Forget These Old School SEO Thoughts

Written by Nick Stamoulis

What’s both exciting and challenging about SEO is that it’s an industry that is constantly evolving. What was considered best practice even just a few years ago might no longer be relevant. This is why it’s so important for those of us in the industry to stay informed by reading the search engine Webmaster Guidelines, visiting top industry blogs, and attending seminars and trainings. There are a few old school SEO thoughts that are still floating around as current SEO truths. The purpose of this post is to point them out and advise against thinking this way, which can both get your site into trouble and cause a lot of frustration throughout the SEO campaign.

#1 – SEO is about rank

“I want to be number 1 in Google!” Well, don’t we all but this really isn’t what SEO is about. If you hire an SEO firm just to hit that number one spot there’s a good chance that you will be very disappointed. First, it’s extremely difficult to get to number one, especially in a competitive industry and for a competitive keyword. Second, most legitimate SEO firms today will warn you against focusing on just rank. Rankings aren’t an accurate way to measure the success of an SEO campaign. Rankings fluctuate for many reasons. The personalization of search means that searchers will see something different in their search results based on their location, search history, social behavior, and more. In addition, the search algorithms are constantly being tweaked. Even a minor change can result in a move within a few positions. It doesn’t mean that you are doing anything wrong, it’s just the way it is. A much better indicator of SEO success is monitoring the number of visitors over the course of the SEO campaign and whether those visitors were qualified visitors that became conversions.

#2 – The more links the better

The search engines consider the links pointing to a site in order to determine how trusted the site is. Back in the day, the number of links mattered. This is why SEOs went out of their way looking for any place to get a link. The search engines caught on to the practice and have since changed how they view links. Now, it’s about the quality of the links pointing to a site as opposed to the quantity. So this means that a site that has 10,000 low quality link farm type links isn’t viewed as favorably as a site that may have less links, but they are all from high quality, legitimate sites that provide value.

#3 – Keyword density should be measured

SEO is all about keywords. In order to get your content to appear in the SERP for specific keywords, those keywords need to be included in that content. The old school thought was that you had to have the keyword in the content a certain number of times and even recommended a percentage per words on the page. However, the search engines are moving more towards viewing a page as a human reader would. Do they want to see the same keyword or keyword phrase over and over? Probably not. A page should absolutely be optimized for search, but in a way that is natural. Trying to fill a quota for a number of times the keyword should be on the page will result in a negative experience for the visitor.

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