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The FutureProof Blog

9 SEO Myths That Could be Damaging your Website

The internet is a funny place, right? When you read about how to optimise your website, how do you know what’s true, what’s outdated and what is just complete nonsense? There are so many misconceptions out there in the world of SEO, and some could potentially harm your website’s performance. In this post, we’ll debunk nine common SEO myths that might be holding your website back.

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Keyword Density is a Ranking factor

SEO Myth number 1, Keyword density; the idea that using a particular word or phrase frequently within your content will boost a page’s ranking. Of course, keywords are important for SEO, but overstuffing your content with keywords can have the opposite effect. Google has prioritised relevance and user experience over keyword density for well over a decade now. The phrase “if it was that easy everyone would be at it” springs to mind (actually, pre 2003 it really was that easy).

9 SEO Myths That Could be Damaging your Website

Google Uses Latent Semantic Indexing

Latent Semantic Indexing, or LSI for short, is often misunderstood. This technology is old, 1988 in fact, and was designed to create relationships between concepts in small document sets; Google’s index has way surpassed this. We should instead think of NLP (natural language processing), entities and the Knowledge Graph. 

You’ll like this example; hit Google with the search term “brad pitt and edward norton” and all you’ll see is results related to the movie Fight Club, why? Because Google understands the two entities of Brad Pitt and Edward Norton as actors, they are linked in the knowledge graph, and in content through NLP, via a movie they starred in together. Semantic relationships in action.

learn more in this post by Semrush…

Fight Club SERP

Targeting High-Volume Keywords

So many people fall into the “high-volume keywords” trap, assuming that more this equates to more significant results. DROP THIS STRATEGY TODAY !! High-volume keywords come with high competition, making it challenging, often impossible for small businesses, to rank for them. 

Instead, focus on long-tail keywords, especially in the first year two. Think of it this way; is it better to rank number 1 for 20 terms with a search volume of 100 per month, or rank 20 for a term with a search volume of 1000 per month? I know which one I’m picking.

Domain Authority is a Ranking Factor

Domain authority, the metric used by the entire industry to measure the backlink profile strength and ranking potential of a website. But is it a ranking factor, used by Google …? OF COURSE NOT !! Domain authority simulates the way Google views a backlink profile of a website.

At the core of the Google ranking system is Page Rank, one of the first algorithms. A score from 1-10, and they even published this score. Then, when people realised they could sell links, Google stopped publishing the score… in steps Moz, with DA, an educated guess at what the score might be. 

There are 4 key link metrics; quantity (the number of links you have), linking domains (the number of websites that link to you), quality (the DA / Page Rank of the sites that link to you) and relevance (does the link come from an authority in your field). The failing of domain authority is that it can only measure the first 3, and many believe that relevance is the most important.

everything you need to know about domain authority…

Duplicate Content

While it is true that duplicate content can dilute your website’s visibility and confuse search engines about which page to rank, this only applies to your website, and it won’t result in a direct penalty, just lower rankings. This isn’t a good thing, but it’s not what people think it is.

Google doesn’t run a plagiarism checker. Duplicate content doesn’t apply to another website, just two pages on your own website. I’m not suggesting that you copy and paste content from high ranking sites, because that won’t work either, but Google are not sending the boys around to have a word.

Long-Form Content is Better

Sometimes 5000 words are required to cover a topic, sometimes 500 is more than enough. As with so many aspects of SEO… it depends. So you want to rank for a particular keyword, but you don’t know what to write about, or how much… GOOGLE TELLS YOU !! The results that rank now are what they’re looking for, quality, 

I start every content writing process with keyword research and SERP analysis (search engine results page). I’ve listed two tools below to help you; the first will count the words on a page, do this for the top 10, add them up, divide by 10 and add 10%. The second will extract all the headings from any page, this will get you started with what to write about. The last link describes my writing process in detail.

https://wordcounter.net/website-word-count

https://web-toolbox.dev/en/tools/heading-extractor

https://futureproofdigital.ie/blog/writing-website-text

More Content is Better

Contrary to popular belief, flooding your website with excessive amounts of content won’t necessarily improve your ranking or traffic performance. Quality always trumps quantity in the eyes of Google. 

Having said that, Topical Authority, the idea that covering a topic in depth with a concentration of posts, is a strategy that is really working for many businesses, this one included. 5 posts might be too little, 1000 posts might be too many. Publish regularly, publish great content and make sure your customers read it and love it… you won’t go far wrong.

everything you need to know about topical authority…

More Content is Better

Meta Description is a Ranking Factor

IT REALLY ISN’T !! Meta Description, the two lines of text in your page’s code that appear below the page title in the search results. If you think Google gives this any credit at all in terms of rankings, just check how many times they bin it altogether and use different text taken from the page.

Having said that, a great meta description, that accurately summarises your content, can improve click-through rates and indirectly impact performance. Write them well, add some excitement, and you’ll get more organic clicks from search.

All Backlinks Are Good

Backlinks are pretty important, but not all backlinks are created equal. Low-quality or spammy backlinks from irrelevant or dubious sources can do real harm to your website’s domain authority (see above) and your ranking. If you are actively building links, focus on quality, authoritative and relevant websites within your industry, build relationships with influencers, and participate in industry communities.

9 SEO Myths That Could be Damaging your Website

The End of SEO Myths...?

That was fun, right? I hope you learned a little something too. Some say there’s more than 200 ranking factors, others say that there’s only a few. I’ve been listening to a podcast recently that insists that links are the only ranking factor and nothing else matters… which is crazy by the way !! 

SEO Myths have always been around, and they always will be. Some are not really myths, just outdated knowledge, strategies that worked in the past. Some of the ways I work today, I’m sure will be SEO Myths in the future, and that’s why it’s so important to keep yourself up to date… well done for being here.

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About Adam Bermingham
This blog is dedicated to helping you stay ahead of the curve, with insights into the latest trends, tools, and best practices. Whether you’re a business owner, marketer, or web designer, we have something for everyone. We bring you expert advice, tutorials, and case studies to help you optimise your online presence.

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