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.
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.”
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/