Friday, August 18, 2017

Three SEO Myths: Fact or Fiction?

The website Moz has a page devoted to Google's Algorithm Change History, which cites a popular SEO statistic: "Each year, Google changes its search algorithm around 500–600 times."

SEO firms often cite this statistic to affirm the value of SEO: No business has the knowledge to track Google's changes; only a professional can track and react to the algorithm.

This is not true. Yes, SEO does require specialized knowledge--yet this knowledge is readily accessible online, from a diversity of sources, including Moz and Search Engine Land--and, ahem, The Organic SEO Blog.

The problem for most SEO newcomers (especially small business owners) is, simply, time.

SEO is not for professionals only. This is one of many myths that obscure SEO. Below we take a look at three more SEO myths and answer the question: fact or fiction?

Photo Source
Google and SEO are Enemies: FICTION

Yes, Google changes its algorithm frequently. The 500-600 number is an estimate; in reality, the number could be more or less. Even then, most of these changes are minor. Google only occasionally introduces a "major" algorithm update that changes search results in a fundamental way.

Google's major updates often present headaches for even the most knowledgeable and successful SEOs. And yet, website optimization, by nature, is a collaborative effort.

With each algorithm update, Google creates new guidelines for webmasters. Some complain about the hassle of adapting to these ever-changing guidelines, but any webmaster worth his or her salt understands that Google's purpose aligns with SEO's purpose: to deliver relevant information.

The best SEOs work together with search engines to create clean websites with searchable content that is relevant, error-free, and truly informative. From Google's point of view, this is precisely how the Internet improves. This is why the Google is often transparent about its algorithm updates.

Please read: "Google & SEO: Dynamic Partners"

Algorithms Changes "Punish" Websites: FICTION

A major element of the Penguin algorithm is its focus on bad links. In the past, some websites have been damaged by the way Google has defined bad links. And yet, as Search Engine Land reported in anticipation of a recent Penguin update, Google does its best to allow these sites to recover:

"Google could have done a Penguin update more frequently, but they want to push out an update that makes both webmasters and users happy. So they are working hard on making both happy. [Google] also said that if you disavow bad links now or as of about two weeks ago, it will likely be too late for this next Penguin refresh. But [Google] added that the Penguin refreshes will be more frequent because of the new algorithm in place."

Our obligatory penguin picture [Source]
It is a popular misconception, even in the SEO world, that the algorithm updates are a form of punishment. This "myth" is patently false. The updates are a form of tutelage: Google is trying to teach webmasters how to improve the Internet.

As we wrote before:

"With each update, Google explains precisely why the new algorithm is necessary, what will happen if you don’t follow the rules, and how to update your website to meet the new SEO standards. Yes, Google reveals this information. You might not know where to find it, but it certainly exists. A well-trained SEO professional will always stay up-to-date with all the major SEO techniques and updates."

Please read: "Bad Links? Bad News!"

SEO is Technocentric: Part, FACT, Mostly FICTION 

To understand SEO, many newcomers believe, one must adapt to the language, which is so often dismissed as technobabble. Keyword density. Title tags. Gateway pages.

For many, even the language, as obscure as it might seem, is not as inscrutable as SEO itself. Many website owners see SEO as technocentric, an esoteric art practiced only by development experts.

SEO does require technical knowledge (which is easily accessible, as noted above), but the cornerstone of SEO is not development. Most SEO campaigns are based on the simplest, most straightforward element of marketing: content.

With appropriate keywords, SEO attempts to create dynamic content.

In the SEO world, if anything, writing is key.

Read: The SEO Writer: Five Key Skills

Separate Fact from Fiction with an Honest SEO Firm: Stepman's SEO

At the Organic SEO Blog, we pride ourselves on the simplicity of our style. We hope to democratize the practice of SEO by explaining its elements in clear and precise terms. When we use jargon, we strive to explain its meaning. If you ever have questions about our posts, please leave a comment. Or better yet, call our blog's, Alex Stepman, of Stepman's SEO: 215-900-9398.