Search engines rule the vastness of the internet, deploying cutting edge ‘smart’ algorithms to rank websites (and businesses), and punishing those who dare to ‘game’ the system. It may seem like a formidable challenge to keep up the pace with search engines and their schemes, but Search engine optimization (SEO) allows you to tame the beast.
But Google (and Bing) has the notorious habit of rolling out sneaky updates that render old school tactics useless, sometimes without giving a word to their users. You have to dig deep into search results to figure out if Google has updated its algorithms. And this isn’t easy to do if you’re working without content writing services.
So many SEO specialists, both beginners, and experts continue practicing phased out SEO tactics – wasting precious time and money. Worse still, some of these “old SEO tactics” carry strict penalties that could kill your websites’ ranking in minutes – and you won’t even know it.
Sometimes, sticking to your guns isn’t a good approach.
Here are 5 outdated SEO myths you have to know.
1. Keyword Density Helps with Page Ranking
It’s true that keywords matter tremendously.
But the number of times you sprinkle those keywords, not so much.
Back in the old days, everybody blindly followed 1% rule, i.e., for every 1000 words, you have to mention the target keyword 10 times. Even if it comes at the cost of quality.
The truth is, Google heavily rewarded this tactic and websites did astronomically well… until the algorithms wisened up. Google now recognizes this practice and actively penalizes it. For instance, if you mention a specific keyword an unusual number of times, Google will perceive your website as manipulative and not as a relevant resource. That could earn you a penalty without a warning.
So, as copywriters, we always stress using keywords as naturally as possible. There is no magic number this time.
The next time you hire content writing services, ask them about their approach to keyword density.
Hint: the answer is always to “plug keywords as naturally as possible”. Or not at all.
2. Links Are Useless
The one thing that is still nearly impossible to do at scale is link generation. High-quality backlinks are simply not easy to generate. They require genuine effort and active collaboration from the community. It’s one of the oldest SEO tactics that continues to a major ranking factor.
Google’s PageRank algorithm depends on links and link building to gauge your content’s popularity.
It is worth noting that this only applies to high-quality backlinks. Are you using bots to spam comments on WordPress websites (with a link back to your domain)? Don’t. That isn’t going to work.
Pro tip: Make sure to only hire SEO services after thoroughly vetting them. As a general rule, if someone is selling you backlinks en masse, run for the hills. They probably don’t know what they’re doing and most likely, will get your website penalized.
3. Content Has Been Phased Out
Content will always remain the dominant means of ranking on Google. Think of it this way, if your website doesn’t have content, your visitors will have to figure out the sales process on their own. You have to hold their hand through the sales process, and without content to guide them, your users likely won’t covert.
More importantly, content tells Google what your website is all about. Link, on the other hand, dictates how high to rank your website.
Yet some SEO experts have become disillusioned with content because it failed to ratchet up results before. This probably has something to do with content spinning, when you’re just regurgitating content without adding any value to the user. That is a quick way of earning Google’s wrath.
When designing a content plan, you have to dig deep into search trends, valuable keywords, and even keyword difficulty. Not everyone has the patience to spend several hours to design a content plan. Make sure your website adds value to the reader.
But in their efforts to create the ‘best content strategy ever’, most SEO experts fail to take into account their most crucial content critic: the human reader.
If the content isn’t good, the human reader will hit back on their browser to return to the search results page. And Google is good at picking this up (this is known as the Bounce Rate).
But working with experienced content writing services can get you back on the right track.
4. Only Numero Uno Matters
It’s true that the #1 organic position gets the most results, and that the number of clicks dramatically fall off from there.
But it would be naïve to discount the value positions 2, 3, 4, 5, and even the ones on page 2. If you look at search trends, the value of the #1 position is shrinking at consistent rates, primarily because Google is pushing in favor of paid ads and 0 click results.
There are many more ways of getting featured on search results, this includes being featured in the snippets section and leveraging local SEO.
The adage in investment applies here: don’t put all your eggs in one basket (specifically the #1 position).
5. You Must Submit Your Site to Google
Google has now become advanced enough to recognize your website in due time, without requiring you to manually submit your site through the Search Console. If your website is worth ranking, search engines will know.
That being said, it is still a good idea to submit your site URLs when you’ve updated your site and published new blogs.
If your website has been live for a couple of weeks and has at least one inbound link to it, and Google still hasn’t visited, you can submit easily submit it via the Google Search Console Fetch and Render.