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/

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Top 10 Investment Themes For 2020

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As you may recall, my overall theme for 2019 was “slowing but growing and while this will likely become “slower but still growing” in the new year, I believe that 2020 will be “The Year of the 3 Big E’s” – earnings, the economy and the election, given the interconnected nature of these three factors. In this regard, below are my top ten investment themes for 2020.

1. Positioning For A Year With Two Distinct Halves: I believe that a dovish Federal Reserve, along with the continued strength of the U.S. consumer and underlying U.S. economy, will allow for additional upside potential for U.S. stocks during the first half of 2020. However, as we begin the second half of the new year and enter the thick of the election cycle, periods of intermittent volatility and overall investor apathy, will be likely based on changing predictions of who may, or may not, be in the Oval Office and which political party may, or may not, be in control of Congress after November 15. As a result, having a strategy positioned for this “Tale of Two Cities” outlook that provides exposure to dividend-paying U.S. equities with some element of downside protection may be worthy of consideration.

2. Demand For Tax-Free Income Remains High: As the yield curve remains challenged and changes to the current cap in place for state and local tax (SALT) deductions unlikely, demand for attractive sources of tax-free income will remain high in 2020. This demand will likely be highest among residents impacted most by the SALT cap in states such as New York, New Jersey and California. For those who are not aware, the SALT deduction is related to the Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017, which limited the total SALT deduction to $10,000. Demand for tax-free income overall was high in 2019 as well as evidenced by the 47 consecutive weeks of positive net inflows to U.S. municipal bond funds.

3. Biotech M&A Activity Likely To Continue: Biotech is on the mindsets of many investors heading into 2020 as M&A announcements were in the headlines throughout 2019. According to the Chimera Research Group, there were 28 biotech mergers & acquisitions announcements in 2019, including the recent announcement of Novartis’ planned acquisition of The Medicines Company. Margin compression, threats of drug price control and patent expirations, will challenge large pharmaceutical companies in the new year to find revenue replacement alternatives. One of these alternatives in 2020 will likely involve the acquisition of smaller capitalized biotech companies with innovative drugs nearing the final stages of FDA approval.

4. Preferreds Continue To Become A Preferred Source Of Income: Dependable distributions are important for income-oriented investors and preferred securities can help provide such distributions. Preferred securities, also commonly referred to as preferred stocks, represent a hybrid security type combining different features of both equities and debt. While most issuers of preferreds are banks, there are also other issuer types, including insurance companies, utilities, REITs, industrials and diversified financial services.

As a result, investors may want to continue using preferred securities as they did in 2019, while also considering the use of portfolios of preferred securities incorporating different types of issuers to help meet their income needs in 2020.

5. ESG-Based Strategies Gain More Prominence: Sustainable, responsible and impact investing is an investment theme growing in popularity across the globe. Strategies associated with this theme, which often incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) rating criteria, along with the investment merits of a given company’s stock, continue to attract more investment assets. According to the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, global assets under management in the strategy grew to $11.6 trillion in 2018 from $178 billion in 2005–a 6,417% increase! I anticipate the continuation of this trend in 2020, provided that the investment performance of these strategies remains strong on a relative basis.

6. Finding Value In Dividends: Dividends have long been a critical part of the total return investment equation for investors in common stocks. I tend to view companies that make regular dividend distributions and have a consistent track record of growing distributions over time in a more favorable light. In other words, I view such companies as possessing a higher degree of financial health. Moreover, stocks that pay dividends also tend to have characteristics favored by value over growth investment approaches. If the yield curve remains challenged in 2020 and stock market volatility returns during the second half of the year, look for consistent dividend payers and value-oriented investment strategies, which have taken a back seat to growth-oriented investment strategies over the last decade, to outperform.

7. International Equities Attract Investment Flows: Though many uncertainties remain for international economies and international markets in 2020, including Brexit (which now appears likely) and further trade agreement negotiations, the outlook for global economic growth has improved with J.P. Morgan forecasting 2020 global GDP growth of 2.5% vs. a 1.7% GDP growth forecast for the U.S. I anticipate emerging markets outperforming developed markets internationally in 2020, provided that Phase 2 trade talks between the U.S. and China do not take a wrong turn towards a new round of tariffs.

8. Strong Consumer Fuels Further Growth In E-Commerce: Evidence of the strength of the U.S. consumer can be found in sales data from the 2019 holiday shopping season. According to a CNBC article entitled, Record online sales give U.S. holiday shopping season a boost, overall holiday retail sales, excluding autos, increased by 3.4% when compared to 2018 with online sales leading the charge.

E-commerce sales made up 15% of total retail sales and rose 19% versus the prior year to a new record high according to MasterCard’s retail sales data from November 1–December 24, 2019. I anticipate further online commerce growth in 2020, which should benefit not only e-commerce companies but also companies that derive a significant amount of revenues from activities performed within the e-commerce ecosystem.

9. AI Implementations Increase Across Multiple Industries: Applications of artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to take place in 2020 across multiple industries ranging from finance to health care to automobiles, disrupting how many companies operate and, in certain cases, transforming the bottom lines of these companies. Also referred to as machine or deep learning, AI is typically associated with companies whose technologies are focused on the automation of cognitive processes such as speech recognition, deep learning and visual navigation. Another innovative technology that should also experience implementation growth in 2020 is cybersecurity, thanks in part to new regulations as well as the heightened risks of malware attacks, data breaches and hacking in general.

10. Counterbalancing Consensus With Contrarians: Whenever there is an overwhelming one-sided sentiment, whether positive or negative, among investors, and assets are flowing in the direction of that one-sided sentiment, it may be time to consider adopting some form of a contrarian approach. The same can be said for less favorable analyst consensus opinions on the stocks of certain companies that may otherwise appear healthy and positioned to grow. Coming off a year where seemingly everything worked, it may be worthwhile to consider investing in a stock portfolio of attractive companies that did not work in 2019 or that analyst consensus suggests will not work in 2020, despite strong fundamentals.

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Disclosure: Hennion & Walsh Asset Management currently has allocations within its managed money program and Hennion & Walsh currently has allocations within certain SmartTrust UITs consistent with several of the portfolio management ideas for consideration cited above.

Kevin D. Mahn is the President and Chief Investment Officer of Hennion & Walsh Asset Management. Mr. Mahn is responsible for all of the Wealth and Asset Management products and services offered at the Firm including the SmartTrust® series of Unit Investment Trusts (UITs). Mr. Mahn also was the Portfolio Manager of the family of SmartGrowth® Mutual Funds. These mutual funds were target-risk oriented “mutual funds of ETFs” designed to track the Lipper Optimal Indices. Mr. Mahn is the author of the quarterly “ETF and CEF Insights” and “Market Outlook” newsletters as well as a co-author of the book, Exchange Traded Funds: Conceptual and Practical Investment Approaches, © 2009 Riskbooks. Mr. Mahn is a member of the Forbes Investor team and a frequent contributor to the Forbes Intelligent Investing blog and the Seeking Alpha website…..

Source: Top 10 Investment Themes For 2020

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