There are no Google ranking factors published, only vague Webmaster Guidelines, consequently opening the floodgates to speculations and half-truth that could jeopardize your search engine optimization (SEO).
Get rid of the following SEO myths and be properly prepared, considering that:
- A new webpage does not necessarily have to get registered at Google, as Google constantly crawls the web and indexes thousands of new URLs automatically every minute. Although there is in the Google Search Console the option to tell Google new URLs, this is not really necessary as long as the website is accessible to the public.
- The call for more links instead of more content is outdated, because good content delivers nowadays the foundation for SEO success, rather than links. Certainly, links are still valuable and an important ranking factor. However, good content has a number of advantages, such as the fact that high-quality content is a unique link-building method.
- Google announced that having a secure site is a good ranking factor two years ago, meaning that HTTPS websites have an advantage over standard HTTP pages. Although the measured effect has been poor so far, the idea that unsafe web standards have no impact on SEO is an outdated myth.
- A widespread notion implies that SEO’s only concern is to be ranked as high as possible in search results. Although that is certainly a big part of it, it's just half of the truth, because what’s the use of a top keyword, if the click-through rate isn’t right? That's why SEO always means to optimize the appearance of the page at Google. Since the user behavior plays by now a big role, SEOs must also ensure that the reader does not immediately leave the site.
- The times in which keywords were always to be repeated word by word, over and over again, are long gone. Meanwhile, Google can differentiate perfectly between words with the same meaning, plural and other forms. Google can even establish semantic connections better and better. In a nutshell it means for you that the days of keyword stuffing are over.
- Quantity has nothing to do with quality, is a wise thought that applies to SEO, too. Especially when it comes to the number of available pages of a website. Just because a site has more sub-pages, does not necessarily mean that it attracts more visitors via search engines, as these pages must first be filled meaningfully, so that they can have a positive effect on SEO.
- The widespread belief that SEO is something global, not local, is completely false, as in fact the local search is becoming increasingly important. Especially for small businesses, the local findability plays a supporting role. One reason is that Google no longer has just one index, but many local indices, that use the location of the searching user as a decisive criterion.
- Google can’t recognize an image the same way as text, therefore it is more important to give Google as much information about the image as possible. Of course that starts with a suitable name, but does not end with an optimized Alt- text. Meanwhile, the environment in which the image is embedded plays a role, too: The text next to, above, and below the image can also be used for indexing. Responding to the picture tells Google that it is more than just a decorative accessory.
- Google made mobile optimization an official ranking factor, that’s why mobile search can’t be looked at separately regarding SEO. Besides, according to Google, half of all searches are now made via mobile devices. So, even if you are found, a non-mobile optimized user experience can hurt your SEO efforts immensely.
- SEO neither can be considered only from the technical, nor from the strategic or content points of view, as good SEO requires expertise in all three fields. The reflex that pushes SEO to the IT department leads therefore to nowhere. If you want to run SEO in-house, you rather need a team, as SEO is nowadays not a task that can be done on the sideline.
By Daniela La Marca