2017 was a great year for SEO, however many digital marketers are still using old tactics. Check out our top ten SEO myths that should be left behind in 2017.
#1 SSL certificates are not important
It is very likely that you have seen an SSL certificate whilst browsing online. In fact, our very own website uses a secure SSL certificate. This gives our website the secure padlock and ensures that any data sent is encrypted, which makes us more secure.
SSL certificates used to be a light ranking signal, however Google are stamping down on websites without SSL. The evidence can be seen in Googles browser, Chrome. Google Chrome will show websites that do not have a SSL certificate as potentially insecure. This is a sign to show that Google heavily favour websites that have a SSL installed. This has been hinted back since 2014, however it has become clear now. This means websites that are http:// as opposed to https:// are less likely to perform well in the search engines.
LetsEncrypt provide free SSL certificates, which means there is no excuse. Just make sure you 301 redirect any old URLs.
#2 Having lots of backlinks is better than having good content
An old SEO strategy would be to focus attention on backlinks, as it would help rank a page more than content did. In 2018, this is nothing but a myth. Backlinks are now less important than they once were and good quality content is favoured instead.
That being said, backlinks are not rendered completely useless, however they should not be at the forefront of your strategy in 2018. Great content will increase the likelihood that the content is shared, which means you can actually gain backlinks as well as being informative.
Focus attention on being super relevant and interesting when you post content
#3 The more backlinks, the better
Gone are the days when “digital marketers” could buy a bunch of backlinks from websites such as Fiverr and expect that website to perform well. Backlinks are now less important as they were before and bad backlinks could actually prevent your website from ranking well. Google identified that unnatural backlinks, such as those that are available to buy, are not an indication of your websites worth and therefore are deceptive. Google penalise any website using black hat or deceptive SEO methods . It is no longer the case of the more backlinks, the better. Instead focus on quality over quantity.
#4 The H1 tag is the key to good SEO
So many people still believe that the H1 tag is the holy grail of SEO, however this is not true. The value of the H1 tag has decreased over the years and is now less important than it once was.
Google has evolved into a bigger, stronger and smarter beast. It understands and crawls websites differently and does not need to rely on a H1 tag to know what a website is about. That being said, the H1 tag has not been rendered useless, instead we would suggest you focus on good content. Nobody likes to see robotic sounding headers, leave that in 2017.
#5 The more pages, the better
Many people will enter 2018 believing that a website with a lot of pages will have more avenues to gain search traffic. Just like link building, it is quality and not quantity. A website will not rank just because you want it to. However, it will rank if it is relevant to the users you are targeting.
If you have a tonne of pages on your website, you better make sure that they are engaging, informative and not thin. Content will still play a vital role in 2018 so make sure you have your content head on.
#6 User experience is a design thing, not an SEO thing
This statement could not be any further from the truth. Website user experience is vital for SEO. Google have stated that they favour websites that are more user friendly. After all, Google want to provide the best possible experience for their users. This was most apparent when Google dropped websites that were not mobile friendly. This is why mobile friendly web design and overall user experience is a must for SEO.
#7 Images do not need to be optimised
This is something that tends to be overlooked. Google image search is used over 50,000 times a second. Make sure your images are optimised correctly and that the alt text is relevant. All this extra work will massively aid your SEO efforts in 2018.
#8 A homepage needs to be rammed with content
No, not at all. Google understand that your home page tends to be the first point to visually engage with a lot of traffic. Focus more on making this page visually appealing and user friendly. Make sure you link to other pages to give further information.
As a general rule, you should not try to rank for any keywords other than your brand name on the home page.
#9 Load times are not important in regards to SEO
Incorrect. Load times have always been important, as well as server reliability. Google will not want to rank a website that has reports of downtime, and why should they?
DO NOT use cheap web hosting providers, as it can only harm your SEO efforts. Make sure that your website is optimised by conducting technical SEO, or you could even hire us.
#10 A site map guarantees ranking
A site map is basically a way of waving to Google and telling them that you are there. This does not mean that they will acknowledge you. Google will find your website whether you submit a site map or not. Google has become more advanced and uses crawling methods to find and index your website. A site map may help but does not promise rankings. If Google wish to rank your website, they will. Remember, Rome was not built in a day. SEO is a game of patience and honestly.
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If you require us for SEO, get in contact with us today. One of our dedicated SEO specialists will be able to help your website rank for competitive keywords and increase your overall online presence.