SEO is an incredibly fast-paced industry, wherein facts that were true yesterday may not hold good today. Given the state of the internet today, it's super-easy for marketing managers and business owners to stumble upon and be mislead by false SEO "facts".
It's critical for you to stay updated on the latest search engine algorithm updates and digital strategy techniques.
However, in spite of staying updated, there are many marketing managers and small business owners who fall prey to SEO myths. Here are five such SEO myths that you should leave behind in 2018:
1. Good user experience is a bonus, not a requirement
Most marketing managers and small business owners think that good user experience is just a bonus; not a requirement. This is not true. According to studies, average users don't want to wait more than three seconds for your website to load. Further, attention spans of the internet users are decreasing.
This means that they are likely to leave your website quickly if they don't find exactly what they're looking for. If this is the case with your website, you will notice an increase in your bounce rate. And bounce rate is one of the main factors that Google considers to decide a website's ranking. Good websites keep their users engaged, without giving them reasons to leave.
Going into 2019, prioritise user experience. It will boost your SEO.
2. Images don't require any optimisation
Search engines are not sophisticated enough to read images as humans do yet. So, when you add images to your website without the proper tags, they add no value to search engine crawlers. That's why it's important for you to add relevant HTML tags to images when uploading them on your websites or blogs.
It's also critical to ensure that your images are clear and attractive so that they hold audience attention, without being too high definition. But aren't high definition images great? Well, they are, but they also take a lot of internet bandwidth to load. This means that they will increase the response time of your website, risking the increase of your bounce rate and a decrease of your search rankings.
Ensure that images have the relevant HTML tags and are well within the size limit for seamless loading.
3. I don't need a mobile optimisation strategy
There's no other way of looking at this. Google has officially declared that mobile performance of a website matters and is taken into account for search rankings. If you ignore this, it's at your own peril. You should be aware that most of your website users are equally likely to visit your website through mobile browsing.
Ignoring them is like setting up your business for failure because of a lot of conversions and purchase orders that can come through mobile traffic. Does your website reorient itself to best serve mobile customers? Can mobile customers easily navigate through your web pages? If you are not sure, check the mobile-friendliness of your website using an analytics tool.
4. More links are better than more content
The ultimate factor that qualifies a web page for ranking on Google searches is the quality of content. The better, more relevant and valuable your content is, the higher your chances of ranking on Google searches.
Yes, it does make sense to include relevant links to sources and extra reading within your content, but that doesn't mean that more links are necessarily better. In fact, if you place more links within your content, you increase the chances of your readers leaving your website when you want them to stay on your website longer.
Instead of placing more links within your content, try creating more interlinks back to your own resources. The more interlinked your website is in a relevant way, the easier it is to retain your audience.
5. SEO is all about ranking
SEO is not all about ranking. There are ways in which you can boost SEO without caring about your audience. But ultimately, you are using SEO to reach out to the most relevant target audience and to serve them well.
That's why your goal of doing SEO should be to create a better experience for your audience and to attract the right target audience. SEO is just a set of guidelines created by search engines so they and you can help people seek relevant and useful information. So, use those guidelines to improve your website's performance and experience. Use the guidelines to elevate the quality of your content.
In a field as technical and fast-changing as SEO, differentiating facts from myths is critical. Use the above debunking of common myths to correct your approach to SEO and gear-up for 2019.