It’s no secret that SEO has the potential to do a complete 180 in a matter of hours. Whenever someone changes an algorithm (*cough* Google *cough*), the entire SEO community goes wild. It’s hard to keep up. So, to help you get up to speed, here are the SEO myths and facts for 2019.
Here are a couple of myths that we’ve heard about SEO. Some used to be true but now aren’t, and some were never true but people still think they are.
Backlinks don’t matter
First on our list of SEO myths and facts is this gem. On the contrary, backlinks are probably one of the most important parts of SEO. However, what matters more than anything is the quality of these backlinks. You could have 1 great backlink from a reputable website and that would be worth more than 100 spammy links from various sites. We think this is where the confusion lies.
Think of backlinks like high school cliques in a cheesy film (bear with us, here…). If you were one of the ‘average’ people, then you wouldn’t want to be seen talking to an ‘unpopular’ person as this would damage your reputation. However, talking to one of the most ‘popular’ people would probably boost your own popularity.
This is how backlinks work. A link from a good site signals to search engines that your site is also good. A link from a bad site, however, could do quite the opposite. Generating high-quality backlinks takes a lot more time, energy and sometimes even investment, but it is well worth it. Just avoid the black hat techniques and you’ll be fine.
You can only rank for exact keyword matches
Google has changed a lot in terms of how it interprets user queries. Because of this, it now ranks pages for related and synonymous queries as opposed to only exact match phrases. This is great news because now we can optimise blogs and pages for humans, not just computers.
Site loading speeds don’t affect rankings
The main goal of a search engine is to give the user the information that they need as quickly as possible. If your website takes to long to load, then your page will be penalised for essentially wasting the user’s time. Even if it only took an extra second.
In fact, Google, in particular, takes this aspect of SEO very seriously. They have stated in the past that they consider site loading speed to be a major ranking factor, especially for mobile. And for good reason, too – Yoast have demonstrated that people experience about the same level of stress waiting for a mobile page to load as they do when solving a maths puzzle. Yikes.
Blog post structure doesn’t matter as long as it’s good content
As the old saying goes, content is king. But content for algorithms is a little different to content for humans. To optimise your content for humans, it needs to be easy to read. This means that you can’t have too many long sentences, big words, or chunky paragraphs. However, to optimise your content for algorithms, you need to get a little more technical.
For starters, did you know that headers can play a part in your rankings? Headers come in the form of tags for computers, such as H1, H2, H3, and so on. These tags have a hierarchy that corresponds with their number. For example, the H1 tag details the main topic, H2 tags then split the main topic, H3 tags split the H2 topics, and the whole thing continues on in a kind of pyramid fashion.
Of course, the only ones who know about the 100% true facts are the search engines themselves, but these are things that we’re 99% sure are true. They’ve been tried and tested by many businesses and researchers.
Blogs are great for SEO
Whenever you run a search, the top ranking pages are either blogs or product archives, not individual product pages. This tells us that search engines value a lot of content being on one page. However, if you only sell a handful of products, you won’t have much of a chance ranking your product archives against much larger companies – this is where blog posts come in.
You can write a great blog on pretty much anything. As long as you can provide the reader with some useful information, then your blog has a chance to rank highly. We recommend writing between 500 and 2,000 words per blog post to keep it informative yet snappy.
You should link to your own internal pages where relevant
Not only does linking to more of your own content make sense, but it’s also great for SEO. Interlinking relevant pages helps search engines to understand exactly what your page is about and rank it accordingly. It does this by assuming “topic clusters”; pages that are similar to each other in terms of what they relate to.
Topic clusters also help to keep the audience on your website for longer, as people can find the information that they need more easily. Search engines interpret these longer visits as your website providing value, and will therefore recommend your pages to others who search for the same topic.
You should be on social media
This one is very true since although simply having social media channels won’t boost your rankings, you can use social media to direct even more people towards your website. Think of social channels as gateways to specific content and pages that you choose to highlight.
In an experiment by Hootsuite, they found that using social media to promote your website pages could give you around a 12% higher search visibility on Google than if you didn’t use social media. That means that you could potentially score 12% higher in search results. Know what that means? You could also be getting 12% more traffic to your website, just by utilising social media.
Voice search is coming
Last on our list of SEO myths and facts is voice search. The days of having to type your query into a search engine are over. With the rise of voice assistants such as Siri, Alexa, Cortana and Google Assistant, there has never been a more important time to start optimising your web pages for voice search.
People speak very differently than they type and this will affect how you go about your SEO. For example, if you were looking to find a nice café near you, you would likely type “good cafes near me”. However, when talking, you might say it a little differently. You might instead say “Alexa, tell me where’s open now that serves good coffee”.
Notice that a), voice searches are longer and b), they are much more conversational and ask an actual question. This means that, when doing SEO for voice searches, you should try to include question phrases that people are likely to want an answer to. Think the ‘who’s, ‘why’s, ‘what’s, ‘when’s and ‘where’s.
Did you learn something from our SEO myths and facts for 2019?
SEO is always changing, which means that it is important to stay up to date with all the latest algorithm changes, SEO news and tech updates. If all that sounds like too much on top of your daily business operations, why not give us a call?
Our team of SEO consultants can help you to improve your organic rankings and make the most out of your website. We can also advise you on site layout, features and other things that contribute to the overall health of your site. Call us on 01244 347 545 or send us an email at [email protected] and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.