Search engine optimization. The world has been raving non-stop about the importance of SEO, and it seems that all that modern brands can think about nowadays is how to implement the best SEO practices, how well they rank, and how the next Google update is going to affect their standing in the competitive market. For better or worse, SEO really is that important, and it might very well be the key to your long-term success in the field.
But that doesn’t mean that SEO is an exact science, or that marketers always know exactly how to position a website at the top of the SERPs. Rather, successful SEO is a product of trial and error, a product that leaves plenty of room for common myths and mistakes to be born in the minds of eager marketers and business owners. Let’s debunk some of these myths and help you stick with the tried-and-tested methods that will make 2019 your most successful year to date.
SEO MYTH 1: You need to earn links, not build them
In recent years, there has been a lot of talk about black-hat link building, and white-hat link building. The former using one-off and low-quality methods to disseminate links across the Web in an attempt to trick the algorithm and rank the site higher. Needless to say, this is a bad way to build your site’s reputation, and it will backfire eventually.
But when it comes to white-hat linkbuilding, or the process of building links organically, there has been a lot of talk on the importance of earning links rather than building them. The truth is, you cannot wait around to earn a link solely on the foundation of stellar content – you need to build your links strategically, and aggressively. After all, why should an authority website grant you a link to your website and not some other amazing brand or individual?
To score quality links, you will need to:
- Create all-around amazing, well-optimized content.
- Do your research and find bloggers that cater to your audience. Use an online tool to make the search easier.
- Reach out to prominent bloggers and let your desire for a link leading back to your website be known. You will still need to “earn” the link, but you will have a higher chance of success if there is something in it for the blogger as well.
- Offer something in return, such a link to their website on your own blog page, a one-off payment (also known as a sponsored link), or something equally valuable.
SEO MYTH 2: Social media has nothing to do with SEO
Social media does have a big role to play in shaping your standing on Google. Although not directly, social media signals can influence your rankings through proper indexing of social media pages, higher engagement on specific platforms, and the overall shareability of your content. The more people share your content, the more they’re disseminating links that lead back to your posts, in turn telling Google that there must be something of true value and relevance hidden in your website’s content.
Not only can social media help you generate buzz around your content, but it can also help you connect with influencers and generate link building prospects. Social media outreach is a valuable strategy that even SEO agencies are using to find and attract SEO clients, so it’s definitely a valuable tool if you want to reach influential individuals and websites in your niche.
SEO MYTH 3: Your content should be entirely unique
One of the pervasive myths that have been propagated all across the digital realm since the dawn of SEO itself, is the dangers of content duplication. Yes, duplicate content is bad, and you should strive to create relatively unique pieces on a regular basis, but not for the reasons you’ve been led to believe. You see, Google’s algorithm, unlike many marketers, understands that there is a finite number of iterations a piece of content can have and that some content is even universal.
The algorithm doesn’t penalize websites that duplicate content, but rather it selects the best pieces depending on a number of SEO factors, and pushes them above the rest in order to generate the best possible results for the searcher. This means that when you duplicate a piece of content, you’re not penalized so much as you’re giving way for more informative content to rise above you in the SERPs. Use this information to generate quality content across the board, and don’t worry too much if some of it resembles content found on other websites.
SEO MYTH 4: You should focus on ranking for broad terms
Keyword research and implementation have always been the main point of on-page SEO, along with a number of other vital factors. And rightfully so, as there needs to be a way for the algorithm to index your pages properly according to the search terms that are relevant for your customers, and your industry and specific niche. However, keyword research and implementation is a delicate process.
In the competitive online world, marketers understand that keywords are tools you need to use wisely to maximize your site’s credibility in Google’s eyes. Particularly, they understand the importance of local SEO and specificity. It’s not just about keyword density or ranking for broad industry terms, rather it’s about dominating the searches with a mix of general, location, and niche keywords. Use the same approach to take your keyword game to the next level.
SEO MYTH 5: Videos and images are not that relevant
Videos and images absolutely are relevant in the SEO world, and while they might not propel your brand up the SERP ladder all on their own, they will still play a vital role in your positioning. They achieve this by impacting regular search results, but more importantly, image and video searches specifically. You can optimize you videos and images with the appropriate keywords, tags, and alt text to give the algorithm additional information for faster indexing and imbue your content with relevance.
Search engine optimization is the name of the digital marketing game, but that doesn’t mean that you should believe in every myth of ghost story floating on the web. Instead, be sure to leave these common myths behind once and for all in order to make 2019 the most successful year for your brand.