If you’re relying on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to draw customers to your business web site, chances are you’re using outdated information.
The SEO world is constantly changing, for one thing, and it’s difficult for even experts in the field to keep up with it. Also, if you’re continuing to avoid putting money into your digital advertising, preferring to rely on organic reach, you’re doing yourself and your business a disservice. Customers can still find you (the way it’s possible to find a needle in a haystack), but they’ll have to go past businesses that are putting money into their online advertising first.
That said, being ranked well in search engines is still a benefit. Here are somethings to remember and forget about SEO.
Remember: the ‘S’ matters. If your website isn’t SSL-enabled, you’re not going to do well in search rankings. Google announced in 2016 that websites without SSL would be classified as unsafe in the Google Chrome Browser—and that will seriously hurt your SEO rankings. Make sure your website is SSL compatible. A non-HTTPS address will hinder your rankings and most customers won’t linger long on your page, anyway.
Forget: Meta Tags. Once upon a time, meta tags were a way to attract more attention in search engine algorithms. Meta tags are bits of HTML attributes that make your site seem more relevant in search results. That, however, hasn’t been true since 2009. If you’re paying for that service, you’re getting ripped off.
Forget: businesses that boast a Google connection or affiliation. Believe it or not, there are SEO firms out there that claim they are endorsed by Google. This is false. Google does not disclose that information to the public. No one can guarantee results, no matter who they claim they know.
Forget: Quantity beats quality. If your business site has more pages, it’ll attract more attention, right? Nope. Or at least, not any more. Once, you could fool search engines by padding your pages with keywords and padding your site with additional pages filled with said keywords, but that is no longer the case. That’s one of the reasons search engine algorithms are evolving so rapidly. Remember: Google doesn’t index everything on your site and, therefore, duplicate content isn’t any more effective.
Remember: Guest bloggers can help. Having other people contribute to your blog can help, but it won’t necessarily boost your SEO rankings. Several years ago a rumor that guest bloggers would not help your SEO rankings was debunked: actually, search engines don’t care one way or the other who contributes to your blog. The algorithm is more geared toward relevance than celebrity. That said, having guest bloggers can increase activity on your site—by bringing in people who wouldn’t otherwise come, or by extending your organic reach—and that can indirectly affect your SEO rankings.
What SEO trends do you remember, and which should you forget? Let us know in the comments!