With all the changes that SEO has undergone in the last couple of years, sometimes it’s hard to keep track of which words of SEO wisdom are to be trusted. It seems a few outdated SEO myths have somehow managed to slip through the cracks. We’re here to help you sort through some outdated tips in order to debunk just a few of those myths.
Myth 1: Keywords Must be Exact Every Time
It’s important that you optimize for the keywords most relevant to your audience, but they don’t have to be repeated word for word the same every time. Keywords are crucial, but content is king—if repeating keywords verbatim causes you to sacrifice having a natural and readable rhythm to your page then they’re not going to give you the results you’re hoping for. Fit them in so that they don’t disrupt the flow of your content, and don’t get too caught up in trying to make them perfectly exact each time you add them in. If they need to be broken up or varied, do it. Also, there is no hard and fast rule dictating how many times a given keyword should be used. Ideally,just try to include them in your page title, one of your headlines, your URL, and your body content—but not excessively.
Myth 2: You Need to Rank Number 1
Let’s face it, we all want to be number 1. But we don’t all have to be to see some of those same results. Studies on clickthrough rates and user behavior show that being at the top of the results page is the key to success, especially the top three, but there is also new information that shows that being on the top of subsequent pages can result in similar clickthrough rates. The moral of the story: being user-friendly can have just as much sway as simply being ranked at the tippy-top—in other words, you can still be one of the top dogs without being #1.
Myth 3: H1s Must Revolve Around Your Keywords
Keywords are, as you would assume, key. But, like many things, they stop doing you very much good when they’re abused. It’s more important to make a headline that spikes interest than one that’s simply structured around one (or more) keywords. When a title or headline is built around a keyword in a way that feels forced, your readers are going to notice. And though it may have worked in the past, stuffing your h1s and h2s with keywords is a trick that—especially after being done to death by spammers—even search engines have picked up on by now. Instead, put your energy and your effort into creating great content and quality headlines that let the reader know where the page is going to take them. Make h1s useful because, in the end, that’s what search engines, and readers, want anyway.
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