You’ve seen them. Those emails and articles warning about the catastrophic events coming with impending Google updates. Things are constantly changing with browser and search engine updates and it is often difficult for businesses to keep up. Because of these regular changes, coupled with uncertainty from those who have been sold by experts that didn’t deliver there are a ton of myths and misconceptions swirling around SEO.
Here are a few of the top ones we hear from our client’s:
1.) Appear on the Top Listings on Google for only $100
What? Why are your services so expensive? As a business owner you get multiple emails daily from sketchy AOL email address offering to get your business to rank number one on Google for only $100 a month. That saying about being too good to be true is perfectly applicable to just this scenario. No one will be getting you on the first page of Google for $100 a month. And nothing when in comes to ranking for relevant searches comes as quickly as those promises indicate. These emails, and subsequent frustration from lack of results have given SEO companies a bad name. There are practices that the right company can take to help your company show up in relevant searches more often, but don’t be fooled by offers such as the above and don't let that jade your experiences with companies that are trying to take the correct approach to helping your company show up in searches relevant to your audience.
2.) Links are More Important than Creating Content
Just like effective marketing, an effective SEO strategy is not a singular effort. Building your company’s SEO strategy around quantity of links you can secure is outdated thinking. I am sure you receive inquiries from companies trying to get you to link to their business on your own site in just such efforts. Links are certainly a factor in helping with your search engine rankings, but your focus should be on the quality and variety of links that are relevant to your brand. Your company should work on creating quality content, or integrating that into your marketing plan with a company such as ours. Through this practice Google and other major search engines will recognize your effort to consistently produce relevant and quality content and begin to index your information faster and faster. Like anything, real search engine optimization practices take time, but will pay off in the right traffic and organic traffic in the long run.
3.) HTTPS vs. HTTP. What?
Traditional URL’s begin with “http.“ More recently there has been rising discussion on the importance of "https." URLs. The “S”, in "https.", stands for “secure.” This “S” means an additional level of security for your site users. This “S” is of particular importance for ecommerce sites or sites where your viewers need to share some sort of private information, but there is more of a shift for general websites to transition to "https." as of late. As of August 2014, Google announced that their algorithms were taking that “S” into account for search rankings. This is something that your website development team will be able to discuss with you and see if this makes sense for your brand.
4.) Rankings are the End All, Be All
We spend a lot of time feeding the beast that is Google. Content generation is the most effective strategy to rank higher. While it is important to work to improve your rankings, it is much more important to worry about ranking higher in searches that are relevant to your target customers than just to overall ranking highest on everything. Search engines continually work to combat against tricks used in these arenas and reward those who are taking the time to use quality practices to help people searching find content that is most relevant to what they are searching for.
5.) You Need to be an IT Genius to Work on SEO
SEO does require somewhat of a science to maximize results, but taking the time to product quality content is not something that you need an IT professional for. From blogging, to website updates combine a bit of creativity and strategy to ensure your brand is making the updates on a regular basis to help your website rank higher in a larger number of highly-relevant searches.
6.) My Blogs Should be Jam-Packed with Keywords
This is a big NO. Your content needs to be written for your site viewers. It needs to be compelling and easy to digest. This is priority number one. Trying to jam-pack your website, or “stuff it" with keywords won’t do you a favor with your customers or with Google. This makes the experience in digesting your content difficult and everyone can tell what you are doing, including search engines. This does not mean that you shouldn't use keywords and do some research to ensure that the keywords you are using get you the most bang for your buck. This does mean that they should be used organically with the top goal being to provide clear messaging to your target personas.
Don’t go trying to jam keywords into places they don’t belong. It’s uncomfortable, and everyone can tell. Keywords in your headlines and content should be used in a way that feels natural and results in the highest level of clarity for your audience. And your audience is not Google robots.
7.) H1 Tags are the Most Important
There are all kinds of articles swirling out there about meta data, alt text, headings. What is most important? What is not all that important at all? How do you keep up with all of it? H1 is incredibly important… if you are a website developer working on a website layout and want to call out a heading. Other than that, sorry, but it really doesn’t have much additional impact. Focus on user experience, about communicating who you are and what you do to your customers and continually producing quality content and that is what you need to focus on.
8.) Quantity of Pages is Everything
Think about it. With over 4.5 billion pages on the internet it is important to focus on quality over quantity. Adding a few pages to your business website, just for the sake of creating them doesn’t do anything to bring people to your website. The more you try to create tons of content, the less likely your content will maintain its quality. Create content consistently and base it off of your customers and that is the best thing you can do for working towards the sort of exposure you are looking for.
9.) Any Site Link is a Good Site Link
Starting to see a trend? Quality over quantity is the idea when practicing quality SEO efforts. Trying to pull tricks or game the system should not be part of the plan. Best case scenario, you’ll be wasting your time. Worst case scenario, Google will punish you or ban you from results. Google has seen it all and has developed smart systems to discourage these sorts of practices and encourage content generation based on providing the content needed by your site viewers to be educated and engaged by what you are offering.
10.) I Can Set It and Forget It
We have said it before and we will say it again, marketing and SEO are a process, not a transaction. If you want your target customer to continue to find your business, you will need to continue producing efforts that will yield those results. New content is being produced constantly, so search engines are consistently refreshing their index. The only way to stay part of this process and reach the right people is to continue to put in the time and effort to stay relevant.
Not interested in keeping up with this rat race? Don’t think it is the best use of your time? We tend to agree. Just like we are not going to be out on our roof next week re-roofing our house, we find it easier to leave things to the experts in that field. The team at Strategy Driven Marketing includes best practices in search engine optimization as part of every website build that we do. We also recommend some sort of monthly marketing retainer to continue efforts in this area and continue to help our clients reach the eyes they are trying to be found by. Want to learn more? Schedule a free call to discuss your business needs today!