Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the bane of the existence of many web admins. There are many reasons for this. It’s a constant battle between trying to rank your website(s) high and keeping it balanced. This means to prevent from becoming too robotic and keep it user friendly and cheap to run. SEO practices change constantly and make things even more difficult for admins.
On the top of everything, SEO is not a universal recipe. What works for one website, will not always work for another. Sometimes, even technically identical sites with only one difference, such as content, will behave completely different and hence will require very different SEO approaches. But, while there are a lot of questions around what works and what doesn’t- there are some common concepts.
Here are the 5 SEO myths and the reason why you shouldn’t trust them:
Myth 1: HTTPS doesn’t affect ranking
Oh, yes, it does. Nowadays, security is a hot topic and encrypting the connection between the website and the user is vital. While the HTTPS standard does indeed has its fair share of issues, it’s still a lot better than nothing.
Google is, in fact, giving a slight edge to HTTPS website. In 2019, this is a norm, not a luxury. So, it’s definitely a worthy investment to set up HTTPS for your websites no matter what their topic, niche or goals are. People expect HTTPS together with browsers to do a lot in order to attract attention. When you visit a site without this feature, you will lose a lot of traffic if you skip on it.
Myth 2: XML Sitemaps Boost Ranking
Not really. It certainly does help the Google bot to do a quick scan of the website and look for any changes. But at the end, the bots will continue to crawl the entire website themselves and make sure everything is there.
A sitemap will help for indexing new content quicker. So, if you want a page added to the search engine quicker – a sitemap the secure way to go. However, this won’t have any effect on whether that page actually ranks higher or lower.
Myth 3: Google Hummingbird removed keyword targeting
Google did change a lot of things with its Hummingbird update to the search engine. One of the misunderstandings is that the bots don’t need keywords anymore.
While their dependency on them has indeed depleted, keywords still matter. You don’t have to aim for a certain number of keywords in a text, but you should not neglect them completely.
Myth 4: Meta tags don’t matter
While Google’s Matt Cuttis has said that their search engine doesn’t really need meta tags anymore, they still matter. Especially if you want to rank in other search engines, too. Yes, it’s a good idea to try and be “rankable” for as much search engines as you can.
Using descriptive and short meta tags helps users, too. Especially when these tags pop up in the searches. So it’s useful to keep a track of your meta tags. Just don’t obsess over them too much.
Myth 5: SEO is Dead
With so many advancements in search engines, context and data analyzing, why bother with SEO at all? The bots can tell quality posts anyway. They use countless number of other criteria. So, does SEO really matter anymore?
Oh, yes, it does. SEO is changing and it’s a constant journey to stay on top of it all. While that’s not entirely possible (either cheap if you have very high expectations), it is possible to continue to optimize and improve your websites regularly. There are always new approaches and methods which can build or break a website. Remember that you don’t battle the search engine bots for the ranking. You battle millions of other relevant websites, so any additional optimization you can do, is always a good idea.