5 Myths About Optimizing Your Site for SEO

Posted by Nik Friedman TeBockhorst on May 20, 2016

Building SEO for your website is a combination of three main elements: Creating great content, link building, and technically optimizing your site so that search engines have an easy time understanding and indexing your content. Often times this sort of technical SEO gets particular attention because, frankly, for many businesses, it’s both faster and less labor intensive than continuously writing and publicizing fresh high-quality content.

As a result, there are a lot of misconceptions about what these under-the-hood improvements will and will not do for your site. Today, I'd like to dispel some of the most common SEO misconceptions I've come across.

Myth #1: "Unless my site is SEO optimized, Google won’t be able to index my content."

This isn’t true. These days, Google will crawl your site, and usually do a pretty good job of it, regardless of what optimization has been done. Optimizing your site will certainly help Google crawl it better, but even with no work, you can be fairly confident that your site will eventually show up in the index.

Myth #2: "By following best practices for SEO, I’ll immediately get a big bump in search ranking."

While this statement might be true if your site had a lot of content that wasn’t already indexed, in most cases what you can expect is an incremental lift in ranking - maybe one or two spots upward from your previous position.
It may not be much, but doing so should still be considered progress. It is a quick return, and is often a great first step in a long-term SEO campaign.

Myth # 3: "I need to do a ton of workarounds so that Google can index my dynamic, JS-driven website."

Maybe this is a holdover idea from years past…but presently both Google and Bing are clearly indexing dynamic and JS-driven content. While they offer a variety of methods to ensure they crawl it correctly, more and more both major search engines are doing much of the heavy lifting on their own, allowing owners of JS-driven sites to relax a bit when it comes to site indexing worries.

Myth #4: "As long as I have a sitemap, I don’t really need to worry about whether my site can be crawled."

If only that was the case! Sure, your sitemap will alert the search engines when you have a new page, but if that page can’t be navigated to, expect it to become buried deep in the search results.
Sitemaps do have clear benefits when it comes to SEO: They will speed up how quickly new content can be indexed, and can also help guide search engines to focus on canonical content and what parts of your site change most frequently. You just have to be careful to not rely on your sitemap to single-handedly solve your site's indexing needs.

Myth #5: "The search engines are doing such a great job, I don’t need to worry about technical SEO at all!" 

Maybe you're already pretty satisfied with how well you're ranking in search listings. But rarely is standing pat an effective strategy in the web world. What technical SEO can provide for you is to give you control over your search engine results. With a little legwork, you can refine which pages are shown or hidden, eliminate redundant or outdated content from the search index, and make sure that what users see when they search for your site is what you want them to see.
Consider the difference between the following two search result listings… Which one do you think will get more traffic?

Obviously, the second one has a more compelling description, rather than just a pastiche of keywords Google was able to suss out from a crowded, image-heavy page. (Yes, even BuzzFeed, the king of SEO, gets it wrong sometimes!)
While this kind of edit may only give you a small boost in where your site ranks on search results, it will give you a much bigger boost somewhere else: You'll see quite a jump in how many people click on your search listing, and how many people engage with your content.

Determine a Clear Strategy

Myths will always remain in the world of SEO, and even though the art of site optimization continues to evolve, one piece of advice holds constant: You've got to stay on top of your site's technical SEO to remain relevant and effective in search results.
Need a hand with your SEO strategy? Let's talk about it. Our team of BlueModus technical strategists would be glad to tackle your tough challenges!

Nik Friedman TeBockhorst
Nik Friedman TeBockhorst helps a diverse range of companies and agencies to increase their marketing effectiveness by implementing the right technology, supported by the right strategies. Throughout his 15 years' experience in digital marketing, Nik has built interactive and strategy practices and implemented winning integrated solutions for leading global brands.