’t contribute to authority but somehow to the relevance, but that changed with the Hummingbird update. In this update, Google stopped looking for exact match phrases or keywords but the intent of the search. If a user searches ‘best steak house’, Google shows results that demonstrate the qualities a steakhouse should possess. A whopping 18% of the top ranked website or pages did not even have the keyword in the body of the content.
Do keywords still matter? Yes.
Is keyword density still crucial? No.
Keyword research still matters, though.
Keyword placement in the content is important as Google crawls the pages that have a keyword placed higher in the content. Language and quality of the content is crucial as exact match terms are not as crucial but the overall content is. You can ignore the keyword density in your SEO strategy but that doesn’t mean that you should ignore the keyword as well.
2- Keyword Targeting is Irrelevant
Keyword targeting is using keywords relevant to your product or service in website and ad copy to achieve a top listing in the search engines. Proper keyword research is vital to determine which keywords your business should be targeting. As discussed previously, many people panicked post Hummingbird release and started debating the need for keyword targeting altogether. We talked about 18% of the websites not including the exact match search term but the other 82% did, hence making the keyword density less important, but the keyword targeting is and always will be important.
Google is getting better at search results but it doesn’t mean that keyword targeting is obsolete. With the Hummingbird update, the language on the site has become absolutely vital but one has to take note that the original text query entered by a user is always the biggest clue to Google about what a user wants to find out.
3- Links Don’t Matter Anymore
Link building is the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own. Search engines crawl the web for the webpages and index them, then they take a look at the content quality on the pages as well as the links pointing towards the site from external websites. The quality of the websites where the external link is coming from is extremely important, too. This helps your website rank as the referral domains are of high authority. In-bound links still play a huge role in determining the PA and DA of the site. Page Authority and Domain Authority are important factors to be considered in the SEO of a site.
Link building also helps you establish brand authority, brand outreach and exposure to other industry leaders. A good quality link placed on a blog/website actually helps in developing a quality website. Some brands use publication logos on their website as an achievement. However, contrary to the past ranking practices, the quality of the links is now more important than the quantity of the links. This has played a huge part in the rise of guest blogging, influencer marketing and publications. For more link building techniques specifically for this year, check out this blog by us.
4- Social Media Presence Boosts Your Ranking
Social media strategy is a huge and vital part of any digital campaign across the world. However, it is a myth that posting your site links on social media helps increase the ranking. The reason being that there are millions of out-bound links from the social media websites including Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. The ‘link juice’ of these websites is practically close to zero. Hence, they do not provide any significant impact in the ranking of the website.
However social media is a vital tool for generating website traffic these days, and website traffic surely helps increase the rankings of the website. If your content is being shared by users on social media, it is highly likely that a large number of visitors would visit your website through these social media shares. The more the visibility of the content, the better its ranking would be. Google analyzes the fact that a huge number of people are engaging with the content in a positive way (spending adequate time on the site), which implies that the content quality is high. However, the social signals are not a huge ranking factor in the SEO but do play a very limited role.
5- Google Penalizes Duplicate Content
Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match each other in content or are noticeably similar. Mostly, this is not deceptive in origin. A recent study by Raven Tool suggested that the total amount of duplicate content on the webpages is about 29%. Let’s bust some myths surrounding duplicated content:
- Google does not penalize your website for duplicate content but instead filters it.
- Google does not show the same content more than once in the search result because the users do not want to see the same content over and over again
- The best URL in the duplicated content cluster is displayed in the SERP.
- The Duplicate content does not get penalized unless Google determines that its intent is to manipulate the search results.
- Google usually tries to determine the original source of the content and show it in its search results.
You can read more about Google’s policies on duplicate content here:
Now having debunked these myths successfully let’s talk about the greatest SEO strategy that is in place: Content is really the king. People who try to debunk the myth that content is not the king and content alone doesn’t help in creating the website do not understand the concept behind ‘content is the king’.
The quality of the content is important. The problem solving and the value of the content adds to the experience of the user visiting your page and hence, it is important. Getting external links pointing towards your website is extremely vital, too, but if the quality of the content is bad on those websites, you will seldom get referral visits. Even the quality of the content posted on the guest blogs and influencer blogs is important. Users are looking for value in the content you post, and re-writing the same things over and over again by spinning the words is not going to help at all.