SEO myths have always been in existence. Since SEO became big business and all these new SEO companies started sprouting their roots, they’ve all had to find a ‘USP’ to win over their customers, and for me, that’s where a lot of these silly myths have come from.

Not all SEO myths are silly though. Some of them simply stem from ‘old’ SEO techniques which were actually true at the time, but are no longer. The world of SEO has moved on, Google has become wise to the cowboys out there, so a lot of the old-hat techniques achieve nothing any longer.

One of my favourite blogs comes from a company called Hubspot, who offer a CRM service amongst other things. I don’t actually have any services from them, but I subscribe to their blog because it is really informative and to the point, without trying to be too fancy.

Their latest blog posts talks about SEO myths, and it was so good that it made me want to pass it on to you, there is a link to download the full PDF article at the bottom of this post, but first I wanted to give you my own spin on it…

SEO Myths 2016
SEO Myths 2016

Myth: You need to ‘submit’ your website to Google?

Ok, there is some truth in this. If you submit your website via a sitemap through Google Search Console, Google tends to ‘index’ (meaning displays it in search results) much quicker. Eventually, Google will find and display your site anyway, as long as you haven’t blocked search engines from ‘crawling’ your site (which is a bit technical, call me to discuss this if you think it’s happened with your site).

Saying that though, I’ve always been a fan of submitting sites because 9 times out of 10 it speeds up the process. I am saying this from experience. I’ve submitted over 100 sites to Google over the years, and in almost every case they have a gained an indexed search result within just a few days. Sites that I haven’t submitted through Google Search Console have ALWAYS taken longer, months in some cases!

So actually, I don’t really agree with myth number 1, not completely anyway.

Myth: The more backlinks, the better

Ok, I TOTALLY agree with this myth. Having lots of backlinks does not have the same impact it used to. In fact, having loads of crappy, spammy backlinks (backlinks are links to your site from other websites) is BAD and you could find yourself being punished for it (knocked down the SERPs).

Trust me on this one, again I know from experience. I have nowhere near as many backlinks as my competitors (ie type in ‘web developers in Barnsley’ or something along those lines), but you will always find my website near enough at the very top of any Google search (when looking for web designers or developers in the local area). Instead of trying to gain mountains of links from anywhere that is willing to link to me, I’ve focussed on adding quality content regularly and this has most definitely WORKED.

SEO Myths 2016
SEO Myths 2016

Myth: SSL/HTTPS doesn’t matter

SSL does matter:FACT. Google said so (2014/15). It’s as simple as that. It may not be a MAJOR ranking factor, but it is a definite ranking factor. Take a look at my website, look at the URL, it’s https://. Why would I bother wasting money on an SSL certificate if I thought it wouldn’t achieve anything?

Myth: Meta descriptions are an important ranking factor

Nobody can guarantee you an answer either way on this one, but I’m in the ‘myth’ camp. I don’t believe that your page meta descriptions (the bit of text Google displays about your web page) are important for ranking. They are however, important for click-through rates, as a really well written meta description is the first bit of text a user reads about you!

Meta titles, I believe, are very important (this is the bold line of text at the top of your search result on Google). I’ve ALWAYS been keen on optimising page meta titles and have always had success with my own website in this area. Well optimised page titles are not only an important ranking factor, but they are also very useful for your users when explaining to them what your website is about.

Quick tip – Google only displays a certain number of characters in your meta title and description. This length varies from time-to-time, but is generally between 50-60 characters for a title, and around 160 characters for a description.

SEO Myths 2016
SEO Myths 2016

Myth: Your target keywords need to match your content exactly

This one is a definite myth.

Since Google introduced Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI), we have not needed to follow the old ‘keyword stuffing’ trick any longer. Gone are the days of cramming your keywords in as many places as possible, turning your content into complete jibberish. Google has a brain and it knows what words go together by using synonyms.

For example, it would know that web design, website development, html, css and javascript are all linked, which means that you can type normal sentences that can be read by normal people, without trying to outsmart Google with keyword stuffing.

So, when it comes to writing content for your website or blog, write it for your users, at their level, and not for Google’s spiders and robots!

I’m going to leave it there, because the article says it much better than I can (full credit to Hubspot). The few points I’ve picked out above are just the bits I have certain, strong opinions on, from experience. Having been doing this for a number of years, I’ve experimented with most of these things, particularly on my own website, and have seen the results first hand.

Have a good read of the article, and form your own opinions. Feel free to comment below with your thoughts and experiences. I’m not stupid enough to think I am right all the time.

Thanks for reading, cheerio!

SEO Myths 2016