Philip Westfall, July 13, 2017
Have you been falling for quick-fix myths, and finding your SEO and your business is suffering because of it? In most cases, SEO myths stem from ongoing changes within Search Engine Algorithms.
People learn something new, and then a few months (or years later) the algorithm changes. Worse still, that former best practice is no longer relevant.
The other myths come from so-called SEO "experts" who convince people of things that are simply not true to help their business or product. Don't get lost in a fog of misinformation.
Years ago, you would put all the keywords you were trying to rank for using the meta keywords tag, and back then (ahem, way back then) it was incredibly relevant.
It looked something like this:
<meta name=“keywords” content=“seo, seo best practices” />
Google soon ran into a pretty serious problem, though: Keyword Stuffing.
Companies were trying to rank their pages for every possible keyword variation under the sun, rather than focusing on specific topics, or quality content.
Some of these bold keyword stuffing entrepreneurs even included their competitors brand names, and were hijacking their keyword strategy!
So, with time, Google removed the keywords meta tag from their algorithm. Here is Matt Cutts from Google explaining why they don’t use the keywords meta tag in web ranking.
A lot of the SEO best practices take time. Keyword research, creating quality content, outreach and link building strategies are paramount when you're trying to get found online.
That being said, the one thing that is almost instantaneous is your rankings.
Let me explain:
You just finished a page (and applied all the on-and-off page advice at your disposal). Now, you want to know where you rank. The good news is that once your page gets crawled, your initialposition will be determined immediately.
If you have a large website, you might already be getting crawled several times each day. That means you might not have to do anything.
If you have properly done your internal linking, the crawlers will follow the links and come to your new page to rank it.
On the other hand, if you want to ensure Google sees your page, you can ask Google to crawl your URL via Google Search Console.
If you make major changes to a page and have it re-crawled, your rankings will change immediately!
Remember, this doesn't mean you'll jump to page 1 immediately - it depends entirely on the level of competition for the search query and the relevance of your page.
Your initial ranking will be much higher if the search query has low competition and your page has high relevancy. The more competitive the keyword, the harder is is to rank high out of the gates.
A common SEO myth is the idea that “more content / pages = better SEO." This is only true when the content is relevant and of high quality.
Creating a bunch of pages without a structured approach will do nothing for your SEO. You are better off to only have 10 pages on your website that are extremely well-optimized and ranking, than to have 1,000 pages that won’t show up on Google’s radar for any relevant keywords.
In most cases, combining related articles on a given topic will perform better than publishing them separately.
Beware of anyone promising you a first position on Google (especially for high volume/ high competition keywords). It's about as likely as being promised a first position on American Idol.
There are simply too many variables to make this sort of guarantee. Keep in mind that rankings change daily, algorithms get updated regularly, and there are always newcomers trying to take your spot.
It's like a wacky game of musical chairs.
And as with most things in life, when something sounds too good to be true, it’s probably fake. If you do find an enchanted or otherworldly SEO company, make sure to check out their refund policy if they don’t fulfill their guarantees.
Also, make sure they aren't using black-hat SEO tactics, as this can get your website penalized by Google. Trust me, you don’t want that to happen!
Although there are tools that can make SEO much easier, there is no such thing as a magical SEO plugin that can succeed in ranking your site automatically on its own. You need to put in the work.
Just as there is no magical pill that will get you in shape without any diet or exercise, there is no "easy" way out of the effort required to grow your SEO.
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