The last quarter of 2017 brought big changes at Google. Here are 8 SEO myths to leave behind in 2018. These are the rules- do what Google tells you to do.
8 SEO Myths to Leave Behind in 2018
1.) Myth – It’s OK to have an old website that is not mobile-friendly (no one looks on mobile for me anyway).
If you have a type of business where you feel that no one, and we mean no one, will ever look up your website on a mobile device of any kind, then you escaped the 2015 “mobilegeddon”. That is when Google started penalizing old desktop only websites, but only in mobile searches. NOT SO ANYMORE. This fall, Google announced they will (finally) revert back to one list of returns for every device. And they named it Mobile-First Indexing. Let that sink in. They are slowing rolling it out in early 2018.
You can read our report on Mobile-First Indexing, but in a nutshell, Google has gone from 1 search return list (desktop) to 2 (desktop and mobile) back to 1 (mobile). In 2018, if your site is not mobile-friendly, you may be in a world of “digital hurt” in 2018 because your old Pentium desktop and Cathode Ray Tube is about to display the mobile search returns. In 2018, having a desktop designed site that is not mobile-friendly, is the equivalent of using an IBM Selectric Typewriter to edit a document. For years, Google has been telling you to get a mobile responsive website. now the mobile search returns are headed to a CRT near you. Truth – The time is now. You must get a mobile-friendly site. Period.
2.) Myth – The Idea That You Must “Submit” Your Website to Google.
No list of SEO myths to leave behind in 2018 would be complete without exposing the “Priority Submission” myth. You may have received the emails that your website was “discovered” as lacking a “priority submission” to Google and it is pure nonsense. While you can submit a new URL to Google directly, Google clearly states that “we don’t add all submitted URLs to our index”. Google will find and crawl your website and do it far faster in 2018, than last year or last decade. You do not have to tell Google about your website. It’s just a way for the black hat SEO guys to sound like you missed a very important step, but for a charge (typically $20-$100, they will “fix it”. Truth – It’s a minor scam. Don’t fall for it. And if you do fall for it…do it for free.
3.) Myth – Submit Your Website to 100’s of Search Engines
Speaking of scams, did you know just 2 search engines have over 97% of the search engine market? That would be Google and Bing (Yahoo gave up using theirs years ago and now use both Google and Bing depending on the search query). Do you know anyone that regularly uses Ask or AOL? So submitting a website URL to any tertiary indexing domain is quite literally doing something in the wind. Get the picture? Heck, even YouTube, Amazon and Facebook get more searches than Bing. It’s a very distant second. Truth – Do Local SEO for Google (maps), do local SEO for Bing (maps), do Global SEO for Google and it works for Bing (and even the obscure search engines the black hat folks tell you that you have “missed”).
4.) Myth – Since I Don’t Sell Anything Online, I Don’t Need HTTPS Encryption
Have you ever noticed that some URLs start with “http://” while others start with “https://”? Perhaps you noticed that extra “s” and the “lock” icon that appeared in the address bar when you were browsing websites that require typing in sensitive information, such as when you were paying bills online. Back in August of 2014, Google announced that it had started using HTTPS as a ranking signal in their algorithm. This means that if your website still relies on standard HTTP, your rankings might suffer as a result. For all of 2015 and 2016, HTTPS remained a pretty “lightweight” signal, affecting fewer than even 1% of global queries (according to Google). So it was not a very important SEO signal at all. But while this is technically not an SEO myth, it’s about to get weird.
Because back in September 2016, Google announced that Chrome will flag HTTP pages as potentially unsafe starting in January 2017 with Chrome updates. This is part of a long-term plan to mark all HTTP sites as “un-secure”. So if you haven’t thought about encrypting, start thinking and doing. it plays a part in SEO, and in 2018, Chrome is now warning your users you are “un-safe”. Truth – It’s time to go HTTPS. Pull up your company website in Chrome and click on the I in the circle next to your domain. This is exactly what users see… “Your connection to this site in not secure”. Not exactly a good message for your users.
And if you are on Wix, Weebly or any other build your own site domain…best of luck setting up an HTTPS site.
5.) Myth – Google Can Now “See” Images
This is an SEO myth that is picking up steam. Due in part to Chrome’s ability to “search Google for this image”, as well as the inability to do any SEO on images in the various website builders like Wix, Go-Daddy and the rest of the DYI website builders, you might think that image optimization isn’t needed anymore.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Excluding image optimization will prevent your website’s SEO from being the best it can be, because search bots and spiders cannot see images on websites. Google relies on the file name, the alt-text, the description and the caption of the image for indexing and they all play a big part in SEO.
The image types Google can index include BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, WebP, And don’t use the camera filename of 20160821123.jpg. Rename the picture, such as the one here on the right renamed to Fury325coaster.jpg with an alt-text of The Fury 325 coaster at Carowinds, a description of “The Fury 325 coaster at Carowinds – Highest chain lift hill” and a caption of Fury 325 – Highest Chain Roller Coaster”. that’s four “Fury 325” SEO signals in one image. Truth – Image SEO is powerful stuff. That’s why it is so painfully missing from the DIY website builders.
6.) “Google Answers” Are For Wikipedia
If it wasn’t for the urgent need to upgrade websites to be responsive to every device and any size display, this would be higher on our list of SEO Myths to leave behind in 2018. And though it may seem like an impossible feat to beat out Wikipedia or big media sites for Google’s answer box spot, it’s completely doable for a small business. See the image over to the right here. That is one of our clients, in the Google Answer to a query of “bodyguards tampa” and was put to the top of the listings and separated from the others by a line below, because they created content that was more highly relevant than their competitors.
Is it worth your time and money? Yes – when you skip up a few lines and rank as #1 as a special feature. But that is hard work and plenty of SEO to get there. Truth – The better your content and SEO is, the more likely your website may be featured by Google.
7.) Myth – I Should Hire a SEO Firm That Guarantees I’ll Be On The First Page
As with any marketing activity, there are no guarantees of success. ANY SEO company that offers a guarantee of any kind is lying and small businesses are starting to get wise to this. Besides, if you read the fine print, they only guarantee first page results for keywords that get less than 100,000 search returns. Just try to search for something and get less than 100,000 returns. It’s nearly impossible. Unless you are searching for used rocket parts for a NASA rocket that flew in the 60’s and 70’s. Oops. Just Googled Used Saturn 5 Rocket Parts and got 308,000 returns. Truth- it’s a fake guarantee. Additionally, to lay this to rest per Google “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google”, not even Google.
8.) Myth – You’ve Convinced Me – I’ll Talk To My IT Guys about SEO
Last on our list of SEO myths to leave behind in 2018 is please don’t call in the guys who network your printers to do SEO. While SEO requires some degree of technical expertise, it also requires content creation (English Degree), Photoshop (Art Degree) and more. Perhaps SEO should not stand for Search Engine Optimization. After all, we are not optimizing the search engine. Google doesn’t need our help. Maybe it should be Simply Excellent Online. While SEO can be intimidating to a business owner, it’s really the content you create and how that is tweaked for Google that makes the difference. I may not know how to properly share a network printer, but I know what Google bots and spiders look for when indexing. We are more like traffic cops guiding the bots and spiders through your website and it’s various pages. Truth- It’s not overly technical, it’s a bit of writing skills, keyword research, and a little marketing. because a true marketer must know what people are typing (and increasingly saying) to Google.
In short, most every change Google initiates is done to increase user experience. Therefore, if you do what Google tells you to do, your customers will have a better user experience, and that reflects positively on you. It’s called Google Best Practices.
It’s what we do.
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