In order to optimize your blog for the search engines, it’s important to avoid certain common mistakes. SEO myths have several causes. In some cases, you might be using outdated techniques. Problems also arise when website owners follow bad advice they received from someone who was ill informed. The following are five hidden SEO myths that could be harming your blog.
1. SEO is a Set-and-Forget Process
One of the most devastating SEO myths is the belief that optimizing your website is something you only have to do once. People sometimes get this notion after being misled by unscrupulous services who imply that, for a one-time fee, they can provide great rankings. If you see initial results from SEO efforts, you may be lulled into a sense of false security.
The fact is, search engine optimization must be performed on a regular basis to be effective. Otherwise, any gains you enjoyed will diminish over time as your competition catches up and surpasses you. Aside from competition, there’s also the fact that search engine algorithms are constantly changing. For these reasons, you have to keep up with SEO on a regular basis. This includes publishing new content, getting quality links, adapting to Google’s latest rules and responding to your competitors’ challenges.
2. Backlinks Are No Longer Important
This is a myth that periodically resurfaces, usually whenever Google announces a new update. When you hear stories about sites being penalized for poor quality links, you might conclude that all links are harmful. You may also hear theories that Google no longer considers backlinks when ranking sites. None of these ideas are valid. If you visit any top-ranking websites in any industry, you’ll find that they have lots of valuable backlinks. You can verify this by using SEO software that lets you track links.
“In my opinion, we will continue to see links in Google’s rankings systems for at least the next five and probably the next ten years.”
Rand Fishkin, Moz.com
It’s true that Google does its best to discourage people from gaming the system with poor quality links. At the same time, links from respected and relevant sites remain an important part of ranking your website. The truth is that you now have to be more careful than before about the kind of backlinks you get. Links, however, are still a vital part of SEO.
3. You Need to Rank For the Most Competitive Keywords
Many website owners waste their time and money trying to rank for extremely competitive keywords when they’d be much better off focusing on more targeted long tail keywords. Not only is it extremely difficult to rank for top keywords, these terms are often too broad to be very helpful.
For example, suppose you have a Honda car dealership in Houston, Texas. Trying to rank for the term “car” would be almost impossible and not even very helpful, as only a small percentage of people searching for that word would be potential customers. On the other hand, ranking for a long tail term such as “Honda dealership in Houston” would be both easier and more profitable. To find the best keywords for your business and industry, you should do a great deal of keyword research.
4. Web Hosting Has Nothing to do With SEO
Because so many web hosting companies advertise heavily on the Internet, it’s easy to believe that hosting doesn’t really matter that much. The fact is, it can make a big difference when it comes to SEO. Web hosts differ in several important areas. If your website is frequently offline due to technical problems with your host, this can harm your rankings. That’s why it’s important to choose a web host with uptime that’s close to 100 percent.
Another issue that affects SEO is page-loading speed. If pages take too long to load, your site may be penalized and thus rank lower in the search results. This will also discourage visitors from spending time on your site. Many factors contribute to page loading speed, including images, videos, plugins and the use of Flash. One element, however, is the type of technology used by your web host. Larger and more experienced web hosts generally provide better service.
If you have a large site or get lots of traffic, you should consider upgrading to VPS or dedicated hosting, which will provide better page loading times. Finally, some web hosts include SEO tools when you sign up. These are all factors to research when you choose web hosting.
5. Guest Blogging No Longer Works
Along with the myth that backlinks are no longer relevant is the idea that guest blogging is dead. It’s understandable that people believe this, as Google spokesperson Matt Cutts did infamously declare that you should stop trying to use guest blogging for SEO. He said this in order to discourage people from posting low-quality content in order to get links. Guest blogging simply means posting your content on a site that you don’t own. In a sense, every large website that posts content from multiple authors uses guest blogging. It can still be a valuable way to get traffic and links.
When guest blogging, however, you do have to be careful about where your content appears. If your content appears on low quality or spammy sites, you won’t get any SEO benefits and may be penalized. This doesn’t have anything to do with guest blogging per se. It’s just a matter of following Google’s policies. Publishing a post on a high-quality site is just as effective as ever. Conversely, there’s nothing wrong with accepting valuable content from others on your own site.
These are some of the most common and potentially harmful myths that can affect your blog’s SEO. When studying SEO tactics, it’s important not to get lured in by half-truths. As we’ve seen, both backlinks and guest blogging can be harmful if applied the wrong way. However, they can also be beneficial when applied intelligently. SEO is a complex and constantly evolving field. If you want your blog to rank well in the search engines, it’s essential to keep up with the latest trends in this field.