Is it me or is content creation getting harder and harder these days? The more evolved Google’s algorithm becomes, the more important it is to create the best user experience possible within your site as well as your content. Since Google is constantly changing, and there’s not really a definitive guide on what works, a lot of myths and misconceptions get repeated as ways to rank your site’s content. These myths (which may have once been relevant) can waste your time and money or even lead to penalties on your site. Here are three of the most common myths I’ve seen:
Myth #3 – The More Keywords the Better
Yes, it is important to have keywords on your webpage. No, it does not matter how many times the keyword appears on the page. In fact, keyword density hasn’t been a factor since the turn of the century. Google uses the context from every page of your website, as well as external factors, to determine if your page is relevant. Focus less on seeing how many times you can get a keyword or keyword phrase in your page copy and more on creating content that answers your customers’ questions or needs.
Myth #2 – SEO is More Important than User Experience
When adding keywords and content to a website, content writers and marketers often think, “how can I get this search engine to recognize the relevancy of this site to a certain keyword?” We are writing for search engines and humans. We think Google serves us, it enables us to be found.
But Google doesn’t work for us, it works for the searchers (their customers). And, with each algorithm change, Google is drilling down into what a searcher thinks and wants so it can provide the answer immediately. It wants to provide the best user experience possible and that means only indexing, ranking and presenting content that answers a searcher’s query. Recently it was suggested that we no longer think of SEO as Search Engine Optimization, but as Searcher Experience Optimization.
Google even gives us an SEO Starter Guide and Webmaster Guidelines to help us create the backbone of a good site and of good content. If you have created and written your site with a focus only on being found and not on providing answers to what your customers seek, you’ve missed the point. Every moment from there on out will be a struggle to remain relevant as Google tweaks its search algorithm to exclude you and your irrelevant website.
Myth #1 – My Content Will Never Compete with the Big/Established Sites
Maybe in the past you couldn’t. But today, with each change Google makes to value the user over the creator, you’ve got a start.
Rand Fishkin of Moz recently did a Whiteboard Friday about how Google’s changes have redefined our content creation goal. It’s no longer creating just good, quality content; that’s the baseline now. What we’re trying to do is create “10x content.” It’s not an actual measurable unit, we’re not creating 10x the length of usual content. It’s a theoretical goal to strive for. You are going to create content that’s 10x better than everyone else’s content.
Look at your industry. What are people asking? Fiskin suggests using Google as well as the share ranking site BuzzSumo (a great guide on how to use BuzzSumo can be found here). Do some research on your industry. What are people asking? Why are they sharing this? Do you specialize in one of the topics people are searching? Is your knowledge better than the knowledge of the people who have already written about it? Can you explain it better than those people? Could you design the information better? Yes? Then you’ve found the spot where you can be the expert. Create something that answers the searcher’s question in a way no one else has. On the flipside, don’t waste your time going after those big keywords if you can’t provide the best possible answer.
Granted, this method takes a lot of time and effort. If you funnel your efforts into writing 10x content instead of going after every keyword with the same old content, you’re giving yourself an advantage over competition who may not have the time or resources to properly answer these questions.