Google, the giant of all search engines, considers in excess of 200 ranking factors when deciding which webpage is most relevant to a users search query.
With so much information being shared outside the realms of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, we decided to set the story straight on some of the most common SEO ranking myths.
MYTH 1: More Pages Means More Rankings
There’s a common misconception that having more pages, which cover similar topics, will help you gain better overall rankings – Wrong.
There are updates in place that specifically analyse the quality of the content within your website. If you have an additional page that covers the same theme but maybe uses a synonym or broad match keyword, you are doing more harm than good. By removing low quality content or consolidating similar themes and topics you can actually improve traffic levels.
MYTH 2: Structured Data is a Ranking Factor
Applying structured data to a page is not in itself a ranking factor. But, there is a correlation between structured data and increased traffic. Applying structured data can trigger rich snippets within the search engine results pages, in turn, this can lead to an increase in click-through rate, which could result in a temporary boost in rankings. However, simply adding structured data to a page isn’t the root cause of better rankings.
MYTH 3: More Links Means Better Rankings
Link building is a huge factor in a successful organic search strategy. However, having more links doesn’t mean you’ll get better rankings. For example, acquiring links from orphaned pages, such as archived articles that Google no longer looks at, will have no benefit whatsoever to your rankings. There is a correlation between the number of referring domains and rankings, assuming Google can find the referring domains. However, in this case better links means better ranking – quality over quantity.
MYTH 4: Word Count Restrictions
Search engines are sophisticated enough to know if the content on your page is relevant to the user’s query. We often see chatter on online claiming you need to have a minimum of 300 words per page in order for it to rank, however this isn’t the case.
Depending on user intent, your content needs to adequately answer questions to meet needs above the fold. You should aim to create as much content deemed necessary to answer those questions or needs – and that number is subjective.
MYTH 5: Long Form Content Helps You Rank
Writing more content than necessary doesn’t translate into better rankings. If someone is searching for something informational-based, which requires in depth content in order to be useful to the user, then long form content is beneficial – but only if it focuses on user intent and is able to generate links. Blog posts are the most common examples of pages that occupy long form content. By default these pages are less successful at converting but imperative for generating quality traffic to your site.
In all, what may have worked 2 or 3 years ago no longer works today. Search engines are constantly evolving their algorithms to ensure that the service they offer to users is consistently positive. Don’t let these SEO ranking myths hold your site back from the traffic it deserves!