Search engine optimization is a constantly evolving field, and every time Google or the other major search engines decide that they need to improve their users’ experiences, “experts” come up with all kinds of new tips and tricks.
The real scoop is this: if you’re doing the right thing in the first place, which happens to be what Google has been asking everyone to do all along, you’ll be able to weather algorithm updates and come out better off than you were before.
So what is Google asking everyone to do?
Create value for searchers. Unfortunately, many law firms don’t even know where to begin.
The 7 Biggest SEO Myths… Busted
Naturally, there are things you need to do to maintain your site’s health – and part of keeping your site healthy is to avoid being sucked in by the seven biggest SEO myths.
SEO Myth #1: You should stop building links, because backlinks don’t matter.
Some people are claiming that link-building is dead, but the exact opposite is true.
Here’s the word, straight from Google’s Matt Cutts (he’s the head of Google’s Webspam Team): “We have run experiments like that internally, and the quality looks much, much worse. It turns out backlinks, even though there’s some noise and certainly a lot of spam, are still a really, really big win in terms of quality for search results.”
SEO Myth #2: Ranking doesn’t matter.
Of course ranking matters. The first organic result on Google gets 32 percent of all the clicks for the user’s query. The second result gets only 14 percent, and the numbers drop dramatically from there.
More than 71 percent of all searches result in a click within the first page’s organic results. How could ranking not matter?
SEO Myth #3: SEO is all about tricking the search engines.
Black hat SEO practices gave search engine optimization a bad name. However, SEO is essential – and it’s not about tricking the search engines. In fact, good SEOs won’t try to trick the search engines; getting caught trying to game the results puts websites in Google’s penalty box, and nobody wants that for their clients.
SEO Myth #4: PageRank is important.
PageRank used to be important, but it isn’t now – at least not in a meaningful way. Google uses more than 200 metrics in determining the value of a webpage (let that sink in for a minute and refer back to Myth #3).
Google’s John Mueller was asked when they’d update PageRank, and he said, “Probably never. This is something I think we’ve stopped updating, at least the toolbar PageRank that is shown. I don’t know the future of the Toolbar in general, but at least from the PageRank side, this is probably something we’re not going to update.”
SEO Myth #5: We don’t need Facebook, Twitter and other social media profiles to rank well.
Google doesn’t directly use Facebook shares or Twitter favorites in their search engine ranking algorithms, but they’re invaluable tools to make your site rank higher in the search engine results pages, or SERPs.
Because they help search engine crawlers find your pages so they can index them – and they help distribute your content, which leads to links and mentions. Every law firm needs a social media presence.
SEO Myth #6: There’s a “magic number” when it comes to keyword density.
Keyword density is dead, and it will never be revived. The Googlebot – the crawler that climbs through all of the data on websites – is far too smart to be tricked by outdated tactics like keyword stuffing. Yes, you do need keywords in your content. No, you don’t need a certain number of exact-match keywords.
Thanks to latent semantic indexing, or LSI, the Googlebot can tell what your pages are about without you repeating the same keyword over and over.
SEO Myth #7: SEO is a one-time effort.
Some law firms believe that once they’ve applied today’s SEO techniques to their websites, they’re set for life.
That couldn’t be farther from the truth.SEO is a continual effort because the search landscape is constantly evolving. When Google does something, the other search engines follow suit – and Google changes something every time they discover that they could make their search services better for their users.
There are literally dozens of SEO myths floating around the Internet, and they change as often as algorithms do. These seven are easily busted, but if you get sucked into any of them, you could be condemning your law firm’s website to the dark abyss of page 2, 3 or beyond – and then your potential clients will never find you.
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