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5 Things That Don’t Help You Rank Better In Search

matt-willson
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Everyone knows something about “SEO” – they were taught it by a colleague, it was something that definitely worked last time they did it, or they read it in an email from an expert recently.

The trouble is, there are a lot of people spending time – and money – on efforts they believe will get their website to rank better in search, but which don’t actually have any direct effect on rankings.

In some cases, these techniques might be part of an indirect effect which helps – but just doing them on their own makes no difference.

However, it’s worth dispelling some myths so here are the 5 most commonly-held misbeliefs we hear regularly about what drives search visibility and how you rank on Google.

1. Heading (H1s, H2s etc) and keywords within them

Whilst it’s best practice for your HTML to be semantically correct, with a single H1 and subsequent headings marked up accordingly – Google doesn’t actually care. Neither does it care where you have your targeted keyword phrases within those headings or not.

2. Having video on your website

We often here this from – surprise, surprise – people who create video for websites.  Having a video on a webpage has no direct effect on how your site ranks.  Indirectly, if you have good quality, relevant video that answers your users’ needs, it could help by giving Google signals of quality, such as good retention of visitors from search pages. But just sticking a few YouTube videos on your homepage is doing no good at all when it comes to improving the site’s ranking.

3. Having social sharing counters on your website

Got a webpage that’s been shared thousands of times? Well done.  Does Google care about that figure appearing via a widget on your webpage? No. Sorry. Again, if it’s an amazing page for your users’ needs, that will help – but don’t go buying Shares and Likes from a Facebook farm thinking it will make any difference (remember the simple rule – if it’s easy to do or buy – Google doesn’t pay any attention to it).

4. Having a low bounce rate

We have plenty of sites that have a high bounce rate (visitors leaving without viewing a second page) and still having fantastic search visibility.  Google doesn’t care about bounce rate per se – it cares about your page’s ability to fulfil a user’s search needs.  If that means they search, go to your page, then go away happy – Google’s happy too. If however, people keep finding your site then heading back to the search results and clicking on other search results – that could be a problem. That’s a simple signal to Google that the user didn’t find what they wanted, in relation to their search phrase, on your website. Over time, this can push your site down the rankings. But a high bounce rate on its own is not necessarily a bad thing.

5. Putting your targeted search phrase into the meta keywords tag

Surprising that this needs to be said – but we still hear it often enough to give it a place in our top 5. Unless you have a time machine and want to head back to the 1990s (and let’s face it, if you have got a time machine, you probably should be living like Biff Tannen instead of doing SEO), you don’t need to be using the meta keywords tag.

Instead, spend time on understanding:

  • Who should be using your website
  • What their needs are
  • How you can answer their needs better than anywhere else on the web.

You should also be:

  • Promoting your business and get mentions elsewhere on the web
  • Get your business talked about in local (online) media
  • Be a better business than the competition, and get recognised for it.

That’s the best way to spend your time and money to get better search visibility.

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