We would argue that search engine optimization (SEO) may be the most misunderstood tool in digital marketing today. Everyone knows about social media marketing, and content marketing and email marketing have gained in popularity. The tool that’s left out—the black sheep of digital marketing—is not as well known and buried in piles of SEO myths that aren’t true.
We’ve come across a few of these misunderstandings about SEO, and we have a confession to make: they make us crazy. If they’re not completely wrong, they cling to a morsel of truth that grew from a disreputable SEO practice. It’s not anyone’s fault, really, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t try to clear up a few of the most popular SEO misunderstandings that we encounter on a regular basis.
SEO is ONLY about writing
We’ll say this up front: there is great value in optimized content on your website. Whenever you write content for your site, or your blog, you need to strategically optimize. This does not mean filling a page with the same keyword, or using the word so much in your text that your users are repulsed. It does mean creating content that people want to read, and using tips to optimize that content for the search engines before and during your writing.
However, there is more to SEO than writing. There is a technological side to SEO that the average user cannot tackle on their own. Your website development company should start this process when building a new website and a SEO company can take your website optimization from there. SEO companies use their unique technology to achieve results for a company. It can be done. We know it, because we’ve done it for numerous companies.
SEO is underhanded
Just the mention of the word “SEO” can bring to mind common black-hat SEO tactics: keyword stuffing, cloaking, link manipulation. Those tactics have tainted the image of SEO and spurred a host of misunderstanding about search engine optimization. SEO is always evolving; today’s effective SEO is not your grandma’s game of stuffing a page full of the same keyword. In fact, those kind of old-school SEO tactics, and black hat SEO tactics, can get your website penalized and kick your company off the digital map.
Today’s SEO revolves around quality content, effective technology, and optimized site structure. We know that sounds like a mouthful—a list of terms that you don’t have time for when managing a business. Contact a SEO company who can make sure your website has all the elements of an optimized website so you can manage all the users who visit and order from your site.
SEO is a one-time only feat
“There,” you think, “I’ve invested in this website. Customers come and find me!” Unfortunately that’s not how it works; creating an optimized website is only the start of your efforts. Search engines and your customers want fresh, updated quality content on a regular basis. Just the mere mention of those words brings shudders to many managers and owners, and we completely understand why. Quality content is a long-term commitment, as well as the efforts to promote that content (i.e. social media, email marketing, etc.). If you don’t have time, outsource your optimization efforts to a company that can.
SEO is only for national companies that sell online
Local search engine optimization technology can get you in front of search engine listings in towns and cities within a 10, 20 or 50 mile radius. Even if you don’t sell products online, or have any interest in e-commerce, integrating search engine optimization into your marketing strategy can drive potential customers to your brick-and-mortar location. With more than 90% of users turning to search engines for information, local SEO technology can get your business website in local potential customers’ organic search engine listings using long-tail keywords your audience searches for. Statistics don’t lie: 54% of Americans have substituted the Internet and local search for phone books (comScore), and a startling 95% of smartphone users have looked for local information (Source: The Mobile Movement Study, Google/Ipsos OTX MediaCT , Apr 2011).
We are not Google
We don’t know where this idea came from, but this misconception comes up in conversation with business owners and managers from time to time. Search engine optimization revolves around creating content and structure for the search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo)—which is what we do—but we are not Google. We get results on Google for our clients, but you don’t have to be a search engine, or work within a search engine company, to get those top results.