The world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is always evolving, just like everything else on the web! This means that things that previously mattered in days gone by, no longer should be a concern. Also, new things crop up that didn't used to matter, that now do!
Hubspot has put together a little e-book titled 18 SEO Myths You Should Leave Behind in 2017, which you can download the full-text of by clicking . I've gone ahead and highlighted five of these myths that you might find particularly surprising. Have a gander!
Myth #3: “Having a secure (HTTPS encrypted) site isn’t important for SEO.”
The truth is, HTTPS used to have no bearing on your search engine rankings. The conventionl "HTTP" (without the "S") protocol was the standard for all websites except for ones that dealt with sensitive data, like payment information. However, as of 2014, Google started using HTTPS as a factor in their search engine algorithms, slightly preferring sites that used the encrypted protocol. Google went even further in 2016, when it started calling out websites as "Not Secure" in the address bar if there were input fields on the page for sensitive data, like credit cards, or even just passwords. Word is that Google will eventually use this "Not Secure" callout even if there are no sensitive fields on the page. It's part of their larger effort to urge all websites to use encryption.
Check out our post here for more info on making your site secure.
Myth #5: “Meta descriptions have a huge impact on search rankings.”
People have been emphasizing meta descriptions for years, and for good reason. It's not because they affect search rankings ∵ it is because it affects your clickthrough rate. A well-crafted meta description will appear as the detail text (under the page title) on a search result and you want that description to entice the user to "click through" to your webpage (hence, "clickthrough"). It's the one piece of content other than the page title that has a shot of grabbing a user's attention. Make it good!
Myth #12: “Good user experience is an added bonus,
not a requirement.”
User experience is a factor in search engine optimization for multiple reasons. One such reason is that anyone who you entice to click through to your website will be more likely to stay a while and take further action if they have a good user experience. A good user experience is defined by a number of things, like good information architecture, a friendly design that makes important things (like navigation or call-to-action buttons) easier to find and interact with, quick page load times, the list goes on. Another reason this is important is because some search engines can quantify some aspects of the user experience and rank accordingly, so make sure you're keeping things quick, tidy, and easy to use.
Myth #15: “Images don’t require any optimization.”
Images should always have good optimization. It's not really realistic to assume algorithms are able to determine what an image is showing like a human could, at least not right now. Developments with artificial intelligence (AI) may make this a possibility in the future, but for now, we need to help out those algorithms and provide some text for them to read. This means making sure that the actual image filename contains relevant keywords that describe the image. The image "alt" text should also be something similar, but often slightly more descriptive than the filename. For example, if I had an image of my pet kitty cat (her name is Hazel), I might call the image something like "black-and-white-cat.jpg" while I'd make the "alt" text something like "My pet cat Hazel". So the filename describes the image in a very basic sense, while the "alt" text provides some more context. This means that search engines can factor this into their algorithms more appropriately (and they will).
Myth #17: “I don’t need a mobile optimization strategy.”
If you think you don't need a mobile optimization strategy, you should think again (differently, I should add). My suggestion for that strategy would be a responsive website instead of a separate mobile site, but that's a topic for another post. As of 2015, Google began emphasizing websites with some sort of mobile experience by de-ranking websites with no mobile experience on searches conducted from mobile devices. So this really just means that searches performed on a mobile device are less likely to see websites that are not optimized for mobile.
Thanks for the Low-Down on this SEO Stuff
When we saw Hubspot's e-book, it was a no-brainer to share it. They put it together in such a way that it's super easy to read through and understand what the real deal is with SEO in 2017. If you're interested in reading more about these myths or the 13 others I didn't cover in my post, click . I put it down here so you don't have to scroll back up, because I'm a nice guy!
Keep your eyes out and maybe we'll post a follow-up sometime in the future, when the search engine optimization game has changed a bit more!