If you've been following this blog for a while, you already know why you shouldn't ever stop performing SEO. People use search engines to find everything from restaurants to holiday gifts to doctors. Internet searches are ubiquitous. So if you want your business to be found, you have to use SEO.
But more than that, you have to stay ahead of the curve. Technology changes. User search behavior changes. Search engine algorithms change. You have to change with it.
As you update your SEO strategy, it's important to know which tactics work and which ones are myths you should leave behind. Here are four myths about SEO you should drop this year:
- Keywords are all that matter.
- Local SEO isn't important.
- Low-volume keywords aren't worth your time.
- User experience doesn't affect SEO.
Myth #1: Keywords are all that matter.
It used to be that marketers could get away with targeting a few big keywords to get ranked within a topic. As long as they focused on ten to twenty “head term” keywords, that was all they needed to show up in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
But today, with the increasing use of voice search through mobile devices and smart speakers, users are searching for information and content in a much more conversational fashion. Google and other search engines have followed this trend by updating their algorithms to analyze phrases instead of just keywords.
Instead of just centering your content around keywords, you should also adopt a topic cluster approach. This focuses your content on broader topics instead of just individual keywords. A topic cluster approach ensures your audience gets the answers they're looking for quickly.
Myth #2: Local SEO isn't important.
You definitely need to drop this myth right now, especially if you're a local business. With more and more people searching for information using mobile devices and voice search, local SEO is more important than ever.
46% of Google searches are looking for local information, and people who perform a local search on a mobile device are 88% more likely to visit or call a local business within a day.
Myth #3: Low-volume keywords aren't worth your time.
When working with keywords, it's tempting to only work with head terms, or short tail keywords, because they're brief and cover a broad topic. After all, these keywords usually have a higher search volume and can attract more visitors to your website. But while head terms have a high search volume, they also have high competition, and it can be difficult to rank for them.
These terms are also typically pretty generic, so the users you attract to your website using them may not be looking for what your website has to offer. A better approach is to work with lower-volume, long-tail keywords that are relevant to your audience instead. These are longer, more specific keywords or key phrases. Sure, they typically don't get as high of a search volume as head terms, but the people you attract to your website with them are more likely to be looking for what you have to offer.
Myth #4: User experience doesn't affect SEO.
In the past, using keywords and links was enough to rank in the SERPs. Search engine algorithms didn't account for the user's experience on a website. As a result, many websites were plagued with things like longer page load times, a lack of relevant content, or intrusive pop-ups.
But now, search engines like Google want to make sure people have a good experience on the web pages they find in their SERPs so that users will keep using them. So search engines pay a lot more attention to a website's user experience in their rankings.
To improve your website's user experience, you'll want your website to have these four things:
- Fast page load time.
- Mobile-friendly design and layout.
- Secure site connection through HTTPS.
- No intrusive interstitials.
If you get one thing from reading all of this, it should be that SEO is, above all else, about the overall experience of a searcher getting the answers they need for the questions they have. The better your web content is at answering their questions, and the better their experience finding those answers on your website, the better your SEO ranking will be.