Whether you are a mommy blogger or you’re trying to put together a website for your small business, there are multitude of blogs and online articles telling you how to optimize your website for search engines. But the SEO world is shifting constantly, and a lot of information that may have been great advice a year ago (or 6 months ago) may now be out of date and could actually hurt your SEO.
If you’ve heard these SEO myths before, don’t believe them—even if they come through a so-called SEO company. And when you know what the myths are, you can more easily focus on the kind of SEO is more important.
1. Keyword Density
If an SEO firm is still concentrating on keyword density, stay away from them, they are not up on the latest SEO practices, and could make your site rank tank.
It has been proven time and time again that the number of keywords you have on a page has virtually no relation to how high you will appear in search results. In fact, after the recent Google Panda update, having too many keywords on a page might be a red flag and get you downgraded in the search engine results.
Best Advice: Include your keywords naturally throughout your page and don’t worry about density. If you make your site pages easy to read for real people (not search engines), Google will give you more love.
2. Content Length
Keyword density is a big myth, but content length is right on its heels. Content length is only important to the extent that it gives you enough space to communicate your message effectively. If you can do it in 500 words, great. If you can do it in 50 words, fantastic.
In other words, there is no magic number of words on a page that is going to help you rank higher. In fact, if you have too many words—to the point that you keep repeating yourself—you will lower your site usability and Google will downgrade you.
Best Advice: Clearly and succinctly give your site visitors the information they need. If you have good content, no matter the length, people will like your website and Google will push you higher.
Most search engines these days don’t even look at your meta-keywords (the “hidden” keywords that describe your site), so these are not extremely important—unless you are still living in 1998. That being said, if your meta-keywords don’t match your site content, that could be a red flag for Google.
Best Advice: Include a handful (3-5) meta-keywords that most aptly describe the content of your site—for the sake of consistency—but don’t expect them to help you rank.
4. TLDs Are King
TLDs (Top-level domains: i.e., .com, .net, .org, etc.) are no longer preferred over lesser-known domains, like .ly, .is, .me., and more. If you want a site that is personalized with an unusual domain, go for it—it won’t hurt your chances of being found through a search engine.
Best Advice: Although search engines don’t prefer .com’s over other domains, .com has been the standard for years and is the format most people are familiar with—although people are getting used to more creative domains. Pick a domain that is best for your site, brand, and audience, regardless of what domain it has.
Quality is the Best Strategy
Overall, Google is more concerned about “quality” factors today than they are about keywords, word length, or other out-dated SEO practices. If you want to optimize your site for the web, simply create an easy-to-use site with good information that is easily sharable around the web—that’s the best SEO strategy.
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