Every day I read an article with digital marketing advice that just sucks. Often times the advice may apply to a very small segment, or it stresses digital marketing concepts that are too broad and fuzzy. From marketing advice attainable only with million dollar budgets, to endless essays on social media engagement – there are billions of wasted words.
So we reached out to digital marketing experts and asked them to bust us some myths.
Myth: Are keywords still important to SEO? Yes and no. Mostly kinda.
Carolyn Shelby, Director of SEO at Tribune Publishing (and 20 year search industry veteran)
The keywords meta tag is definitely 100% useless… unless you’re using them for internal reporting (or you enjoy broadcasting to your competitors what terms you’re targeting). I do have some use for the tag so I can sort pages and easily find the target phrase for the page within my crawls and analytics… I can make a case for using it, but there’s absolutely no point in paying anyone to fill that tag in for you. Any company approaching you about improving your SEO by “fixing your meta tags” is just looking to relieve your purse of its coin.
Does that mean that ALL of the meta tags are useless? No, the title tag and the meta description are definitely still very important to have done correctly; however, companies that approach you out of the blue saying “your meta tags are bad” are using that line because they want a quick buck. *JUST* fixing your meta tags (even all of them) is highly unlikely to move your site from the SERP abyss to page 1, and if your title tags are descriptions are that bad, I would bet a venti Frappuccino that there are also more significant things wrong with your site that are going to make more of a difference to your search rankings than just fixing those meta tags. (Unless the meta tag they’re fixing is changing <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”> to <meta name=”robots” content=”index”>, because in that case, you deserve to be parted from your money. With extreme prejudice.)
[bctt tweet=”Myth: Are keywords still important to SEO? Yes and no. Mostly kinda. @cshel”]
Keywords in your H tags and body copy *are* still important; however, you cannot just include “cell phone” in your H1 and body copy X number of times and magically expect to have your page rank on page 1 for that term. It is *way* more complicated than that. First, you have to actually say something useful to the reader about your topic (in this example “cell phone”), so in addition to the target keyword phrase, you also need to have words related to cell phone appearing around the target phrase. You need to have informative content. You can’t just regurgitate information that can be found in 8 million other places.
“Writing optimized copy” is NOT just about including keywords. The content has to say something that will be important to the readers. The content has to be engaging. The content has to be unique. Obviously the content needs to say the keyword you’d like to target, but if you have content that is compelling, how can you write about it without mentioning the target keyword? You can’t. So quit obsessing about precise keyword use. Focus on writing better content.
Myth: Conversion Rate Optimization equals A/B Split Testing
The biggest myth that I frequently encounter is that Conversion Rate Optimization equals A/B Split Testing. But this is not true. Testing is an important way to validate your ideas and make sure that they improve website performance. But if you refuse to occasionally redesign your whole site experience, or add new capabilities to your marketing technology stack, or change your whole business model including the nature of your customer touch-points and back-end workflows, you will never unlocking the true value of your business. By relying only on testing, and focusing on testing velocity you will do what is familiar and the easy, and continue to fight with one hand tied behind your back
[bctt tweet=”Myth: Conversion Rate Optimization equals A/B Split Testing. @tim_ash”]
Myth: There’s a “best time to post” or a “right length for a post”
I hate to see advice about “the best time to post” or “the right length for a post.” When we push all our posts into some cookie-cutter “best” template we all end up looking the same. These posts are all answering the wrong question — we shouldn’t ask “How do I do this?” we need to ask, “Why am I here?” Then, we can talk about the right way to use the tool to meet that goal.
Two of my favorite social follows are two thought-leaders who post fairly irregularly, generally post at the same time each day, and post a series of 3 or so tweets together (it’s rare that they include a link). One of them almost never @replies. @garrickvanburen and @BentleyGTCSpeed are using twitter all “WRONG” — but I pay attention to what they are saying. I know their names and their avatars. When one of them posts a question I’m happy to answer. They are gaining no traffic, they aren’t (really) promoting anything, but they have my attention!
Decide why you are on a social platform, then experiment with different “ways” of being on that platform. See what works for YOU. Don’t ever just blindly follow the “rules.” You need to know your objective and then see what actions lead you to that objective.
[bctt tweet=”Myth: There’s a best time to post. @blfarris”]
What other myths should we discuss? Send us your ideas!