Search engine optimisation is highly technical and complex, and hard to get right. At the same time, it’s also not.
When you really look at it, the logic behind SEO is actually fairly basic. The basic principles of SEO are based on the fact that Google wants to provide each user with the most relevant result for their query. If the user has a good experience – i.e. they find exactly what they were looking for, straight away – they’ll come back. When they come back, Google can make more money off that traffic by serving more ads.
The more often users come back to Google, the more potential Google has to make money, and the more accurate their search results for each query, the more likely people will come back.
So Google needs to provide you with the best results. At the same time, businesses need to appear on the first page of Google results for search to be of any value to them – research shows that up to 90% of people never go any deeper than the first Google results page when conducting a search.
Because of this, there are plenty of questionable tactics and methods you can use to cheat the system and quickly boost your Google search rank. Google works hard to stamp out such methods, because, as we’ve established, if you have a bad search experience, you’re less likely to come back. In fact, most of the methods and ‘tips’’ you’ve heard about are probably not helpful at all.
Basically, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There’s no way true way to cheat Google search rankings without penalty.
So what SEO tricks should you look out for that may actually be hurting your rankings (and may even get your page removed from Google’s index altogether)?
Here are three common SEO myths.
1. Get listed on a press release website
The idea goes like this: It’s hard to get high ranking pages to give your website a backlink. An easy way, however, is to put out a press release. Press releases are posted on a wide range of websites, including high-profile ones – a well-placed press release can get you hundreds of online mentions immediately, with your website listed on the release.
Your news doesn’t have to be major, just put out a press release on your latest news, send it out and “boom” – number one in Google rankings.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.
While it is possible to get attention, and rankings, for your business based on a great press release, Google woke up to the press release/SEO scam some years back, and has since altered their algorithms to de-emphasise such networks.
So, if you have a relevant press release that the media might cover, go for it, but if you’re thinking about buying into one of those press release groups that promises better SEO performance, it likely won’t work, and the links you get as a result could raise red flags in Google’s algorithms, reducing your rank.
2. Mention your target keywords over and over
In the old days of Google, keyword density was one of their key ranking factors – if a website mentions a specific keyword, or keywords, a lot, then it’s more likely to be a relevant match for that search term, right?
Again, spammers forced Google to re-assess. That’s not to say mentioning relevant keywords on your page is not important – it is, especially in your page headlines and URLs – but the top two Google ranking factors these days are links and content.
Content is where your keywords fit, but content written specifically to rank for certain terms – and mentioning those terms over and over again – is less likely to attract links, which reduces its search viability.
It probably won’t see you getting a Google penalty, but your page that says something like:
“Our Melbourne glass repairs are conducted by Melbourne glass repairs specialist John Smith who’s been doing Melbourne glass repairs for 20 years” is probably not providing the optimal user experience.
3. Buy backlinks
As noted, a key element to your SEO performance is links, and a simple Google search will show you that there are many, many ways to simply buy links – you can buy a couple of hundred ‘quality’ backlinks for a one-off investment, let the backlink provider go to work, and there you go – links sorted, site on the first page of Google. Job done.
It might sound – and even seem – easy, but this is definitely not the route you want to take.
Back in 2013, lyrics website ‘Rap Genius’ was removed from Google’s search results. Gone. You couldn’t find the site through Google if you wanted to. This was particularly painful for a site that relies entirely on web traffic. The removal was a result of Rap Genius taking part in questionable link schemes – how exactly those schemes work, neither Google or Rap Genius has clarified, but the case shows just how far Google can go if you’re found to be engaging in illegitimate link programs.
Google is watching all of these schemes, there’s a very high chance of being caught.
Look at your web traffic and check how much comes from Google. Now imagine that completely gone.
It’s probably not worth the risk.
These are just some of the many Google myths out there – as noted, if there’s anyone offering you a scheme or system to outwit Google and have you rank number one in record time, you need to be sceptical. If it was easy to get that number one search spot, everyone would do it – the fact that they’re not should get your alarm bells ringing on such strategies.