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The only constant in the realm of search engine optimization (SEO) is change. SEO standards have evolved so much over the years that it can be difficult to separate fact from the misinformation that is widely circulated online.

Most SEO myths revolve around Google, which is the primary source of traffic for most websites. The search engine releases multiple updates over the course of a year, making it challenging for marketers to keep up. They must identify what Google is prioritizing at any given time and adapt their SEO strategy accordingly.

Many misconceptions are based on outdated SEO tactics that are no longer effective in 2018.

Read on to delve into some of the most common SEO myths of today. Understanding them can help inform a law firm’s SEO strategy and ensure attorneys avoid wasting their efforts and resources on ineffective strategies.

Myth 1: Https encryption is not important for SEO.
A significant but often overlooked difference in site URLs is that some start with http while others start with https. Although the extra letter may seem negligible, it actually has an impact on SEO. Https refers to a technology called a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). It indicates that a user’s connection to a website is encrypted to prevent hackers from intercepting any of the private data transferred between the browser and web server.

Google released a new version of their Chrome browser last year that flags as unsafe any websites that do not have SSL enabled.
The common misconception is that having an https-encrypted site makes no difference to SEO. However, Google has stated that an SSL-enabled site is likely to receive a boost in search results over an unsecured http website that is otherwise similarly ranked.

Besides better rankings, there is another clear SEO benefit to enabling SSL on your website. According to HubSpot Research, 85 percent of individuals surveyed have said they will stop viewing a website if it is not secure. The good news is that this problem can be easily solved by obtaining an inexpensive, sometimes free, SSL certificate.

Myth 2: More pages will automatically boost a website’s ranking.
There is a common misconception in SEO that more is better. However, the mere existence of extra web pages is going to do little to improve search engine rankings. When it comes to SEO, focusing on quality is much more important than quantity.

Lawyers should create content only if it adds value to their website and not simply to increase the number of pages. Without good content, a site is unlikely to rank well. Google is known to prioritize updated content. Instead of creating extra pages just to maintain the element of freshness, law firm websites can use a blog to keep adding new content without giving rise to clutter. The goal is to create pages with quality, relevant content that site visitors actually want to read.

Myth 3: Building links is better than creating content.
Both content and links are vital to SEO. Past SEO tactics typically consisted of building as many links as possible without analyzing the link domain in an effort to ensure the website ranked higher. While such practices have bred the misconception that the more backlinks obtained the better, today’s link landscape is no longer about the numbers. In 2018, the quality of backlinks matters more than quantity to Google. Therefore, the focus should be on building a diverse backlink profile consisting of respected referring domains.

Although link building still plays a key role in establishing a website’s authority and ranking, it goes hand in hand with content creation. Law firms can benefit from investing resources into producing valuable content, whether it is blog posts, web pages or guest posts. By obtaining natural links from relevant sources pointing to that content, your website is likely to achieve a higher rank in Google. Procuring a few stellar links from authoritative websites, thanks to quality content, could mean a lot more than countless, easy to get, inferior links.

Myth 4: Keyword density is the most significant SEO factor.
Keyword density is a topic that has been intensely debated. It refers to the number of times a keyword appears on a web page in relation to the total amount of text on that page. The misconception is that the more keywords you use on a web page, the higher it will rank in search engines.

Monitoring keyword density is important to ensure you are not overusing keywords by inserting them repeatedly on a page. In fact, Google has made it clear it does not view keyword stuffing as an accepted SEO practice. The behavior is often associated with spam sites and is likely to yield a ranking penalty.

Many websites sacrifice the readability of content by over-packing it with keywords. The goal should be to create informative, useful content in which keywords are used naturally so that the text makes sense to the reader. Prioritizing content readability over keyword density will pay off for your website’s SEO. After all, search engines are looking to present relevant, valuable information to the searcher.

Myth 5: Content marketing is the same as good SEO.
Marketers often throw around catchphrases like “it’s all about content” or “content is king.” A persistent misconception is that there is no need to worry about SEO if you just create an abundance of great content. While content is essential, it is not the driving factor for SEO.

Good SEO consists of a comprehensive website marketing strategy that includes quality link building as well as a number of other factors that Google takes into account for its rankings. For example, a website with strong content that has poor image optimization, shoddy design and lack of mobile-friendliness will not rank high among search results.

Content is just one piece of the marketing puzzle. The myth surrounding the dominance of content marketing tends to persist because many people believe producing content is much easier than getting quality links pointing to your website. However, great content and link building share a symbiotic relationship.

While Google aims to provide the best results for any given search query, SEO is about ensuring the various aspects of your website create a positive overall experience for the search engine user. Gaining an understanding of the top SEO myths is just half the battle. The next step is to update your SEO efforts so that they are in line with the current best practices.

About Author

Dipal Parmar is a staff contributor to Bigger Law Firm Magazine and legal content developer for mid-sized to large law firms.

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