Mention search engine optimisation, or SEO, to a room full of business people and you’ll see a variety of reactions, many of which will involve puzzled faces, grimacing or even a bolt for the nearest exit. It is understandable, given the vast amount of conflicting and confusing information which exists relating to SEO.
Sadly, there are some elements of this information which are likely to do more harm than good if applied to a website’s SEO strategy, and yet they appear time and time again on SEO forums, discussion groups and social media posts. Some of this information may seem to make sense at first but a look at the guidelines given out by the main search engines will show they are myths.
Myth #1: You Must Use A Dot Com Extension For Your Domain Name
Whilst dot com is desirable, according to Google it is not the case that they prefer dot com domains and rank them much higher than other extensions such as dot net or dot org. It is true that in the very beginning Google could only recognise dot coms but those days are long gone.
If you are a local company, seeking to attract local customers then it is more beneficial to select a domain with your country code such as ‘.au’ in Australia, or ‘.co.uk’ in the United Kingdom.
Myth #2: Keyword Research Is No Longer Useful
Many business owners, and sadly, SEO agencies too, seem to think that ‘they know best’ when it comes to what potential customers will search for. As a result, they optimise their websites and backlinks based on this presumption and then wonder why there has been no uplift in visitor traffic.
Keyword research is vital as it gathers information from search engines and competitors using actual searches, and can often reveal keywords that hadn’t even been thought of previously.
Myth #3: Social Media Is Child’s Play
It beggars belief that some business owners think that social media is merely something teenagers use to send each other selfies or rude jokes. The truth is worldwide 2 billion people use social media and that includes the entire age range of the population.
Social media is essential for any business, whether that is for branding, SEO purposes or paid advertising. The ability to target specific demographics using certain social media platforms makes it one of the most effective marketing tools available.
Myth #4: It’s About Who Uses A Keyword The Most
To hear some marketers continue to advise that content should be stuffed full of keywords is astounding, but sadly it still happens. The search engines have long been clear that, rather than reward the practice of stuffing a piece of content with keywords, they will penalise it. Despite this, you will often come across blog posts, articles and home pages which read terribly because every other word is a keyword or keyword phrase.
The search engines are so sophisticated nowadays, that they can identify whether a piece of content makes sense to its readers, and it is this content which gets a higher ranking.