SEO Works: Misconceptions, Common Problems, the Solution & Lifting Penalties
SEO: There are so many beliefs and ways that some people think are right. It’s not a simple or even a feasibly comprehensible 1 way solution to web marketing. Luckily, the people at Arcane Marketing have been in the SEO game for over 10 years (each) and have seen all of the basics and changes along the way. It’s safe to say that we completely understand SEO and it’s intricacies. It’s helped us to establish the right kinds of strategies that actually do work (complex or not).
Since brand launching and brand popularity are the target, you attempt to build your website’s reputation according to the recommended SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) strategies. You apply SEO methods and even devise further crafty plans. As a content producer, blogger, and social media personality, you pour your heart out into the project.
To gain authority and recognition for your brand in a particular industry, you begin investing considerable amounts of time, money, and effort. Eventually (and fortunately), you became successful. You pat yourself on the back for a job well done as a number of people are now familiar with your brand.
8 Popular SEO Misconceptions
With regard to the introduction, you achieved success as you launched your brand. Then again, should branding (or the process of brand introduction and promotion) be the only goal? For what it’s worth, you’re on the right track. The application of SEO strategies, especially the recommendations, can work brilliantly for the purpose. However, since you can get more and reap outstanding rewards from your brand, are you willing to take the extra step? If you are, learning more about SEO is the way to go.
Listed below are 8 misconceptions people often believe about SEO, sadly:
1. Misconception: Impressive SEO is about tricks.
Impressive SEO is usually behind a great website—one that is built for the target audience and/or demographic. It is responsible for organic traffic (or website traffic that originates from unpaid search results); with its offer of quality and satisfactory user experience, it can awe visitors and generate leads. Due to its design that revolves around informative, relevant, and engaging content, it can dominate search engine rankings.
While it is true that it can extend to cunning abilities, SEO isn’t about tricks; it isn’t about outsmarting Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines and learning to bend the standards. Avoid taking advantage by monetizing based on the industry’s discrepancies. The application of SEO strategies should, therefore, be accomplished sincerely; black hat and corrupt SEO practices (such as cloaking, page swapping, and creating duplicate content) should be eliminated. A small goal may involve getting on search engines’ good side, but the main idea isn’t supposed to be deceptive. Rather, the focus should be on engineering a brilliant website in accordance to the rules. If you want to know more about what to do or how the search engines actually view your website, you need to review or set up your account in both Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
2. Misconception: Organic traffic and search engine rankings can increase due to paid advertising.
There are talks of paid advertising raising organic traffic as well as search engine rankings. According to some, to achieve the goal, you should invest in PPC (or Pay Per Click Management). Since it’s paid, it’s going to work, right?!.
However, it’s a common misconception as PPC hardly provides any advantage to a website. Sure, it increases the frequency of brand advertisements, and it’s biggest purpose is to help people who are searching for you find you easily, but its purpose lies solely on raising the times that ads appear on search engines; it has nary an effect to online reputation or rankings. Remember, the money is for ads; paid advertising doesn’t exactly include issuing payments to potential visitors to appreciate your brand, let alone visit your website. It remains that even if you haven’t laid out money in PPC, you are entitled to SEO success.
Moreover, those who have invested in PPC advertising can attest that paid advertising doesn’t boost traffic organically or put their websites at the top of search engine rankings; an apparent separation between the algorithm of search engines and paid advertising was established. In fact, they say that they aren’t even given special consideration regarding search quality; search engines screen websites fairly. Despite paying millions monthly, they are rid of privileges.
3. Misconception: Crawling and indexing are important to SEO success.
This misconception is still a confusing one because it still matters, however, not to the degree that we’ve heard other SEO agencies and clients talk about it. Indexing, and the abilities the search engines have, is certainly improving with time and technology. Crawling, an automated path-following technique, and indexing, an automated listing technique, are processes that sometimes come up in numerous discussions of SEO strategies. According to a few, these two processes are essential for the discovery of a particular website and can, therefore, raise its search engine rankings. However, it is merely a myth.
Indeed, crawling and indexing can help, but they are unsupportive of the foundation of a great website—one that can attain high page ranks due to its quality. A website’s overall content should be the main concentration.
Moreover, crawling and indexing are not as important anymore due to modern changes. From the 1990s to the mid-2000s, for a website to be discovered, the most common way is to ping website directories and search engine listings as well as. Now, with the offered convenience of social media platforms, this practice is unnecessary. The search engines are now able to not only see most of the social posts, but can follow and index them. It’s been said that a poor-man’s sitemap can be achieved through tweeting your specific pages through Twitter (or at least speed up the index process). Hopefully it’s obvious that you need to do much more than that in order to have your website indexed and looking as shiny as possible.
4. Misconception: All meta tags are important.
There are 3 types of meta tags: (1) meta keywords or the comma-separated sets of words that convey website context, (2) meta descriptions or the description of individual web pages, and (3) meta title tags or the keyword-laden lines that show up in search results. It’s important to learn the roles of the 3 meta tags since they are all significant to a website. However, while integral, not all 3 of them are equally important.
The focus should be more on the meta title tags. If the meta title tags of a website match a search, that website will appear. Why not give a hands-on exercise on the topic a go? Try searching for a batch of words using Google. Results with bolded words will then be returned; these bolded words are part of the meta title tag.
Tips on creating good meta title tags:
- Use relevant topic keywords at the beginning; important topic keywords should be found within first 60 characters.
- Avoid the use of too many stop words (such as for, with, to, in, and at) or words that break up the primary keywords. For example, if the primary keywords are “plumbing tools sale,” the meta title tag should be something along the lines of “Plumbing Tools Sale | Huge Discounts on Plumbing Equipment.”
- Concentrate on website description, and specifically what that particular page is about; avoid repetitive inclusion of brand name.
5. Misconception: Keyword-rich websites can go a long way.
Since the objective is the creation of quality content, impressive SEO should focus on filling up a website with informational and educational relevant content. In doing so, keyword-rich pages shouldn’t be set aside. The goal here is not to just include your important keyword many times over. Google is looking for pages that are highly informative with substantiated information based on a topic. You should strategically use the right batch of terminologies; choose words wisely and choose the probable ones that target visitors will type when using search engines. Keywords serve as a guideline; they play an important role in guaranteeing that discussions of sorts are not off-topic.
Then again, avoid the excessive use of keywords and key phrases; use the target terminologies moderately. Keyword-stuffed content isn’t something to be proud of; it actually makes the readability meter decline. It increases the amount of content, but rather than create value, it only contributes nonsense and gibberish to a website. Appreciating the concept of keyword density (or the ratio of words to the number of keywords) is one thing; keyword stuffing and keyword spamming are another thing entirely.
Here’s an example of bad content:
We sell assorted trampolines. The trampolines for sale can be viewed at our website’s gallery. You can choose from available trampolines—depending on trampoline size, trampoline type, and trampoline brand.
Don’t forget, you want to inform your visitor, not just the search engines. You can impress the search engines a lot better by including a lot of good information, education, and make your page look authoritative. It’s okay to talk about particular keywords, but you want to become the king of the topic. That is the key to getting your page to perform well. We don’t refer to this as keyword ranking, but rather on-page topic SEO.
6. Misconception: The more inbound links there are, the better.
Since you may have heard the discussion about the advantage of inbound links, you may assume that making space for inbound links will help brand promotion. You actually start creating posts and befriending other website owners so that in exchange, they can feature your website as well. Consequently, online visibility will be dramatically boosted.
However, you should avoid rushing matters if you’re leaning toward getting outstanding results. Inbound links can be beneficial for your website but only if the set of inbound links has a right to be there. Adding irrelevant inbound links is a counteractive measure. By adhering to the logic used in SEO, quality trumps quantity. To take that point a little further, relevant quality trumps quantity. Like in the previous discussion about keyword stuffing, the practice can lead to a penalty from search engine teams. Incoming traffic can be expected, but it’s unwanted traffic in this case; neither your brand nor your visitors will benefit from it. An important question you have to ask yourself is: How does this link help my topic?
The focus should therefore be on the inclusion of relevant inbound links that support or substantiate your page topic. Stay away from the allure of wheeling (or exchanging links with random website owners). Avoid adding virtually useless links; prioritize space for matters as well as websites that are important in your industry. For example, if your target audience consists of mason jar re-sellers, your inbound links may include designers of mason jars, wholesale mason jars retailers, and assorted mason jar designs.
What should link building look like instead?
There are 2 other major points of link building that most people fail to realize. (1) The amount of links you’ve had pointing to your website historically matters compared to the amount of new links you’re planning to build. You can’t go too fast or you’ll be penalized… even if they are good links. We call this “link velocity”. It’s the amount of new or lost links over a period of time. (2) The places you obtain links from should vary, just like a natural website would be able to achieve. You can’t have just a large quantity of just 1 type of link. For example, don’t go overboard on directory submissions. Having 100 directory links and 0 of another kind of link from another source makes your link building look unnatural and suspicious. It’s easy to see this type of activity from the search engines perspective and easy to catch you in the act. Don’t get penalized by taking the lazy road to link building. Diversify your links and the types you acquire as well as how fast you acquire them.
7. Misconception: SEO methods are classic methods.
Since SEO is an ever-evolving process, SEO recommendations can easily become outdated. Due to new and modern demands, the accepted practices are modified regularly. 5 years ago, the application of the same methods may be ideal as the methods can improve online presence and increase profit potential significantly. Today, however, many of these classic methods and strategies are virtually useless. In fact, some of the original practices can cause penalties. It’s important to know what the SEO strategies of today are and you almost have to forget what companies used to do 5 years ago. It’s a completely different ball game today.
Long gone are the days when SEO somehow had the same goal as that of traditional advertising. Back in the early days, the traditional methods mainly revolved around commercialization, keyword repetition, and ad repetition. Regardless of its possible influence, the idea was to get the brand known and ranking for basic sets of keywords.
Especially if you’re aiming for long-term SEO results, always remember to regularly update your methods of SEO applications. Particularly, you should focus on the newest influential factors (to search engines) and algorithm updates since the guidelines change over time. Since there are new developments (such as Google’s Panda Update and smart metrics) in the field, you definitely wouldn’t want to be left behind in the game. For example: social media marketing now plays a large influence on how well your content is received by your audience and how much authority the search engines might give you credit for.
8. Misconception: SEO is simply about ranking #1 in search results.
Indeed, being the dominant website in a particular industry is important. SEO, however, is not simply about the rankings. Don’t get us wrong, it’s always neat and impressive to see your URL as the #1 result in Google for a given keyword query. As the leader in your category, you should remember that visitors who exhibit interest in your brand consider you as their go-to resource. Due to your dependable reputation, you gradually earn the trust of target audiences, potential customers, and even the general crowd. It’s well known that the general audience that searches online considers the top of Google to be closely regarded as the most trusted results. That’s right, automatic trust from most people, just for being at the top.
Being ranked #1 may be the goal in your mind, but the means to achieve the top of Google matters more. To sum up the other reasons, the main focus should be on the establishment of an outstanding website for your brand; on the side, your brand will gain a remarkable reputation of its own.
What SEO should be about (apart from aiming for #1):
- First and foremost, a good user experience with website layout and information presented
- A well web-mastered website so that not only is your website functional, but the small details are paid attention to
- Content creation or the website’s highly informative and valuable features
- Website usability or the website’s functionality with regard to readability, speed, and performance
- Direct marketing or the process of distributing services from your brand directly
- Keyword targeting or the process of connecting with users through definite words and phrases based on topics that you can present in a professional and entertaining manner
- Lead acquisition/ecommerce revenue or the process of establishing traffic to your website through the most influential industry names
- Link building or the gradual inclusion of links as well as trustworthy and relevant outside sources
- On-page and off-page optimization or the strategic design process for your website
- Positive influential impact or the establishment of your brand’s ability to be recognized as industry leader
- Reputation management or the establishment of your brand’s credibility; also refers to the establishment of your website’s reputation as a dependable source
Common SEO Penalties & the Solution
Search engine teams consider certain SEO methodologies questionable, and even perceive these methodologies as a means for further bad practices. Consequently, this leads to banishment or removing of your URL from the search index. You should thus figure out if your website (or your website’s homepage) is still listed in the search engines results. Take measures to have it indexed again by coordinating with Google Search Console. You should also figure out the reason for your website’s banishment and immediately modify your SEO strategies accordingly.
Penalty: Manipulative linking and deceptive hosting
Manipulative linking is accountable to search engine teams’ penalties since it forces unnecessary traffic. You may get visitors, but these are visitors who are not interested in your brand. Some of the types of links to avoid are article marketing links, websites with cleansing domains, blogs with single posts, over-optimized anchor text links, and low-quality press releases.
- Make sure that your website still ranks according to uniquely branded terms or its domain name.
- Check and remove irrelevant and potentially harmful outbound links.
- Make sure that your website is user-friendly; avoid disabling functions (such as the back and exit buttons) that would otherwise force visitors to stay.
- Avoid hiding codes through crafty use of CSS and NoScript tags.
- Remove paid links and avoid engaging in wheeling.
- Remove irrelevant inbound and devaluated links.
Cloaking is a process that involves the submission of 2 different batches of reports; the reports passed to search engine teams vary from the reports that are viewable to your website visitors. However, while it is sometimes considered acceptable (i.e. It can raise traffic.), cloaking methods can lead to SEO-related penalties. To be safe, it is therefore recommended to eliminate the practices by divulging information openly.
- Evaluate all the information on your website.
- Avoid hiding HTML codes.
- Remove redirect URLs.
Penalty: Off-site and on-site spam
If your website has a bounce rate (or immediate clicks to a different website) of greater than 50%, it could mean that little to no effort was exerted for the engagement of visitors. Since search engine teams are convinced that your website is incapable of satisfying visitors, they can view this as a valid reason to issue a penalty.
- Filter information and make sure to remove unnecessary data.
- Remove low-value, overlapping, and duplicate content.
- Removed scraped content or unoriginal content
- Remove ad-heavy web pages.
- Remove irrelevant inbound and outbound links.
Penalty: Keyword stuffing
Since enhancing informative value is the primary concern, keyword stuffing can get your website banned. Using the right terms can win you potential visitors, but only through proper usage can visitors find enough reasons to remain on your site and explore further. While there are clever ways to use keywords and key phrases, try not to go overboard. Always make sure that quality is delivered.
- Evaluate meta tags; make sure that keywords and key phrases are used sparingly.
- Remove repetitive content; remove posts about similar topics.
- Write fresh, high-quality content.
What to Do with Search Engine Penalties
In case you were unable to avoid committing erroneous SEO practices due to the different misconceptions about SEO, you should take initiative by reversing the situation immediately. Specifically, you should apply the measures necessary for lifting the penalties. Search engine teams may not have the legal permission to reject a website, but they hold the authority to take action upon identifying violations; insisting with flawed methodologies can jeopardize brand reputation and put you on a blacklist. Remember that inclusion in search engine rankings is a mere privilege; it is not a right.
- Build trust between your website and search engine teams. It can be accomplished by enabling website registration with search engines’ Webmaster Tools.
- Check for accessibility-related issues; detect server errors, spam alerts, warning messages, and broken pages. It’s not a rare possibility for your website to be flagged for spam when, in fact, accessibility is the problem.
- Modify corrupt SEO practices. List down faults then fix them before submission. For example, with a keyword-stuffed page in your website. Consider writing a much better version by adhering to the rules on keywords.
- Prepare for submission. Remember to establish a trustworthy reputation by disclosing all information (even sensitive data) to search engine teams. You should admit to corrupt SEO practices if you are guilty of such. It can benefit both parties; while helping you earn trust, it can help the search engine teams improve algorithms.
- Continue building trust between your website and search engine teams. Instead of a public form submission, send a re-inclusion request directly to search engines’ Webmaster Tools service.