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Three common SEO myths to avoid

Doing what we do, every now and again you hear from someone that’s been on the wrong end of some poor SEO advice. They’ve been told that by doing this magic little thing Google will love their website all the more than it currently does and that they’ll potentially see an increase in their rankings as a result.

They range from the downright odd, to those little technical pearls of wisdom from those who believe they can game the system. Let’s take this opportunity to dispel a few myths we’ve heard of recently….

You need lots of text on your homepage

Quite a common one this; you’ll be told that Google needs lots of text on your home page so that it understands exactly what your site is about.

Sounds plausible doesn’t it?

To a certain extent it is; Google does need plenty of written content across your site in order to understand what it is you’re all about, but it doesn’t need reams of text on the home page to do this. If you’ve been told that you need to be writing several paragraphs of text for your home page in order to increase your rankings then the chances are you’re being sold a folly.

We’ve worked with a photographer who is ranked one for the highest volume key phrase in that industry in Devon.

How many words on their home page?

Less than 100!

Have some text on your home page but don’t believe it needs to be 500 words or more. People have short attention spans, and no more so on the internet, which takes us on to the next myth…

People don’t really read your text so stuff it with key phrases

If you’re thinking about key word density (which is the number of times a word or phrase you’re trying to rank for appears within your text vs the total amount of words in your text) then you’re probably already in trouble.

Writing for a search engine rather than a human is not a good idea. Yes we do have short attention spans but we still read; we still need to understand what it is you have to offer and how your product or service fulfils our needs.

Something I’ve banged on about for years is that if you’re talking about a subject then you’re going to mention it within your text. Google is going to understand it and you’re going to rank where you need to.

Generating content around topic areas that you want to rank for is a far better idea than thinking you can game the system and mention a word several times.

It won’t read well, so even if you did rank well, the person reading it isn’t going to enjoy it anyway!

And again, moving nicely onto my last myth for today….

Creating pages on your site for geographical locations you’re not based in

It’s sometimes tempting to want more. We’d all love to rank for every local town and city in order to drive even more business to our door. So what some will do is look for ways in which they can achieve this.

The most common way is to create a new page on your site dedicated to that area, so for example we would add a page to our own website and base all of the content around “web design Exeter”.

Problem is that Google wants to give people searching for that phrase some relevant local companies and ours doesn’t meet that criterion; we’re not in Exeter, so why rank us highly for it?

The next problem you face is that the person is searching for a company that is in Exeter, so we’re not technically what they’re looking for either.

So we’ve spent all that time creating a page for people that aren’t specifically looking for us, and what that means is that Google isn’t so keen on displaying us.

Still sound like a good idea?

Didn’t think so!

There’s plenty of great SEO people out there (we’re pretty good ourselves!), so if they’re making it sound overly complicated then give us a shout and we’ll sort the myths from the correct approach.

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