A few numbers for your consideration:
- 80% of visitors to a website begin by typing keywords in the query box of a search engine
- 42% click on the website in the #1 position on the search page
- 90% click a website on the first page
These facts prove, if your brand is on the internet, a high rank on the search engines is a requirement to generate business. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a website by remaining high on the list of results returned by a search engine. It is the single, most measurable, profitable and predictable activity a business can pursue in digital marketing. Many are fooled because they believe, to get to a top rank, you need to know the right tools, tricks and people. You don’t have to be one of those getting fooled.
Here are 12 commonly-held myths about Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
- A GOOD WEB DESIGNER IS AN SEO EXPERT: That’s usually not true because SEO begins with the discovery of the most effective keywords for your brand based on insights and numerical anaylsis from search volume, competitiveness and input from you on your customers’ needs. As it turns out, building a beautiful website and getting your site to the top of search engines are two very different skills.
- SEO IS ABOUT META TAGS , META DATA AND WRITING CODE: Once upon a time, the meta tag, an HTML tag that provides keyword information about a web page, was an important part of the SEO process. This process was quickly spammed to death. As a result, its importance has decreased. Today, it is of relatively low importance for effective SEO.
- SEO DEALS MOSTLY WITH ON-SITE MODIFICATIONS: Content from keywords plays a big roles in determining relevance, but off-site factors such as how many high quality or authoritative websites link to you is equally important. Relevance are authority are the two factors that drive search rank.
- SEO INVOLVES TRICKING THE SEARCH ENGINE: The opposite is true. SEO is about creating web pages and writing copy that is intelligible to search engines and also creates an experience for visitors that makes them want to come and come back again to your site.
- GOOGLE IS THE ONLY SEARCH ENGINE THAT MATTERS: It’s true that Google represents 70% of all searches and the percentage is growing. But, last year, Bing had a record year at 16% (and powers Yahoo! also)–and is growing too. To focus only on 70% and ignore 30% leaves a lot on the table.
- DUPLICATE CONTENT GETS YOUR SITE DE-LISTED: The truth of the Google duplicate content penalty is quite simply that there is none. Duplicate content is substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar. “There is no such thing as a duplicate content penalty” says Google in their webmaster blog. Bing and Yahoo say the same thing.
- PAID SEARCH HELPS ORGANIC SEARCH: In all of the experiences ever witnessed or heard about, it has never been proven spending on search engine advertising (PPC) improves your organic SEO rankings.
- SEO HAPPENS QUICKLY: Nothing that is worth doing well happens overnight. With SEO, you are building equity in your brand. You should estimate 4 to 6 month for results behind keywords that matter for your business. A good tracking system shows progress and helps results occurs in the most effective manner.
- ONCE A SITE IS OPTIMIZED, YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING ELSE: While the effects of a good SEO campaign last, rankings may begin to drop if you don’t update content and there are no new inbound links generated. However, if you continue to create good content, the site will stay “fresh” and hopefully you will continue to get real “organic” links from people who find your website useful.
- SEO SOFTWARE AUTOMATES IT ALL: No, it doesn’t. There are plenty of apps and websites to help do keyword research, find possible link opportunities and analyze your competition. There are some really good tools and plugins that can help you do your on-site optimization. But none of them does the thinking for you. None of them is able to understand the subtle nuances of language, your customers and your business. None one of them gets results on their own.
- SOCIAL MEDIA HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SEO: Social media has everything to do with SEO. It is a source for content, keywords and links that drive authority. It not only helps your business get to a top rank, it helps your business get multiple rankings on a search page and it builds 1-to-1 relationships.
- A TOP RANK GUARANTEES BUSINESS: A top rank behind keywords that matter drives visitors to a website. The action they take, once they get there, depends on the how you guide them and create a good experience. For examples of brands that do the well, here are 10 case studies that prove the ROI of SEO.
With Biznology collaborators, Mike Moran and Tim Peter, we have a unique offering for companies with on-site training called JumpStart Workshops; one is specifically designed to create an effective SEO strategy and plan for your business and to make SEO a competency at your company.
Did these 12 myths demystify Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for you?
About Rob Petersen
Rob Petersen is an experienced advertising and marketing executive and President of BarnRaisers, a full service digital marketing agency that builds brands based on proven relationship principles and ROI. He is on the MBA Faculty of Rutgers CMD and is the author of two books on digital marketing.