6 Big Myths About SEO

Your understanding of the way Google works is probably three or four years out of date–and that’s an eternity in Web time.

SEO Marketing

Myth 1: Metatag Descriptions Help Your Rankings

Not anymore; in fact, metatags are no longer even indexed by Google and Bing. But don’t ignore them altogether: Your metatags form the text that is displayed along with your link in the search results–and a more compelling description will compel more users to click on your listing instead of on others.

Here’s example of ours; the metatag is everything below the URL.

co-founder

Myth 2: The More Inbound Links, the Better

False. In all the recent updates to Google’s algorithm, the search giant has made it a core priority to have quality trump quantity. Gone are the days of having thousands of superlow-quality links driving up rankings; in fact, creating those links can look spammy and get your site penalized.

SEO MarketingFocus on obtaining links from sites that are relevant to your products, services, or industry–and on having those links be surrounded by relevant text. A blog review about your “blue widget” that links to your site is far more valuable than a rogue link for “blue widget” stuck in the footer or sidebar of some site–even a highly ranked one.

Myth 3: PageRank Still Matters

Google’s infamous PageRank (named after Google co-founder and now-CEO Larry Page,mind you) is a 1-to-10 ranking of the overall authority of every website; the bigger the number, the higher the rank. In years past, this seemingly all-powerful number dominated the attention of SEO experts.

But today, Google’s algorithm has evolved well beyond any single indicator. The PageRank still exists, and if all things are equal, a higher PageRank trumps a lower one–but factors such as relevance and context matter, too.

As with inbound links: If you run a dental practice in Los Angeles, it’s better to have a link from a site that reviews doctors and dentists in L.A., even if it has a PageRank of 4, than to have a paid link with no context in a huge site with a higher PageRank of 7.

Myth 4: Google Prefers Keyword-Rich Domains

In years past, Google seemed to put a disproportionate amount of emphasis on keywords in the domain name (what you may think of as the URL). For example, vinylhousesiding.comwould almost certainly be ranked first in a search for vinyl house siding.

Not anymore, says Google. If vinylhousesiding.com is in fact the more relevant, authoritative site on the topic, it will probably still rank first–but not because of its domain name alone.

Myth 5: Websites Must Be ‘Submitted’ to Search Engines

In 2001, yes, this was the case–indeed, this was the first service that my company, Wpromote, ever provided. But in 2012? Not at all. At this point, if there is any connection from any site to yours, your site will be quickly discovered by Google.

Note that being indexed is a far cry from achieving high rankings–but that initial step of submission is no longer needed or helpful.

Myth 6: Good SEO Is Basically About Trickery

False, false, false. Although there are still some SEO experts out there who go about their business trying to “trick Google,” this is absolutely not the way to provide good, lasting SEO.

Good SEO Marketing iis about creating a relevant, informative website, with unique content and great user experience, and encouraging the sharing and distribution of great content to drive organic publicity and links back to your site.

In the end, this is exactly what Google explicitly wants to reward with high rankings–so it is anything but “tricking” the search engines.

I’m planning to dive into other online marketing topics in the future, to find the biggest myths–so if you’ve got suggestions, please weigh in below.

Is your website up to date? Maybe you’re not sure, but that’s okay! Our job is to make sure business websites (ours and our clients’) stay on the cutting edge so they continue to function efficiently and effectively year after year. More websites exist today than ever before, so if you’re not keeping up with the latest trends, you’re falling behind your competition. Now is the time to think about next year, so we’ve compiled a list of predicted web design trends for 2017!

#1. RESPONSIVE DESIGN

You probably know that responsive web design, the ability for a website to automatically adapt to different screen sizes on different devices, has been the trend for years now. With new technology coming out every year, this is only expected to grow. In 2017, we should expect to see age-responsive design, where content will adapt to specific users based on their age and proficiency. Navigation menus, font sizes, and color schemes will adjust according to the competency of the user.

#2. VIDEO

Videos are becoming increasingly popular for websites, likely due to the increase in internet speed and wider accessibility for users. Many people also prefer to learn by watching video as opposed to reading a lot of content. According to Hyperfine Media, 96% of B2B organizations are already using video in some capacity in their marketing campaigns, and 87% of online marketers use video content.

#3. MESSAGE

Your website home page should have a clear, concise message that tells who you are and what you do in a matter of seconds. This should be the first thing a visitor sees on your site. If visitors can’t determine what you can do for them quickly after they land on your website, they’re likely to leave and never return. Capture their attention instantly with a meaningful message.

#4. STORYTELLING

Your website should tell your unique story using a combination of text and visuals. Storytelling has been a popular web design trend for a few years now, and it still holds great value. Show visitors who you are, where you came from, what you have to offer, or anything else you want them to know through video, animation, or photography, or lead them through your web page or website by getting them to scroll down or click somewhere. In order for your story to be portrayed successfully, it needs to be carefully and skillfully thought out and implemented.

#5. ORIGINALITY

Forget the stock photos! Get out the camera and take your own photos, or hire a professional photographer to take photos for your website. Cheesy stock imagery can project an unauthentic vibe, which you don’t want on your business website. You want your website to help you build trust with your visitors. Be original and relatable by integrating fun illustrations, bold typography, animations, and authentic-looking photography.

#6. INTERACTION

The microinteraction trend was huge in 2015. A microinteraction, according to microinteractions.com, is a contained product moment that revolves around a single task. Examples include setting an alarm, choosing a password, Liking something on Facebook, etc. In 2017, we as users are expected to engage in thousands of micro-mini interactions. Micro-mini interactions are basically microinteractions broken down into steps. If an example of a microinteraction is setting up a new password, a micro-mini interaction would be typing your password into your computer. Another would be retyping it to confirm, and another would be clicking the submit button to set it. Web designers and programmers will have to pay close attention to even the smallest details when building websites in order to make micro and micro-mini interactions as intuitive and effortless as possible.

#7. CMS

Content management systems like WordPress are becoming more advanced, customizable, and popular. They make it easy to add or edit content and keep your website up to date at all times.

 

With the rapid evolution of the online world, it’s important to stay up to date on the latest web design trends. If you need help updating your website or building a brand new website from scratch, contact Blue Frog Marketing. Based in Des Moines, Iowa, we serve customers across the U.S.

Is negative SEO real? Should you be worried? Is there anything you can do to stay safe? This post is an attempt to answer these questions.

The threat of negative SEO is remote but daunting. How easy is it to for a competitor to ruin your rankings, and how do you protect your site? But before we start, let’s make sure we’re clear on what negative SEO is, and what it definitely isn’t.

Negative SEO is a set of activities aimed at lowering a competitor’s rankings in search results. These activities are more often off-page (e.g., building unnatural links to the site or scraping and reposting its content); but in some cases, they may also involve hacking the site and modifying its content.

Negative SEO isn’t the most likely explanation for a sudden ranking drop. Before you decide someone may be deliberately hurting your rankings, factor out the more common reasons for ranking drops. You’ll find a comprehensive list here.

Knowing the latest SEO 2016 tactics are essential to keep your website competitive into the new year. It’s a known fact that SEO is undergoing rapid change. In the past four years, the strategies used to rank better have evolved drastically. You probably already know that the Google Penguin update will come into full effect by fall 2015 and this time it is going to be in real-time. With this update, plenty of changes are forecasted in the SEO world.

You’ll need to prepare yourself for avoiding the multitude of SEO moves that could get you in trouble. The following are 10 traps you should avoid in SEO 2016.

1. Link building

Back in February 2015, Google’s John Mueller said that webmasters should avoid link buildingbecause it’s unnatural. However, Google has recently clarified that buying, selling, or asking for links is alright as long as you don’t violate its Google Webmaster Guidelines. Therefore, it would be best to review your current link building approach to ensure that you’re not violating the rules. Otherwise, you might end up getting penalized by Google and your website could suffer long-term.

Takeaway: For SEO 2016, follow the advanced link building tactics or use search operators to find more link building opportunities.

2. Anchor texts

Since the first Penguin update in 2012, it’s become much riskier to use exact match anchor texts in search engine optimization. Abusing (whether unintentional or otherwise) anchor text can get you penalized for over-optimization in SEO 2016. That’s why you should opt to have just five to 10 links to a wide variety of anchor texts and a few major keywords.

A case study found on Moz revealed that you can have better rankings even if you use only a few exact match anchored links from web pages that are highly relevant. Also, search metrics ranking factor 2015 shows that using branded anchor texts has positive effects.

3. Targeting single or specific pages

A better link profile can boost your SEO 2016 efforts. It’s a much better approach than targeting single or specific pages to rank on Google. A good link profile is one of the most important SEO ranking factors, according to Neil Patel and other experts. I advise that you start building your link profile by performing a link evaluation through your Google Webmasters account.

4. Unfriendly mobile design

The mobile-friendliness of a website is now among Google’s top SEO 2016 ranking factors. This means that well-designed mobile-friendly websites perform better than those that aren’t optimized for mobile users. Certain factors, such as too small texts and close together links, may result in a website being rated non-mobile-friendly.

You need to optimize your page in a way that caters to mobile users. Due to the ever-increasing number of mobile users, creating a mobile-friendly design will also improve your site performance. You could even experience better conversion rates and user experience, which can again improve your SEO ranking further.

5. Low site user engagement

It’s a huge challenge to engage visitors on your website. This can pose a significant threat to your SEO 2016 success. Low user engagement is one of the leading contributors to a lower search engine ranking. However, you could improve user engagement by gaining insight into the preferences and behavior of your targeted audience.

Try performing A/B testing so that you can optimize your site for better user engagement. This basically involves using two similar, yet slightly different, designs to determine which results in the most clicks and conversions. Find out the choices that appeal most to your target audience, whether it’s with colors, fonts, offers, or word choice. You can then apply the successful result to your website to enhance your engagement and performance.

6. Poor user experience

Google takes into consideration the experience that users have when visiting your website. A bad user experience can damage your search engine ranking dramatically. The search engine will continue analyzing how users interact with your site for SEO 2016. Any sign of bad user experience will devalue you.
If users quickly click away or move back to the search result page to explore other sites, then it’s a red flag that your website doesn’t satisfy users’ queries. This reduces dwell time and increases pogosticking, which is one factor of low search engine rankings. Optimize your website for better user experience by ensuring it fulfills a need. Keep it visually appealing, easy to navigate, and consistently updated with high-quality content.

7. Lacking content creation

Fresh, original content is one of the major factors that will affect your SEO 2016 rankings. If you think updating your website with just one or two posts a month is enough, you better get ready to move lower in the rankings. It’s time to teach your users what you’re capable of. You need to focus on catering to users in your niche with a wide variety of fresh content that addresses their queries. Try to come up with at least one or two new posts every week to keep your site up-to-date. This can help you rank higher in Google based on its fresh factor.

Steady content creation can help you rank higher in Google based on your freshness factor. In addition to ranking better, fresh content is a splendid way to build better user engagement. Think about the possibilities of engaging your audience with content addressing a hot, trending topic. Updating your site with relevant content that interests your target audience could improve your traffic flow and conversions.

8. Lesser quality content

You already know that unique content is a great way to optimize your site for search engines. However, you should also focus on creating content that’s useful and valuable to visitors. Avoiding lesser quality content will enable you to get better user experience and higher search engine rankings. Think about how users would react if they see content that answers the questions they were asking.

Thin content is a part of the Google Panda update. The pages with content that has little or no added value are also affected. Some examples of thin content are: automatically generated content, doorway pages, copied content from other sources, and thin affiliate pages. If your website’s filled with content (unique) just for the search engines and not for users, it’s time you start churning up new, unique quality content.

9. Interstitial ads 

Google recently announced that it’ll soon start punishing mobile sites that use interstitial ads. You may come across a number of sites that give you the prompt to install the site’s app, which can be downright annoying. These ads block out the relevant content for which users visit the site until they can find the tiny “close” button. Visitors are often frustrated, thus user experience is negatively impacted.
From November 1, 2015 and on, these app-install interstitials will result in your site getting downranked on Google. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use these ads, but you must be prepared to automatically lose your “mobile-friendly” status. You may even end up losing everything you’ve worked so hard to earn. If you’re still implementing interstitial ads on your mobile site, make a few changes in time for this SEO 2016 update.

10. Misusing reconsideration requests

When you violate the Google Webmaster Guidelines, you get automatically or manually penalized. Once you have made the necessary changes to your site, Google allows you to send a reconsideration request. This process helps you in revoking any manual action taken against you. However, there are several sites that misuse these reconsideration requests and start violating the guidelines again after the penalty is revoked.

For instance, a webmaster might have received a manual action because of an unnatural link redirecting to another site. They can add the link to their no-follow list, submit a reconsideration request, and then delete the link from the list again after being successfully reconsidered. Using this kind of repeated violation tactic makes it more difficult to pass the reconsideration process again in the future. This is especially true if the violation was made with the intention to spam. Simply don’t misuse the opportunity.

Final Words on SEO 2016

With every algorithm update, Google is getting smarter at tackling all the tricks that some webmasters implement for better ranking. Finding loopholes and spamming sites may have helped people in manipulating their search engine rankings before. These unethical tactics will no longer work in their favor with the upcoming updates. In fact, they might end up punished for implementing such tricks and fall in the rankings.
If you’re at a risk of getting downranked from Google due to the aforementioned SEO 2016 traps, start making important changes so that you can avoid any future issues. Still have any doubts or questions? Feel free to ask me in the comment box below.