At present, SEO is a strange and magical topic because not only is it difficult to master, it’s also difficult to understand the rules.
Have you noticed it yet..? That search engines are becoming more human. Because that’s what’s happening.
When we first came online, Google was a bit like a first-year high school student. Shy, forgiving and generally quite pleasant. Now, he’s your cocky, confident, good-looking final year grad-student that doesn’t have the time for you anymore. There’s more friction.
How you get on with this guy is your main concern, as SEO is still a big deal in digital marketing today. But it’s not straightforward. So let’s address the common myths and delusions. Because the tricks that worked before in SEO will most likely do the exact opposite now, and harm to your search rankings. Funny old world isn’t it?
We’ve always been told that guest blogging is a great way to build backlinks. But guest blogging now digs up more problems than solutions. As Google has gotten more self-aware (yes think of the killer robots in the Terminator movies) it has recognized how the Black Hats in the past have abused it to create spammy backlinks. In other words, it’s cutting down on poor quality traffic. To be fair, they have a point, because who wants poor quality traffic anyway. Not me. Next I hear you say “writing keyword heavy content?” Sorry, keyword stuffing is still a no-go. Again, you will get penalized just like you would have a few years ago.
Thankfully though, SEO is still the main driver to organic traffic. As far as the internet is set up the way it is today, that’ll never change. So here you’ll be spending time on a worthy cause providing you realize that SEO is just another piece of the online jigsaw.
Where does this leave us?
The first step is to do your homework, and that’s keyword Analysis. Use Google’s Keyword Planner and use those less competitive keywords. Specifically the ones that’ll give a high search volume that your direct competitors aren’t using. These are your main weapons in the war against the machines.
Next up is your Content – the first line of defense. Your on-page optimization needs the main attention, and it needs to be regular. Here I’m also talking about the content quality, titles and headings, URLs, image optimization, meta descriptions and keyword density. Basically your bread and butter SEO techniques, so pay huge attention to them. They will be the deciding factor in your post/website’s success, and if you’re not too sure about them do a quick search on each to get acquainted. Because you won’t get good ranking just by creating good content – that I’m afraid, is also a myth.
Then to the Off-Page stuff (links). What I said about guest blogging and backlinks still goes but it’s a little complicated. Yes, bad backlinks can harm your rankings, but good ones can drastically improve them. So get the right backlinks – speak to your peers and only let those guys be your referrers, and in turn report any Black Hat activity. Also, use Social Media to share. It’s at the midway point between both points mentioned earlier, but it’s a powerful traffic generator that you shouldn’t ignore. Google will take notice of the traffic that enter your site through Twitter, Facebook, and the likes, that’ll improve your rankings without you even having to break a sweat. That will never be a myth.
So there we have it: Google’s algorithms are growing up. They’re getting smarter, more knowledgeable and will punish you for your misgivings. But we too are growing up to understand what we can and can’t do – realizing what are the myths and delusions surrounding SEO – to battle this mature, and sometimes annoying algorithm changing robot.
We need to adapt, research, strategize and plan our way to the first page of Google. It’s not going to come overnight, but rest assured, Google, we are coming after you nevertheless. Because we are now aware of the biggest SEO myth of them all: You do NOT have to rank #1 to get all the traffic.