1. Web content should be keyword heavyBack in the dark days of the internet, Google’s search results were awash with low quality pieces of content that had managed to scale their way to the top simply by being shot through with keywords and phrases. At the time, many marketers cared more about search position and traffic than providing a pleasing and useful experience to their visitors. They seized upon Google’s predisposition towards keywords as a chance to force their way to the top. And Google eventually responded, predictably, by lowering the weighting that it gave to keyword density.Today, it’s still important that your web content contains at least some keywords, as these are important flags that Google uses to identify how relevant your page is to a user’s query. But you only need to include each keyword 1-3 times in a piece of content, and there really is no ‘magic’ keyword density that will bestow SEO goodness and floods of traffic upon your site.It’s more important that your keywords should fit into the natural flow of your content and enhance it rather than diminish its readability.
2. Google favors websites that have lots of contentWhile it’s true that larger sites may have more resources to throw at getting themselves to the top, there is no automatic advantage to simply having an abundance of content. In fact, in recent years many sites that have large quantities of mediocre or substandard content have actually seen themselves slide out of the first few pages of the search results. Google recognises the difference between quantity and quality and you should too.What Google DOES like are sites which have an appropriate amount of well-written, well-researched content. Ultimately, the content being should offer value to website visitors and provide them with the solutions that they seek.
3. Link building is a sinRecentlyJohn Mueller, Google’s ‘webmaster trends analyst’, was asked in a Google+ Q&A, “Is link building in any way good?” His response to this was, “In general, I’d try to avoid that,” prompting many marketers to immediately declare link building to be a dead tactic.However, many missed that he went onto say that webmasters should make sure that your content kind of stands on its own and make it possible for other people of course to link to your content. He added, "Make it easy, maybe put a little widget on your page… make sure that the URLs on your website are easy to copy and paste… we do use links as part of our algorithm but we use lots and lots of other factors as well."What Mueller seems to be saying is that online marketers should adopt a more natural approach to link building. Rather than actively seeking links, they should instead focus on creating great web content that people actually want to link to, and then make it easy to find and share. At the same time, you should avoid pursuing exploitative linking strategies that Google looks down upon, such as linking schemes, link exchanges, paying for links and signing up to sub-standard web directories.
4. PageRank is the be-and-end-allSome online marketers still see Google’s PageRank as some sort of omnipotent cyber deity bestowing good or bad fortune upon their websites. But the fact is, PageRank is no longer as important as it once was, and is actually not that significant in determining where your pages will show up in Google’s results pages.PageRank remains one of several hundred metrics that Google uses to determine where your page will rank in the search results.But as it is no longer being actively updated, its importance has diminished considerably. Furthermore, recent research by Moz shows that, “PageRank correlates poorly with search engine rankings”. Getting a high PageRank is no longer the ‘holy grail’ it once was, and you instead need to focus on creating a good all round SEO strategy that takes many more factors into account.
5. You can ‘trick’ Google into ranking your pages highlyGoogle wasn’t born yesterday, and as it nears the end of its second decade it has got pretty good at identifying attempts to ‘game’ or trick its results. Google’s anti-spam and black hat detection techniques are now so sophisticated that it really is pointless searching for some shortcut to success in the search results.As mentioned earlier, keyword stuffing has not worked for a long time and such pages are instead perceived as ‘spammy’ by Google, and are penalised or not even indexed. Other potentially tempting techniques that might see you penalised include:
- Cloaking – Showing one page to Google and then sending visitors to another
- Buying/ swapping links – Only natural links work. Google can spot a manufactured one a mile off.
- Hidden text – Disguising keywords using a font the same colour as your background will hinder you a whole lot more than it will help, as Google’s all-seeing bots are somewhat colour blind.
- High quality, accurate web content
- Content that is relevant and useful to users
- A website that is easy to navigate and information that is intuitive to find