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Natalie Mott - Common SEO myths and misconceptions

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Natalie will talk through common SEO myths and misconceptions. This talk is designed to quash some of the weirder SEO rumours, answer some of the common queries that SEO suppliers/managers receive from clients and stakeholders, allay fears about mysterious penalties that Google may or may not inflict on your site and help you make informed decision about how to best proceed with your SEO project.

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Natalie Mott - Common SEO myths and misconceptions

  1. 1. Myth: SEO is a dark art
  2. 2. Only as much as other marketing channels
  3. 3. Myth: You need to keep creating new content because Google values freshness
  4. 4. Fine, but the content needs to be good
  5. 5. Myth: SEOs need to chase the algorithm
  6. 6. Only the bad ones.
  7. 7. How to respond to Google Updates Negative impact Neutral Positive Impact No SEO Get an SEO Still consider doing SEO Two schools of thought: 1. If it ain't broke… 2. SEO can help you capitalise on your position further Existing SEO, question marks over strategy Review strategy, check for clear red flags such as: Bought links Spammy links Thin content Poor quality content Technical errors Review strategy, check for anything that may be holding you back Review strategy also. It's possible a site can be ranking well in organic search in spite of itself, particularly if a low competition vertical or if the site is a well-known brand. Existing SEO, satisfactory strategy Monitor the effects of the update and look out for possible gaps in the strategy, otherwise "keep calm and carry on" Keep doing what you're doing Keep doing what you're doing
  8. 8. Myth: Link building is dead and…
  9. 9. Myth: Link Building is all Digital PR now
  10. 10. There is still a lot of merit in prospecting sites that are not blogs or news sites
  11. 11. 1. Partnerships 2. Unlinked mentions 3. Link reclamation (404s) 4. Link lists
  12. 12. Digital PR campaigns can be impressive, however many links obtained are often nofollow*, and their direct impact on SEO can be minimal *Recent changes to nofollow may affect this standpoint
  13. 13. It is usually the amplification of a PR campaign across these platforms to sites that offer follow links that lead to organic growth
  14. 14. When making multiple changes on an SEO campaign, it is often difficult to assess the impact of an individual change or action
  15. 15. However, your digital PR partner should be able to demonstrate the impact of their campaign on your SEO performance, in context
  16. 16. 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 4500 Mar-19 Apr-19 May-19 Jun-19 Jul-19 Aug-19 Sep-19 Oct-19 Nov-19 Dec-19 Jan-20 Feb-20 Keywords and Linking Domains Correlation - SEMRush Total Keywords (SEMRush) Referring Domains (SEMRush)
  17. 17. Myth: The more you spend on Google Ads, the better your SEO will perform
  18. 18. Google still loves brands **or entities at least
  19. 19. Anything you can do to build your brand will have a knock-on impact on your SEO in the long run
  20. 20. Brands will typically have more marketing budget to invest in PPC
  21. 21. https://www.slideshare.net/EmilyPotter7/final- women-in-tech-seo-emily-potter-2020-229598481/47
  22. 22. Myth: Social Media has a direct impact on SEO
  23. 23. Like PR that leads to unlinked mentions and nofollow links, social media can have an indirect impact on your SEO, by building your brand and putting more eyes on your content
  24. 24. Myth: You’ve been hit by a duplicate content penalty
  25. 25. https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2008/09/demy stifying-duplicate-content-penalty.html
  26. 26. However… 1. Duplicate content can cause your preferred content to be ignored 2. Large amounts of thin content can deplete crawl budget 3. Unique content (e.g. product pages) allows you to differentiate
  27. 27. If you believe you have a duplicate content penalty, it’s more likely that the algorithm has identified higher quality answers to the queries your site is supposed to be answering
  28. 28. Myth: Tech Audits have to be massive
  29. 29. Is this familiar?
  30. 30. There is no need.
  31. 31. (Roughly) 80% of technical improvements will come from 20% of the issues that could be at play
  32. 32. 1. Canonicals 2. Hreflang 3. Internal linking / XML sitemaps 4. Redirects 5. Index bloat 6. Robots.txt 7. JavaScript caching & rendering 8. Site speed
  33. 33. An audit that omits these key areas should be viewed with suspicion
  34. 34. Here are some of the less important factors in a tech audit
  35. 35. 1. Missing or duplicate meta descriptions 2. Page titles / meta descriptions too long* 3. Multiple H2s 4. Too many on-page links 5. Too many parameters in URLs 6. Low text to HTML ratio *The implication of overly lengthy titles and meta descriptions is that they will either be ignored, truncated, or less effective
  36. 36. Myth: You can delete redirects after a certain amount of time
  37. 37. NO
  38. 38. Also, sort out your redirect chains
  39. 39. “But 301 redirects pass 100% of link equity now. So do 302s”
  40. 40. IT DEPENDS. But redirect chains are a definite no because of: •Impact on PageSpeed •Real world evidence of PageRank / link equity decay despite Google’s view
  41. 41. Myth: Writing content for search engines is different to writing for the user
  42. 42. You need to develop a clear understanding of your audience’s needs
  43. 43. Keyword research will provide you with a lot of that picture
  44. 44. Meet your audience’s needs by applying the findings from your keyword research
  45. 45. This is NOT the same as writing for search engines. Use search data and insights to write for people
  46. 46. If you can’t reasonably reference a keyword without compromising the quality of your copy, leave it
  47. 47. https://www.google.com/about/philosophy.html
  48. 48. Myth: Visibility scores from third parties are an accurate measure of your SEO performance
  49. 49. They can be useful in conjunction with your own proprietary Analytics data, but do not be fooled…
  50. 50. Myth: “Keyword density”
  51. 51. NO
  52. 52. In summary…
  53. 53. SEO as dark art “Freshness” Chasing the algorithm Link building vs digital PR Google Ads Social signals Duplicate content Massive tech audits Redirect issues Writing “for search engines” Visibility metrics “Keyword density”
  54. 54. Thank you @njmott

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