SEO does not have a well-defined manual or an instruction book. Most of it happens through guesswork.
This is why there are lots of myths and “urban legends” surrounding SEO. Most of the so-called “SEO experts” sell snake oil in the name of helping people improve their search engine rankings.
Sure, there are some fundamentals – good quality content, strategic use of keywords and alt tags for images, for example – most of the perceptions and opinions about SEO are based on trial and error.
People do something, if it has positive impact, they share it with the world in general, and if it has negative impact, they also share that.
This is how knowledge about SEO grows.
Today I came across this blog post on the Content Marketing Institute website: 7 SEO Myths that Could Limit Your Google Keyword Rankings.
I tried to think in terms of content writing. How do these myths impact your content writing?
When my clients send me content writing guidelines just a single glance tells me that their primary concern is optimizing their content for their keywords.
On many SEO-related blog posts and articles I have read that you shouldn’t concern yourself much about the keywords.
As long as you are publishing good quality content, your SEO for the related keywords is going to improve.
As a content writer who sells and promotes his services on the basis of the quality of content he writes, I tend to believe that it is quality that is of utmost important.
The above CMI link says that although quality matters, you cannot ignore your keywords. The link talks about the overall keyword optimization but in my blog post, I’m mainly focusing on content writing and how these myths may have a negative impact on it.
Myth 1: Quality content writing matters, not how you use your keywords
I will sound hypocritical if I say that keywords don’t matter, especially when repeatedly on my blog I have mentioned that I’m using a WordPress SEO plug-in (SEOPressor) to optimize my content.
When my new clients enquire if I can write SEO content, I tell them that by default I write optimized content.
When I say “optimized content writing” what I mean is, using the keywords in such a manner that it’s easier for search engine algorithms to understand what is written on your webpage or blog post, but at the same time, keeping the writing interesting and relevant for human readers.
Quality content writing automatically means focusing on your core topic and delivering maximum value to your readers.
When you focus on your core topic and write based on searcher’s intent you automatically cover your keywords.
It’s just that, if it is normally suggested that you should use your main keyword or search term within the first 100 words of your blog post or web page, then try to do so.
Use your mix of keywords in headings and subheadings. Use them in your main navigation bar. Use their variations (LSI words) in hyperlinks and bullet points.
Google, when crawling, indexing and ranking, looks for patterns to detect what you’re talking about. These patterns are your keywords and search terms.
It’s better to use them and help Google (and other search engines) understand what you’re trying to say and whether your content writing is related to the keyword or the search term being used by the search engine user.
Myth 2: Keyword stuffing when writing content can get your website penalized by Google
Frankly, I wouldn’t take the risk. But the article says that there is no definitive proof that Google penalizes websites that use keyword stuffing.
Keyword stuffing just for the sake of it is useless if it doesn’t make sense.
For example, if I want to optimize one of my webpages for “professional content writing services”, it doesn’t mean that I have to use this search term in every sentence or in every paragraph.
Use your keywords as is the need. Let your writing flow. Don’t repeat the keywords just because you think that the repetition will improve your SEO. It won’t.
Having said that, don’t stifle your writing fearing that if your keyword density is 10% whereas it should be 3%.
Myth 3: Duplicate content can harm your SEO
Again, there is no definite proof of whether Google penalizes you for duplicate content or not.
Many SEO experts believe that the problem of duplicate content mostly happens on e-commerce websites where hundreds of products may end up having the same description and even the same title.
On normal websites with just a few hundred webpages and blog posts, this isn’t much of an issue.
Does it mean if I already have an optimized webpage for “online content writer” I should create a duplicate page and simply change the heading and the text string to “online copywriter” and I will have another page?
Remains to be seen.
Again, what matters is delivering value to your visitors. Your content writing must inform and educate your visitors so that they are convinced of doing business with you.
Myth 4: Your web page titles must be less than 60 characters, including spaces
Since I’m using a WordPress SEO plug-in and it doesn’t give me the “green signal” unless I stick to all the conditions, which also includes creating a webpage title that is less than or equal to 60 characters, this is something difficult for me to check.
But then, I’m not using the plug-in to analyze every piece of blog post or web page that I publish. There are many blog posts and webpages that I don’t analyze using SEOPressor and in those webpages and blog posts, I don’t mind if my title is beyond 60 characters.
The logic behind keeping your webpage title less than or equal to 60 characters is less about SEO and more about usability.
When Google shows the search results, the hyperlinked text is your webpage title. Google shows around 60 characters and after that it shows just the three dots “…”.
So, what makes more sense is, whatever important that you want to mention in your webpage title, mention it within those 60 characters.
Myth 5: SEO is a one-time affair
This is undeniably the most important myth that needs to be busted: just because you have published a few webpages and blog posts and you see some improvement in your SEO it doesn’t mean the job is done.
Just as you want to improve and maintain your search engine rankings, so do your direct and indirect competitors.
Millions of webpages, blog posts and social media updates are being crawled, indexed and ranked by Google on hourly basis. Search engine rankings are constantly being reshuffled.
Also, Google doesn’t like stale content. Even if your webpage is a few months old, if newer, seemingly better content is available, your webpage is going to be pushed down in the rankings to make space for newer content.
You either have to go and publishing your content or you need to update your existing content. You always need to outdo your competitors when it comes to maintaining your SEO.
Why you need constant content writing to maintain SEO?
Your SEO depends on many factors. But high-quality content is the bedrock of your entire SEO strategy. Search engines constantly need fresh content to crawl and index. People in social media and social networking websites constantly need new information to share and enrich their timelines.
Nobody wants to share a blog post or an article that is six months old or a year old unless the information is still relevant. But that’s beside the point.
In terms of search engine rankings, if you don’t publish regularly or if you don’t update your content, the search engines stop crawling or crawl rarely (once a few months) depending on the frequency of the new content found on your website.
The frequency increases if you publish regularly. There was a time when I was publishing 5-6 blog posts every day on a technology blog. Google used to crawl and index the new posts within minutes. The number of times Google crawls your website is directly proportional to the number of times you publish new content.
This is why, it is very important for your SEO that you write and publish content on a regular basis.