3 Common Myths About SEO That You Need To Know

SEO is a strange beast. It is surprising how many people have never heard of SEO.  And of the people who have heard of it, many don’t really know what it is. While others know what it is, but have no idea what to do about it.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, which is a fancy way of saying… make your site easier for Google to find and feature higher in their search results leading to growth in sales, leads or brand visibility.

But of course, it’s not that simple. There are many moving parts in SEO, and those parts are constantly changing due to Google updates, algorithm changes, and improvements in modern technology. On top of that, there are many people online who claim to be SEO experts, but under the most cursory of scrutiny reveal themselves to be at best incompetent, and at worst complete charlatans.

Even the real experts will have different opinions on what works and what doesn’t, so with SEO being so nebulous, it’s no wonder there are so many myths floating around.We could literally write thousands of pages on this topic, but we don’t want to bore you. Instead, here are the top three myths about SEO and why you really should leave it to the professionals.

It’s all about keywords

Myth: Whatever your website sells, the more times you mention it, the more likely you’ll be featured on Google’s first page. Selling chess sets? Then fill your copy with the phrase “chess sets” over and over again. That’s what people are searching for, right? Makes sense to talk about it?

The Truth: Once upon a time in the early days of the internet, this tactic of keyword stuffing actually had some merit. But that was before Google got smart and wised up to what was going on. For at least the past decade, keyword stuffing has been pointless and anyone using it will have their site punished, and even run the risk of having it removed from the search listings altogether! Not something you want to happen as it’s not the easiest or quickest job to get back in the search results.

Google is all about providing the best service to its users. They want the best website for the job, and simply cramming your site full of keywords is not going to help. This was a very old SEO technique which was in an ethical grey area to begin with, but now results in a website being flagged as untrustworthy. If someone recommends this, then it’s a clue they’ve no idea what they’re talking about when it comes to SEO – so move on quickly.

You can simply pay for the same result

Myth: Forget about spending time and money on SEO! Simply pay for Google Ads and you’ll be at the top of Google’s first page anyway!

The Truth: No, that’s not how it works.

While Google Ads can be helpful, particularly alongside organic SEO if you’re targeting certain keywords or running a special promotion, buying Google Ads does not help your site rise in their ranking or get you more organic visitors.

Ok, so, you’re not at the top of Google’s first page “organically”, who cares, you’re still there, right? Well, yes, but that doesn’t mean people will click on your ad. In fact, depending on the topic, the click-through rate on Google Ads can be as small as 2%!

The good news is, those who do click will probably go on to buy something, but the bad news is, the second you stop paying for those ads, you stop appearing on the first page.

Getting to the top of Google’s search results organically is undoubtedly hard, but has longer lasting results and is definitely worth the effort. Organic results are simply trusted more as there are so many factors involved in getting your website there. A key attribute of successful organic performance is E.A.T. or Expertise, Authority, and Trust.

SEO is no longer important

Myth: SEO is dead. There’s no need to optimise your site because Google is answering people’s questions directly on their results page. Add to that their constant algorithm changes, the rise of social media platforms, and mobile technology, and there’s no point in spending all that time and money on optimisation.

The Truth: SEO is more important now than ever, and the reason is because of all those changes. Google receives a mind-blowing six billion search queries per day. That’s roughly two trillion a year. As more and more people find themselves online across the globe, the number of websites, businesses, and products is increasing exponentially.

All these sites are fighting for clients and customers, and Google needs some method to rank them. To visit your site, people must know about it, and more than 95 per cent of clicks go to the top four search results. This is why, if you want to make it to the top of their search results, it’s essential to have a customised SEO strategy.

Visitors turn into customers, and at the end of the day, that’s what makes a business successful.

SEO – best left to the professionals

SEO is an incredibly complicated discipline, shifting in practice, theory, and even definition, year to year. Getting SEO right includes combining a large number of tools, using best practices that are evolving frequently and constantly adjusting to the numerous Google updates.

Even the experts in the field need to be on their toes, constantly keeping ahead of the curve when it comes to updates, software, and Google’s list of do’s and don’ts. It’ really no wonder there are so many myths about SEO and the best practice out there.

Best practice SEO is definitely worth it when built on a strong foundation using good metadata, titles and descriptions, clear, concise headings, and a website optimised for the user. Then there are a large number of other factors – pagespeed, technical performance, lack of errors, page structure, user experience, structured data, backlinks, image optimisation, hosting, content delivery networks, mobile performance and many more. And of course, high quality, unique and informative content.

It’s a fluid, continuous work in progress, always changing and adapting to the demands of the digital horizon, and is never, ever, a one-time thing.So, in the end, what ranks best? What tweaks and twists can you do to get on that much sought-after, but all elusive first page of Google?

The basics are still the same as they were 20 years ago; select keywords (but not too many), create quality content that gives value to your audience, (not boring regurgitated words that offer nothing of value) and solid link-building (but not just to any old site).

To put it in simple terms, link building is the process used to get other websites to link back to your website. Building links is one of the many disciplines used in SEO as they indicate to Google that your site is a quality resource worthy of citation.

But alongside that, there are a thousand and one small nuances that constantly change over time, moving the goalposts for everyone. A good knowledgeable SEO professional will constantly educate themselves to keep up with the constant changes to Google’s algorithm and adhere to best practice within the industry, making sure they are doing their best for their clients to keep them in the game.

If you are thinking about implementing a customised SEO strategy to help your rankings in Google, please feel free to contact us and have a chat about what we can do for you and your business. We will break down the complexities of SEO into simple terms that you can understand.

We are a specialist inbound marketing agency with a range of clients across New Zealand and Australia. The Directors have over 15 years of experience in this space and our team bring specialist skills and years of experience to their roles.

We have been recognised by some of the largest content marketing and SEO organisations on the planet for our work including Content Marketing Institute, Copyblogger Media, Chief Content Officer magazine and a number of specialist SEO blogs. Our business approach is all about trust, transparency, a commitment to quality and representing our clients with integrity.

Gary Ireland

Gary Ireland

With experience in everything from graphic design to teenage counseling, Gary finally settled on writing as his main weapon of choice. “But writing is just one part of this job, which is why I love it so much. It’s hard to get bored with so many irons in the fire. If I’m not researching an article, I’m on Social Media, or working behind the scenes to optimise a site for Google’s latest algorithms. I learn something new every day, and each day brings with it new challenges.”

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Google Search Central

What are some of the biggest SEO Myths you see still being repeated (either at conferences, or in blogs, etc) Ryan, Michigan Have a question? Ask it in our Webmaster Help Forum: http://groups.google.com/a/googleprod… Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/googlewmc Get notified of new videos on Google+: http://www.google.com/+GoogleWebmasters More videos: http://www.youtube.com/GoogleWebmaste… Webmaster Central Blog: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspo… Webmaster Central: http://www.google.com/webmasters/

A Beginner’s Guide To Using Keywords In Google Ads

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Google Ads can be an effective way to reach an audience of new customers. However, if you do not have a well-thought-out keyword list, your search and display ads may not be shown to those much-coveted consumers.

What is a keyword list? It is a set of terms, words and phrases that are associated with your business, brand or product. For example, if you own a yoga studio, keywords or phrases might include yoga classes, beginners’ yoga, hot yoga or meditation classes.

Beyond compiling a list of keywords and phrases that correlate to your business, think about the ways that people may search for you. Listing out your business or product name is always a must. But what if people do not already know about you? In our example of the yoga studio, keywords to use could be yoga studio near me, yoga studio in [town name], or even something as simple as good yoga studios.

The more specific your keywords are, the narrower the audience will be that finds them in their search. Ashtanga vinyasa yoga is a good keyword if you are targeting experienced and knowledgeable yogis, but it may exclude those new to the practice trying to find a studio. However, too broad of a keyword and you may be wasting money on showing your ad to people that may not be your target audience. Yoga is a pretty broad keyword and it competes with many other facets of the practice, including magazines, blogs and other online websites. Finding keywords that hit the proverbial sweet spot, as mentioned in paragraph three, will help optimize your reach to those searching for your business.

Once you have a keyword list ready, you must next decide on the modifiers. These are ways of inputting the keywords into Google Ads using quotation marks, brackets, plus signs, or leaving no modifiers of the keyword or phrase at all. The options are exact match, phrase match, broad match modifier, and broad match, respectively.

Exact Match is much like it sounds. By choosing the Exact Match modifier using brackets, ads will show when someone searches that exact term. [Beginners’ Yoga Studio] is an example of an exact match. Only someone searching that exact term will see the ad associated with that keyword.

Phrase Match uses quotation marks around the word or phrase. “Beginners’ Yoga” would be shown to those searching that phrase or a variation of that phrase, like beginners’ yoga classes.

Broad Match Modifier utilizes plus signs in front of the keywords so that they will appear when those terms, or close variations of those keywords, are searched in any order. +Beginners’ +yoga is an example of Broad Match Modifier. If someone searches yoga for beginners, the ad associated with that phrase will be shown to them.

Leaving out any modification and inputting the keywords or phrases just as they are is Broad Match. This type of matching leaves the terms open to include misspellings, synonyms and variations of the term. This is the default match when adding your keywords into Google Ads.

Which modifier is better to use is up to you. However, Google Ads makes it very easy to access your keywords and make changes at any time. If you start your ads with Broad Match but find that you are not converting customers, try Broad Match Modifier or Phrase Match. Google Ads’ dashboard can help you determine which keywords are successful. Google will also provide you recommendations on what keywords you may want to add to the campaign.

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Finally, create a negative keyword list for terms for which you do not want to be found. Using the yoga studio as an example again, if it does not offer hot yoga classes, then the term hot yoga can be added to the negative keyword list. When people search the term hot yoga, your ads will not show up, saving the money on ads to be shown to those who are in the market for your type of studio.

Google Ads can act as a driver to gain brand awareness, push more visits to your website, receive more phone calls and, most especially, grow your customer base if they are set up correctly. Taking your time with your keyword list is a great way to start.

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Apple, Google, Nike And Other Big Stocks Just Hit All-Time Highs. Here’s Why

Topline: Wall Street cheered the release of November’s blockbuster jobs report on Friday, helping the market recover its trade-war-related losses from earlier in the week and putting a number of major stocks at new all-time highs.

Here are the major companies hitting new records:

  • Technology giant Apple hit a new record stock price on Friday, currently near $270 per share, after Citigroup boosted the company’s upside price target by 20% yesterday, predicting blockbuster holiday sales for products like Airpods and the Apple Watch.
  • Another of the big four tech companies, Google, also reached a new all-time high, trading near $1,342 per share. The company’s stock went higher after cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin stepped down from their leadership roles earlier this week, giving Google CEO Sundar Pichai the top job at parent company Alphabet.
  • Big financial services companies hit new record prices too, boosted by Wall Street’s big rally on Friday: JPMorgan Chase shares passed the $135 mark, just a few months after a third-quarter earnings report that saw record revenue, while U.S. Bancorp, one of Warren Buffett’s biggest holdings, traded above $60 per share.
  • Upscale furniture chain Restoration Hardware, which recently got a $206 million investment from Warren Buffett, achieved new highs of around $242 per share, following a successful third-quarter earnings beat that exceeded Wall Street expectations.
  • Shares of yoga pants maker Lululemon Athletica, which has led the popular athleisure apparel trend in recent years, hit a new record high of more than $232 per share on Friday. Lululemon’s stock continued a surging run this year (up more than 85% so far in 2019), as the retailer looks to expand into areas like menswear, e-commerce and international sales.
  • Nike, the world’s most dominant athletic footwear and apparel brand, also hit an all-time high price on Friday. The stock traded above $97 per share, thanks to a recent price target upgrade from Goldman Sachs analysts, who see a 20% upside as the retailer continues to be wildly popular with consumers and expands into growing markets like China.

Key background: Despite ongoing trade uncertainty, the stock market ended the first week of December back near record highs. Solid economic data, namely a blockbuster November jobs report that far exceeded analyst expectations, drove the big Wall Street rally on Friday. Recession fears have cooled recently, as economic indicators like consumer spending and holiday sales remain solid as well.

Crucial quote: “A killer jobs report put to rest concerns that the U.S. economy was starting to show signs of slowing down,” says Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda.

Today In: Money

What to watch for: Trade news—it’s anyone’s guess at this point, with the crucial December 15 deadline for additional U.S. tariffs on $156 billion worth of Chinese goods fast approaching. If Trump imposes tariffs, which China has asked to be canceled as part of a phase one trade deal, that could heat up tensions and threaten the stock market’s year-end run.

The Trump administration has spent months going back and forth with China on trade negotiations, with tensions constantly escalating and de-escalating. With both sides yet to sign a phase one trade deal, Trump’s recent approval of U.S. legislation on Hong Kong further “stalled” trade progress, according to Axios. That could make it more likely that Trump will hold off on planned December tariffs to keep the deal alive.

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I am a New York—based reporter for Forbes, covering breaking news—with a focus on financial topics. Previously, I’ve reported at Money Magazine, The Villager NYC, and The East Hampton Star. I graduated from the University of St Andrews in 2018, majoring in International Relations and Modern History. Follow me on Twitter @skleb1234 or email me at sklebnikov@forbes.com

Source: Apple, Google, Nike And Other Big Stocks Just Hit All-Time Highs. Here’s Why.

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Apple is getting a vote of confidence from Raymond James as it raised its price target to $280 from $250 per share. In response, shares of the tech giant hit a new all-time high and could add more gains by the end of the year.

Google Is Planning to Offer Checking Accounts in Partnership With Banks

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Google is increasingly involved in more areas of its users’ lives. It’s where we turn every day for answers to pretty much everything from simple questions to complicated research. It’s where we get our email, store our photos, manage our calendars, and manage our files. It’s already the most dominant mobile operating system, and it now makes smart home devices. With its purchase of Fitbit, it’s clear Google also wants to dominate wearable technology.

Or, said another way, Google is everywhere.

Now, according to The Wall Street Journal, Google is working on a new project called Cache that involves offering checking accounts. Yes, Google wants to be your bank.

Well, more specifically, Google plans to partner with banks to offer its customers access to banking products like checking accounts. In this case, accounts would be offered by Citigroup, as well as a credit union at Stanford University, and those financial institutions would provide all of the financial services and account management.

Google would provide the convenience, along with loyalty rewards. For example, users would access their accounts through Google Pay, much like Apple’s users access its branded credit card through Apple Pay.

 

Speaking of which, with recent moves by other tech companies into the personal finance space, it was probably inevitable that Google would follow suit. Apple recently introduced its own credit card with Goldman Sachs, and Facebook has announced its plans to launch a digital currency called Libra. It might be worth mentioning that both of those have come under intense scrutiny, with New York regulators launching an investigation into Apple Card for discriminating on the basis of gender when extending credit limits.

I actually think this is less a deviation for Google than it might seem. In fact, as TechCrunch pointed out, by providing users with checking accounts, “Google obviously stands to gain a lot of valuable information and insight on customer behavior with access to their checking account, which for many is a good picture of overall day-to-day financial life.”

It’s helpful to remember that for all the useful services Google provides, the company is, at its core, an advertising platform. That is the underlying business model that makes it huge amounts of money, and it’s the driving force behind every product or service it offers.

And while Google hasn’t suffered the same level of scandal as the next-largest advertising platform, Facebook, the strategy is the same–monetize people’s personal information.

Of course, that lack of scandal is reflected in the fact that consumers say they are more likely to trust Google with their financial information than some of its competitors. Only Amazon was rated higher in a McKinsey & Company survey included in the Journal’s report. Fifty-eight percent of consumers said they would trust Google for financial products.

The Journal also reports that Google won’t sell financial information to advertisers, which is great, but that doesn’t mean it won’t use that information to target specific advertising at customers based on their income or spending habits — which is really the only reason Google would get into financial products in the first place.

It’s also the only thing you need to know when considering whether this is a good idea. I’m not sure any amount of “loyalty program” or convenience can make up for the cost of having even more of your personal information monetized.

Jason AtenWriter and business coach

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Google is planning to launch consumer checking accounts next year in partnership with Citigroup and Stanford University, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Wednesday (Nov. 13). Code-named Cache, the accounts will be handled by Citigroup and a credit union at Stanford University. The branding will reflect the financial institutions and not Google. “Our approach is going to be to partner deeply with banks and the financial system,” Google VP of Product Management Caesar Sengupta told WSJ. “It may be the slightly longer path, but it’s more sustainable.”

Google to Pay $2.1 Billion for Fitbit, Making It the Latest Giant Ramping Up on Healthtech

Google is the latest giant company angling to secure more of users’ health information–potentially boding well for healthtech startups looking for an acquirer one day.

Reuters reported this week that Google’s owner, Alphabet, has made an offer to acquire wearable device maker Fitbit. Update: On Friday, Fitbit announced that it has agreed to be acquired by Google for approximately $2.1 billion. The deal is expected to close in 2020. The news comes on the heels of reports last month that Fitbit CEO James Park was exploring a potential sale for his company.

Park and CTO Eric Friedman co-founded the San Francisco-based company in 2007, and proceeded to help pioneer the wearable device industry–which reached a value of $1.6 billion last year, according to a June Research and Markets report. But recently, Reuters noted, the company has been struggling to successfully pivot from fitness trackers to smartwatches, now dominated by Apple and Samsung.

Google’s interest in smartwatches has been well-documented. Last month, Business Insider reported that the company started developing smartwatch offerings as early as 2013–but has still never released one because of a series of internal reorganizations, quality issues, and design struggles. In January, Google spent $40 million to acquire a chunk of smartwatch intellectual property–and members of the team responsible for creating it–from fashion designer and manufacturer Fossil Group.

More broadly, tech giants have spent the past few years snapping up health care data-oriented startups. In June of 2018, Amazon bought online pharmacy, and 2016 Inc. Rising Star, PillPack for near $750 million–and it acquired digital health startup Health Navigator for an undisclosed price just last Wednesday. Apple purchased personal health data company Gliimpse in 2016, sleep sensor maker Beddit in 2017, and asthma monitoring system Tueo Health in 2018, all also for undisclosed prices.

Altogether, the health care industry has seen at least 250 mergers, acquisitions, shareholder spinoffs, and other similar deals per quarter for more than two years, according to PwC’s most recent U.S. Health Services Deals Insights report. The report noted that in the third quarter of 2019 alone, the industry’s deals tallied $19.6 billion, up nearly 18 percent from the same quarter a year ago.

Cameron Albert-Deitch Reporter, Inc.

Source: Google to Pay $2.1 Billion for Fitbit, Making It the Latest Giant Ramping Up on Healthtech

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CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” crew discuss the news that Fitbit will be acquired by Google.
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