Business Technology

Debunking five common SEO myths small businesses may be following

6 min read

01 February 2016

There is plenty of information out there regarding search engine optimisation (SEO), but is all of it true? Not quiet. As such, we’ve debunked five key “facts” that are actually myths.

It’s no secret that search engine optimisation (SEO) should always be a top priority for business websites, but figuring it out is easier said than done. 

Whilst the internet is full of helpful tips and hints, the SEO game is constantly changing. In 2015 alone, Google announced two huge changes in its algorithm that affected millions of sites around the web. 

In other words, the SEO strategy a business may have had in early 2015 is already way behind where it should be.

So it is now time to put to rest some of the SEO myths that small businesses may hear constantly – those so-called strategies that will often find their way into website owners’ heads and end up staying there. 

Myth one: Having lots of links is the most important SEO practice

We can debunk this myth pretty easily by reaffirming that content is king when it comes to SEO. Whilst link building is still vital when it comes to SEO (it still sits in the top five most important SEO factors for most businesses), it doesn’t carry the weight that it did before.

With Google’s Penguin 2.0 update, the quality of links would far outweigh the number of links for rankings. Whether it’s through original content or link building, quality content is more important than the quantity of links.

The five-step beginner’s guide for SMEs to start mastering SEO

Myth two: Social media presence won’t affect my website’s SEO

Google doesn’t access Facebook and Twitter analytics to influence search engine rankings. However, social media does play a major role in today’s SEO because social media platforms can help both search engines and potential visitors find a business online.

Try Googling a business online and you will often find its Facebook page on the first page of the search engine results. That’s because Google has indexed that page and used it in rankings.

In addition to helping Google find a business’ website online, social media also helps with distributing the website’s content to a wider audience. For example, if an SME business owner writes an informative blog post for the company website, a tweet and a Facebook post linking to back to the original article would help boost SEO. 

This leads to new links being directed back to the company site, and can also get shared around social media, leading to a traffic boost. More traffic = improved SEO.

Continue reading on the next page for the true impact of mobile on your SEO – how you can test whether your site is mobile-friendly – and the other myths you may have been led to believe.

Image: Shutterstock

Myth three: Mobile sites don’t affect overall SEO

This is dangerous thinking in 2016 because making sure a website is mobile friendly must be a top priority for all small businesses. 

In April 2015 Google rolled out an update that was referred to by many as “Mobilegeddon”. This update involved rewarding sites that had a mobile-friendly version, and subsequently penalised websites that weren’t mobile-friendly.

Certain aspects such as font size or links being placed too close together can have an impact on the mobile version of a website. If the site isn’t considered to be mobile friendly, the business could see a significant drop in search engine rankings.

You can test your site here to see if Google considers it to be mobile-friendly.

Myth four: I did SEO once – I don’t need to worry about it anymore

As mentioned before, SEO is always changing, so business owners should not think that a strategy that was effective six months ago means they don’t need to worry about SEO today. SEO practices are always evolving and it’s important to try and keep up with updates. 

Google is constantly evolving its search algorithm to deliver the best search engine service possible. It is therefore important to keep up with the latest SEO practices!

Myth five: I need to learn the “tricks” of SEO to outsmart Google.

Instead of trying to outsmart Google, shoot for better content that’s targeted at your audience. This will get you noticed by Google far sooner than a tweak to the site’s code, so focus on creating quality content relevant to their audience. 

You should think about the keywords that potential visitors might use to find your website and create content around those words. 

Add links to social media, create blogs and upload videos that might be useful to your visitors. Link out to quality content on other sites that may also be useful to a visitor.

It’s these kinds of simple steps that will get you noticed by search engines.

Earlier this month, we revealed the five-step beginner’s guide for SMEs to start mastering SEO, which should be a cornerstone of any company’s online business strategy.

John Morris is the CEO of web specialist UK2 Group