Paddy O’Neill, director of digital marketing agency Passion Digital, tells us of 8 common SEO misconceptions that businesses make on a daily basis.
- “If I have a flower delivery business, I can only write on my blog about flower delivery”
Wrong! You can write about anything that you think people will find interesting. The more valuable, thought-provoking and attention-grabbing your blog posts are, the more people are going to be drawn to your site. It helps with SEO if your content is relevant in some way. But you’re posts don’t have to be purely about your brand and industry.
- “It doesn’t matter what happens once the user is on the site”
Nope. Getting somebody to click onto your site is simply the start of the battle. You want to keep people engaged in your site for long enough for them to find what they are looking for. Your site needs to be user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing in order to keep people and ensure they convert. Beyond this, site engagement metrics have long since been acknowledged as a ranking factor.
- “Ranking for very generic terms (like “suits”, “flowers” or “shoes”) will have the biggest impact on the business”
A lot of people assume that trying to rank for broad terms with large search volume is automatically going to work better than choosing more niche keywords. However, targeting niche keywords offers a broader range of potential queries, more qualified users/leads and potentially less organic competition.
- “The more links the better”
Incorrect. Links from sites with a higher DA (domain authority) are going add more value than a link from a site with a low DA. Sites with a high DA include ‘Mashable’, who often find and link content that they feel is appropriate and interesting. Some people ‘spam’ links to their site on things like blog comments or forums, however modern search engines recognise when a site is trying to game the system. Focusing on creating stimulating content and gaining links from high DA sites organically is much more beneficial (and safer!).
- “It’s all about search engines”
It’s not. It’s about the user. A phrase often used within SEO is “Build for users, not for search engines”. You should building your SEO strategy by putting yourself in users’ shoes, rather than just what you think will work better for search rankings.
After all, it is the people who are doing the searching. The aim is to reach specific people and respond to their queries, so by understanding what those queries will be before they search for it, you will have a better chance of appealing to the right audience.
- “If I mention my keyword 34 times in the page, my page will rank higher”
This is actually just going to make it more distracting for visitors who are reading your site content if the same word keeps popping up unnaturally. Search engines use latent semantic indexing to understand the meaning behind words and phrases, so write for your users and trust that search engines will interpret your content correctly.
- “The bigger the brand, the better the rankings”
Google ranks search results by page, rather than domain; this way it is able to match your specific enquiry to the best suited page. Bigger sites don’t automatically go straight to the top of the search list. You should spend time figuring out exactly what the consumers want to know or find, and produce your content to match this as closely as possible.
- “The more I click on my website in the Search Results, the higher it’ll appear”
Some people believe that if they repeatedly click on their own link in a search result, it will automatically rise in the search results. Whilst the click-through rates may have a short-term effect on rankings, Google’s algorithms can identify manipulative clicking incredibly easily and this will do more harm than good.