1st March 2019 Claire Hawes

5 SEO myths you can and should leave behind

It never ceases to amaze me that businesses struggle unnecessarily because of these apparently influencing SEO myths…

Are you a fan of magic tricks?

It begins with a feeling of the excitement of the unknown. We’re attracted to things we cannot explain logically — the miracle of making the impossible possible.

It’s a bit like search engine optimisation (SEO). Many businesses see SEO as a dark art, a mystery or a puzzle that needs to be solved.

Here’s the thing. Sometimes the explanation of how seemingly baffling tricks work is right there in front of you.

Now I don’t want to destroy your faith in magic. But I do want to take some of the illusion out of SEO.

Because I know you’ll save an awful lot of time, resource and money when you abandon common SEO myths.

You see, when it comes to SEO, all you need to understand is people’s intent when they use the Internet.

Think about it for a moment. You use search engines to find answers to questions.

What makes you happy is when a search engine finds sites that give you the information you need, presents it in a user-friendly way and on a page that loads quickly.

Trickery is not behind Google algorithm updates. They’re released to make the process of finding answers to questions easier.

And to prompt website owners to do the same.

Yes, it really is as simple as that.

So when you next sit down to discuss SEO strategy, don’t start by trying to figure out how to trick Google into giving you great rankings.

Do apply a little common sense.

Here are five SEO myths debunked:

Myth 1. You need to cover off every possible keyword, by creating lots and lots of pages

How do you feel when you click on a product page only to find little or no information at all about the product in which you’re interested? You feel cheated right?

For this reason, back in 2011, Google released its ‘Panda’ algorithm update to stop website owners from producing poor quality, ‘thin’ content by preventing it from ranking well.

What this means is when you write web pages, first off think about how you can make it easy for search engine robots and crawlers to understand and know how to rank your page so that it can return the best and most relevant results for its users.

At the same time, think of the intent behind searchers’ questions. Provide enough text to answer questions and to help the searcher understand what your product or service is about.

Also, provide a clear path for your searcher to follow so that it can make informed decisions.

Myth 2. You need to write blog posts for Google and SEO

It’s a question all copywriters secretly dread. “Don’t worry too much about the content; no-one is going to read them. It’s Google love I’m after.”

Why would anyone follow this ridiculous advice? What a total waste of time, effort and resource.

The whole point of writing blog posts is to give your audience a useful source of content. Because when your audience reads and enjoys your blogs, it is more likely to like share and most importantly act on them.

And surely, driving action is the whole point of content marketing?

Elsewhere, the more valuable your post, the more likely it is to attract natural backlinks.

Myth 3. You need to write long blog posts

It’s true that quality over quantity matters when it comes to SEO. And audiences do enjoy and benefit from useful, relevant in-depth content.

But again use common sense when planning pages. Think about what your reader needs to know.

If you decide to write long-form content, choose topics carefully. Then put in time and effort to research.

Don’t make the mistake of padding out topics or keyword stuffing, just because you think you need to churn out content that hits a specific word count.

Always write for your reader first.

Myth 4. You need to publish fresh content every day to rank well

Creating fresh content every day is excellent advice if you’re a news site. You’ve always got something new and exciting to say.

But don’t publish content for the sake of it. The more pressure you put on yourself to churn content out, the less likely you are to distribute content Google wants to crawl and, more importantly, your audience wants to read.

Myth 5. You need to write content with x% keyword density

Keyword stuffing. This myth really does need to be debunked.

You still need to start with keyword research. And then to optimise your pages so that they’re easy for a search engine to understand and to crawl.

But that means writing compelling, keyword and benefit rich meta titles and descriptions, to draw readers to click through to your pages. And including keywords in your headers and naturally in your body copy.

After that, aim to write page copy that answers searchers’ questions. Also, copy that convinces the searcher to take action, such as delving further into your website, downloading useful resources, or signing up for your newsletter.

To sum up

To get SEO right, you don’t need to be a magician. You cannot trick Google into boosting your page rankings.

You do need to put yourself in the shoes of the searcher, your audience.

More often than not you use mobile devices to access the Internet. So you want answers to your questions delivered on pages that load quickly.

Beyond that, you want pages to give you information presented in a way that’s easy to understand and act on.

So leave behind SEO myths and assumed trickery. Stop writing for search engines and start writing for your customers.

Because isn’t attracting customers what you want?

And finally

If you’d like help with writing SEO optimised web copy, drop me a line, and we’ll set up a time to chat.

Claire Hawes, copywriter and owner of The Content BoutiqueAbout Claire Hawes

Claire Hawes is a marketing communications copywriter. She enjoys writing engaging copy that helps businesses to get noticed and attract enquiries. Claire’s experience mainly lies in the business to business sector. Her clients include both businesses and digital marketing agencies.

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