Little is as fast-moving as the algorithms from Google, Bing and Co. To keep up and thus rank your content consistently well on the search engine hit lists, you have to keep track of the many facets of search engine optimization. Otherwise, the well-intentioned optimization measures will end up being detrimental to your ranking. We take a close look at 5 (mis) assumptions of search engine optimization for you.
It can be not easy, especially for beginners, to filter out the wealth of information that is circulating on the Internet that is promising for search engine optimization. Questions quickly arise: Which measures do I use, which are yesterday’s news and no longer work? What are common misconceptions?
Before you feel in the dark and start with dangerous half-knowledge, you should read carefully into the topic.
Which SEO measures you use in individual cases and which adjusting screws you turn expressly depends on your goals. But there are a few basic things that you should always keep in mind.
Watch out: These are SEO myths, and this is how you can do it better!
Myth 1: A high keyword density is ideal
Several myths are surrounding the infamous keywords. Especially when it comes to the density of keywords, you will still find statements like “2 to 4 percent is the perfect density” or even “include as many keywords as possible”. Both words should raise the alarm bells for you. Let’s look at the latter first.
Search engines don’t want you to stuff your text with keywords until it is bursting at the seams. This is called keyword stuffing and is now a thing of the past. The myth that you should include as many keywords as possible in the text is simply out of date and contradicts Google’s guidelines. Search engines see keyword stuffing as spam and devalue your site as a result.
Even if this has meanwhile reached most marketers, we would like to go into it again briefly: The search engines have become significantly smarter in recent years. Google recognizes what your text is about and whether it is of high quality enough to rank well, even without the creative use of a keyword.
Most importantly, your text should sound natural.
How do you do that?
Instead of using the same keyword over and over again, it is far better to use related words, synonyms, and thematically similar words and phrases. These are also recognized by search engines and signal to Google, Yahoo and Co. that you have dealt intensively with the topic and are therefore probably creating helpful content. Phrases and synonyms are consequently much more likely to help you achieve a good ranking than merely repeating the same keyword.
There is no such thing as the ideal keyword density.
We come to the second part of the myth, keyword density. There is no specific keyword density that must be given for your text to rank well in every case.
Various guideline values are circulating on the Internet that allegedly describes the optimal keyword density. These values can give you a rough guide when creating content, but you should question them critically.
Because what measures the keyword density?
Keyword density, also called keyword density, measures the quantity of a keyword. It is a measure of the frequency of the keyword about the total number of words. The keyword density describes how often a particular keyword occurs in a text. It says nothing about the quality of the keyword or the text. The recommendations should therefore, be treated with caution.
Also, many of the tools used to determine keyword density do not consider synonyms, so the density measurement is not meaningful because it does not capture everything. Thus, measuring thickness is not very helpful for search engine optimization.
The tools also do not differentiate where the keyword appears. A keyword in the title of a text is given significantly more weight to Google than a keyword in the last line of your text, at the bottom of the page. The keyword density says nothing about this either.
If you can learn anything from the recommended keyword density, it is that you should be careful with keywords. The keyword density helps less with search engine optimization and serves, if at all, as a guide for the creation of content.
Keywords are essential, high-quality and legible texts that match the brand are much more critical. It would help if you only used your keywords when they fit the text.
A set keyword density, which you use as a guide when creating your content, can serve as a reminder not to overdo it with the use of keywords. However, as a goal that must be achieved, you should confidently forget about the optimal keyword density.
Myth 2: The more links point to my website, the better
Why backlinks are important
Backlinks, i.e. links that refer to yours from other websites, are fundamentally beneficial for your ranking. Search engines see these links as a recommendation that your content is good enough for others to read and as a vote of confidence that you are a valuable resource. One speaks of increased link popularity, a measure of the importance of a website. That is why the backlink increases the relevance of your content and has a positive effect on the ranking.
So is the myth valid? Yes and no. Because not every backlink is necessarily good for your ranking, search engines differentiate between different links.
DoFollow and NoFollow
For the backlinks you get to be included in the search engine rating, they should be DoFollow links. DoFollow links are all links that are not explicitly marked as “NoFollow”.
The search engine crawlers do not visit links that are marked with “No Follow”. Google introduced this marking to counteract spam.
If another page is linked to yours with a NoFollow link, the search engines will ignore this link. Still, it’s OK if your connection is shared on another website, as it will increase your company’s awareness and increase the likelihood that users will find and read your content. To optimize your ranking, however, you need to generate as many DoFollow links as possible.
The quality of the links is crucial.
It is also essential that the links that point to your content come from relevant, high-quality websites. Otherwise, you will be of little use to your ranking or even damage it. If several dubious links, for example, from gambling sites, refer to your content, in the worst case this can even push you out of the Google index.
Thanks to some algorithm updates, such as the Penguin Update introduced by Google in 2012, Google can distinguish valuable links from non-valuable ones and devalue the latter. Penguin works like a filter that records manipulation attempts and spam.
Even if the search engines now record and weight the quality of the links, there are still numerous attempts to bypass natural search engine optimization and, for example, to buy backlinks.
Let’s tell you; this is not a good idea. Buying and exchanging links are not allowed and are looked through and punished by search engines. As a punishment, Google even bans entire websites from its index.
And the strategy of placing your link in every directory, web catalogue, blog comment and forum is an outdated tactic and will not bring you the success you want. Because these types of backlinks have the lowest link value, and search engines often see them as spam. Even then, you run the risk of Google penalizing you.
Natural link building
It is better if you gradually build organic links. To do this, you need to create high-quality content that other sites can share without your intervention, simply because it’s okay. This is how you establish yourself as an expert through your content, and others will perceive you and your specialist knowledge and, ideally, link it. In this way, you collect natural backlinks and increase your link popularity, which the search engine honours in its ranking.
Another way to get valuable, natural backlinks is to post on other people’s sites. Here, too, you can put your expertise to the test and increase your awareness.
To help your page rank well, ideally collect a few, high-quality links that come from various sources, such as social media, websites, and blogs. Of course, that takes time – you need to be patient.
Collecting backlinks is, therefore, a critical factor in optimizing your website. However, it is not only the number of links that is decisive but also the type.
Therefore, your goal should not be to generate as many backlinks as possible randomly but to get high-quality DoFollow backlinks. The more such links point to your website, the better it will rank in the search results.
Myth 3: Excellent content doesn’t need SEO.
High-quality content, as we have emphasized often enough, is significant for a placement at the top of the search engine hit list. Without good content, even the best SEO measures won’t help in the long run.
Because Google measures the relevance of your website with the help of various factors, such as the frequency, how often users visit your page, the bounce rate of your website and the backlinks. And only with engaging content that is precisely tailored to your target group can you attract users to your site.
So valuable content is essential. But what does that mean? Content is incredibly helpful when it provides added value for the user. So a specific question of the user is answered, offers new and relevant content, is unique, exciting and well structured. Ask yourself: What problem am I solving for my users?
Good content is not found by itself.
But even excellent content will not be found by itself. You should help it all with SEO. How annoying would it be if you invest a lot of time in your texts, put so much effort into your content and then nobody reads your content because nobody can find it?
Many users do not search for information directly on websites or blogs but through the search engines. You probably know that yourself: Do you have a question or a problem? Then first googled. And if your content only shows up on page 574 or even on page 6 of the search query, it will be overlooked.
Content and SEO belong together.
Logical: you need good content to appear at the top of the search engine hit list. And it would help if you had reasonable SEO measures so that users can find your content in the first place.
Search engine optimization is also essential for great content so that users can find and consume it in the first place.
Myth 4: My content needs a certain length
The longer the content, the better? Not entirely true.
Long content is good when it contains a lot of technical information. Explicit content does not rank well on Google because it is long, but because it is precise and technically sound.
Show your expertise
So it pays to write explicit content so that you can show your expertise and your content is noticed on the web. After all, you don’t want to repeat precisely what hundreds of others have chewed through before you, do you? But create a new perspective or go deeper technically than your competitors. Unique content is the keyword here; your content should be unique. The search engine also honours this.
Better short and crisp than long and low in information
Can you also summarize the essentials? All the better. Getting to the point quickly is a quality feature. Chatter and empty marketing talk not only see through the search engine but also alienate your customers.
It doesn’t depend on the length of the text but on the quality of the content. Is the content relevant and new? Are they helpful to the user? Are you technically sound?
To achieve this technical depth, you can use an approximate guide value of at least 300 words.
So it should be right: To rank well, your content needs technical depth and added value for the user, not a specific length.
Myth 5: SEO doesn’t cost anything
SEO does not cost any money in the direct sense – in contrast to SEA, for example. All the measures that we have mentioned so far are free of charge.
What many do not consider, however: SEO costs time.
Because search engine optimization is designed for the long term, search engine optimization is not done all at once but requires continuous care and maintenance.
In other words: SEO is not rocket science, but it doesn’t work overnight either.
You should always have a look at the innovations from Google, update your catalogue of SEO measures and focus on your goals again and again and incorporate your concentrated SEO knowledge into any content – which does not write itself. It takes work and time, but it’s worth it.
SEO is free. However, it would help if you did not underestimate the time and work that you have to invest permanently.
the essentials in brief
Basically: quality before quantity. This concerns the selection of keywords, the collection of backlinks and the content as well as its scope.
Remember: You are not optimizing your site for Google or any other search engine, but the user. This is also set out in the Google principles. A user-friendly experience should always be in the foreground.
Do not stick rigidly to guidelines and do not blindly trust any tools. Thinking along is required: What is the benefit for the user?
SEO means work, but it is essential so that your content can be found on the web.
Search engine optimization should not be missing from any online presence. Five common misconceptions have already been exposed – so roll up your sleeves and dare to start!