Common Misconceptions About SEO
Video transcript+ Hellen Overland
There are a number of misconceptions about SEO, about what is is and how to do SEO, and one of the biggest misconceptions that we hear a lot about doing SEO is that all SEO is just spam, and that is just plain and simply not true! I think that maybe partly why SEO got that label attached to it is because of aggressive spamming SEO being done.
There are a lot of people out there who will create websites, set up domain names, put content on them, drive a whole bunch of links to them to get them ranking using all kinds of spammy techniques and then when their website stops ranking they don’t care, and they just move onto the next website. That is spam, but a good SEO strategy involves creating quality content, creating quality links, creating relevant links to your website and growing that social user base and rallying them to talk about your business. That is a good long-term SEO strategy. Part of the misconception is that because all SEO is spam either you can’t affect your ranking in Google or you have to do spammy things to compete; and that again, is a very common misconception.
There are people out there who will use spammy SEO in order to get their site ranking but those pages typically pop up in the rankings and then they just disappear, and when they disappear they just drop the website, create a new one and then move onto the next spammy SEO project. That is not the way to build a long-term business. You cant build a long term business based on short-term strategies! So if your competitor is out-ranking you using some of these spammy techniques then you can report it to Google, and definitely step up your efforts, but keep focusing on quality, on creating good content that people will actually like, on creating good relevant links, and that good social network because that is what is going to pay off in the long-term, and you want to build a long-term business not a short-term pump-and-dump SEO tactic. So build a long-term business! SEO is not spam. A lot of it has happened, but good SEO focuses on quality.
Another misconception that comes up is that meta-tags will help you rank, and a long time ago meta-tags would help you rank - you could simply put all kinds of keywords in your title tag and your meta-keywords tag and that would actually help you rank but that is not the case anymore. If you put keywords in your meta-tags that are tasteful, well-written and encourage and actual human beings to click on your website from the search results - thats good! But the meta-keywords tag has absolutely no effect on ranking. The meta-description tag (if you have heard about this one) also has absolutely zero effect on ranking, although the meta-descriptions tag is interesting because it can help encourage people to go from the search results into your site where they can become paying customers. So these meta-description, meta keywords, and meta-tags don’t have that much effect on your ranking.
This also brings us to keyword stuffing. This is a very common thing that I still see getting done even today, and not necessarily by spammy SEO companies, but you will see at the bottom of a webpage that people have put in all kinds of keywords. To return to our t-shirt example, people at the bottom of their t-shirts page will put all kinds of keywords like ‘buy t-shirts’, ‘buy t-shirts online’, ‘buy red t-shirts’, ‘buy t-shirts to Arizona’, ‘cheap t-shirts’, etc etc... and they will just put all of these keywords at the bottom of their page, and sometimes they will even go to the extent of hiding the text so that Google can see the keywords, but actual human visitors to their site can’t see them, and this is called keyword stuffing. It’s not particularly useful for ranking. If you are going to be targeting these keywords, write some good quality content about them, don’t just jam them into your page and stick a comment in between them and think you are done, because it’s just not enough and as time goes on its going to become even less and less effective.
One of the newer misconceptions that is coming about lately is that you don’t need to do social media for SEO rankings. Technically this is true for some industries (that you can get away with not doing social media to rank), however, as far as we as SEOs can measure it, social media is becoming a part of the ranking algorithm over time. So if you want to invest for the next three, five or ten years and make sure you continue ranking in the long-term then consider building up that social audience of fans, of people that like your products and rally them to talk about your products and to share links to your site with their friends and their social networks and invest for your rankings, not just for now, but for the future as well.