Where do you stand when it comes to SEO?
For some, search engine optimisation is the key to getting a first page listing on search engines like Google: for others SEO is simply a sleight of hand, a kind of smoke and mirrors trick that promises much, yet delivers very little. So given such diverse views, where does the truth lie? Well, without wishing to hedge our bets we’d probably come down somewhere in the middle. The truth is whilst SEO has its place; if it’s used in isolation it won’t guarantee a first page listing.
It’s just a part, though an important one at that, of the marketing mix.
When used judiciously it can help to increase business success. But there’s also an awful lot of guff talked about it too. So should you believe all you read on the internet about search engine optimisation? Are all the tips and urban myths surrounding SEO really accurate? Well, consider some of these claims and make your own mind up.
The keyword is dead. That’s the claim many have made after Google introduced it latest algorithm tweak earlier this year. Critics have claimed that since Hummingbird added an ability to search using natural language queries, keywords have become redundant. Is this really the case? We don’t think so. The keyword isn’t dead: its focus has simply changed, that’s all. It still serves a purpose in SEO, but it needs to be used in a different way. With the advent of semantic search, the game changed. Businesses can no longer rely on using just one keyword or term and repeating it ad infinitum. Marketers now have to box more cleverly and use synonyms and related words in web content if they want to improve their search engine ranking.
Longer articles get greater recognition.
Do you have to write volumes to get Google’s attention? Do all your blogs have to weigh in at over 1,500 words? Some people will tell you they do. The thinking behind that is that longer content demonstrates a greater understanding and deeper knowledge off the subject, and marks you out as a thought-leader. The truth is, length doesn’t really matter. What matters is quality, whether you write 300 words or 3,000. Even Google references Twitter posts, and they’re only 140 characters long. Whatever content you write and share needs to be compelling and unique. If readers are moved to share what you’ve written, then Google will take note of it.
Alt Tags and Descriptions.
Duplicated content will always damage search engine ranking.
The claim is often made that if you duplicate content or have many URLs all pointing to the same page Google will punish you, and may even black list your website. Is that true? Well Google has certainly made a big deal of its fight to stamp out the type of duplicated content that is either plagiarised from other websites or clearly aimed at garnering the system, but it has certainly not said that all duplicated content is forbidden, In fact Google has gone on record and said:
“Duplicate content on a site is not grounds for action on that site unless it appears that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate search engine results.”
So the moral of the story appears to be; add new and fresh content wherever possible, but don’t fret if you’ve got some duplicate content on multiple web pages.
Page One ranking.
Once you’ve made it onto the first page of the search engine results you can kick back and relax, because your ranking is guaranteed thereafter. That’s a claim you’ll often read, but this is certainly not the case. Search engine results are dynamic and change all the time: rankings do the same. Google’s headline algorithm changes might be the ones that make the news, but there are also many others that go unheralded. In fact it’s estimated that Google can make between 500 – 600 algorithm changes each year. Search engine rankings are therefore always in flux, so no-one can afford to sit back and rest on their laurels. Making it to the top of the search engines rankings is hard work: staying there is even harder.