You want your site to rank well on Google and other search engines. You want to drive your target customers to your site. You want those visitors to turn into actual customers once they arrive. Makes sense to us! So how do you make this happen effectively and efficiently?

The obvious answer is three little letters – SEO (search engine optimization). But how do you know what to focus on? You know keyword stuffing is bad, but how much keyword density is okay? Meta keywords used to be a big deal, are they still? What about hidden text? If you’re not an SEO expert (like us!), here are 5 SEO myths we’ve busted to help give you a little guidance on helping your site get better rankings.

SEO Myth #1: Meta Keywords Matter

​Google officially stopped looking at the meta-keywords tag in 2009, but likely gave little to no weight to it on SERPs as far back as 2000. So, if the meta-keywords tag has been dead for 20 years, but you can technically still enter it in, should you put keywords in there just in case? No. Nope. Say goodbye and don’t look back.

Does this mean SEO keywords in general aren’t important? NO WAY. Using keywords strategically in your URL, browser title, header tag, content, and internal links is still very valuable and should be an important piece of your overall SEO strategy.

*While we are in meta land, did you know that search engines will often completely ignore your carefully crafted meta description?  It’s still a best practice to have a nice, tight description of your page with a call to action, but if Google, etc. sees something that it thinks more closely matches the query within your content, it will oftentimes pull that in as a meta description instead!  It’s one of those search engine “nudges” vs. a directive.

SEO Myth #2: Hidden Text Works

​Hidden text means placing chunks of keyword-dense text on your website in sneaky ways to try to cram extra SEO juice into it under the radar. This might mean making the text the same color as the background, hiding it behind an image, using CSS to push it off-screen, setting the font size to 0, or hiding URLs by making characters like periods or other punctuation the only character with a hyperlink. As you can imagine, this is a spam tactic and violates Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

When creating content for your page, keep this rule in mind: What’s good for the user is good for SEO. If the user can’t see or easily read your text, that’s going to be a red flag.

What about alt-text or JavaScript? That’s hidden, right? Will I get penalized for that?

Fear not! For things like JavaScript, images, or Flash that search engines may struggle to read, you can absolutely provide descriptive alt-text without penalty. This will actually help your SEO, making all of the content on your site accessible to search engines and users who may not have Flash or other browser extensions installed.

SEO Myth #3: There’s a Keyword Density Sweet Spot

​You may have heard that there’s a certain magic percentage to strive for when including your target keywords in your site text that will make search engines favor you, generally 1-2%. The truth? There is actually no magic number whatsoever!

Use your target keywords naturally throughout the content (and make sure your content is high quality, readable, and provides value to the reader). Whether your keyword density is 1% or 5% or 0.5%, none of that will guarantee you a #1 spot on Google. And as always, be careful not to unnaturally plug so many keywords into your content that you are penalized for keyword stuffing.

SEO Myth #4: Google Changes the Algorithm Too Often to Keep Up

​This myth holds a partial truth in that Google’s mysterious algorithm changes frequently. However! It’s mostly to combat sites trying to game the system. If your site is following best practices for creating high quality content, using your target keywords responsibly, and not following any shady techniques (like hidden text), you are likely to be fairly unaffected by algorithmic changes.

In addition to combatting the sneaky sites, algorithmic changes are also intended to show sites that are the most authoritative on any subject. Being easy to crawl, creating good content, and executing a solid keyword strategy are still fundamentally the best ways to rank.

SEO Myth #5: SEO Doesn’t Matter Anymore

​You may think with so much change and so many older ‘tricks’ not working anymore that SEO in general doesn’t matter. This couldn’t be further from the truth!

SEO is the ONLY thing that matters (jk) but it does usually make up the bulk of the traffic to many websites AND it’s usually one of the best converting sources of traffic.

Sure, you can pay for PPC/social media advertising, and that’s a topic for another day that we can certainly write many posts about! But having a solid SEO strategy and measuring and iterating are key to establishing and growing the best traffic to your site. The best part? The more you contribute to your site’s content and refine your strategy over time, the more your authority builds and the more clear and targeted your visitors become. Naturally!

Bonus SEO Myth #6: You Should Do it All Yourself

Ok, you probably saw this one coming, but unless you’re interested in spending your valuable time becoming an SEO expert in addition to all of the tasks you do to keep your business growing, chances are your time and money are best spent in getting a capable strategy team to get the results you want as painlessly as possible. That’s where Simple Search comes in.

Whether you want help with a strategy that you run with, or want everything done hands-off start-to-finish, we’re ready to help you ethically improve your rankings and turn qualified traffic into paying customers. Ready to get started?