20 Apr Why Knowing a “Little” SEO can be Dangerous
As the famous saying goes, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” This sentiment holds especially true in SEO. SEO is often misunderstood as some mythical beast of online marketing. It has a mysterious caché, laden with curious buzzwords for the uninitiated. In reality, search engine optimization (SEO) is simply a method for making your content, and by extension – your online presence, discoverable and interesting for the search engine, and its users.
Perhaps because of the misperception that SEO is out of reach and requires some sort of herculean effort to be successful, otherwise savvy business owners throw in the towel on SEO too early and opt for more traditional advertising venues. This is unfortunate, mostly because SEO correctly done can dramatically contribute to your bottom line, improving: the perception of the brand, ROI, visibility, and customer engagement. Gaps in knowledge can prove the difference between a successful website generating leads and traffic, and a google penalty.
With Google constantly updating their algorithms, it is imperative to fall on the good side of an update, or your marketing efforts could land in the toilet.
SEO Myths & Misconceptions
“I Need ALL THE LINKS!”
No doubt, having quality links is essential to an effective SEO strategy. Yes, having more links directed at your site improves the probability that your site will rank well and be granted some degree of authority. However, more is not always better. Here are some link-building practices that can actually land you in hot water, or worse yet, receive a dreaded google penalty:
- Link exchanges
- Links to illicit content (pornography or gambling)
- Links on unrelated websites
- Links that use too much exact-match anchor text
- Hidden Links
These are just a few examples of what to avoid when building links on you site. However, people with little SEO knowledge assume that the more links, the better, and populate their pages with easy to get links. This may work temporarily, but only until the search engine catches up. Like any honest business endeavor that progresses through stages of development, so too aim for an organic progression of your website. Building an online presence slowly and naturally signals that your website can be trusted and as a result, is treated favorably by the search engines. Remember: slow and steady wins the race.
Content Quantity over Quality
This misconception is partly rooted in truth. Having a wealth of content will benefit your site, but only if it is quality content. Notice a theme here? Content needs to be relevant to your site, useful to the reader, and provide value. Creating content just so you can stuff multiple links and keywords in it will actually trigger the Panda update that was designed to demote websites that that did just that. Search engines also rank sites based on how recent the content is. The more updated a site is, the more relevant it is considered. Hence, why blogging is an effective strategy for 2015.
The more you can focus on providing answers and solutions to your target audience, the more likely your content will positively rank in the search engine results. Furthermore, when you provide good content to your target audience, they are more likely to become customers, which was the whole point of your marketing campaign anyways. Don’t forget, search engines will never buy from you, but people will.
“I need ALL THE KEYWORDS!”
It used to be that all you needed to do to get on the first page of the search results was to “stuff” your website with the target keywords of your industry niche. This is definitely no longer the case, as deliberate attempts to manipulate the search engines are administered swift justice. Keywords with the highest search volume tend to be broader, such as entire industries (IT, auto insurance, etc.). Thus, it is more important to target keywords that accurately represent the content on your site, and what the user is searching for. For example, are they looking for a car? Or, are the searching for comparison quotes on car insurance? Similarly, if they are querying a search for education, they could be looking for degree programs, researching graduate employment trends, or seeking a job. A search that includes a specific keyword could be looking to find any number of things. It is more important to get the right traffic, than just a sheer volume.
Giant companies tend to have much more clout in their respective industries than the little guy. Nonetheless, a smaller competitor is often looking for business in their local area, which is why targeting keywords that go after local business is more important than trying to rank high for an ultra-competitive keyword.
SEO Increases Traffic.
Before you can ever have sales, you need people visiting your site, preferably in droves. Implementing effective SEO is going to increase that visitor number, by increasing visibility. The famous saying within real estate is, “location, location, location,” emphasizing that no matter how great a place may be, if it is not in a desirable locale, people will not want it. If your website was a retail store, would you want it in Rodeo Drive, or a generic suburban mall in Anytown, USA? Although traffic does not equate sales, it increases the likelihood that you will have customers.
SEO Creates Branding and Credibility
Users on search engine users are continually modifying their search for products and services, meaning if they do not find what they are looking for on the first search, they will edit their search and try again. If your business can appear on multiple searches for a specific query, regardless whether the searcher clicks on your site; than the perception of credibility and authority will increase in the user’s minds, and your site will benefit as a result.
SEO Has One of the BEST ROI’s in Marketing
Because SEO is an indirect form of inbound marketing, less effort is required to have a successful campaign. Unlike other forms of advertising that interrupts a person’s attention, such as a TV commercial or an ad in a newspaper; people are already looking for the product and services that you sell, all you have to do is successfully differentiate from your competitors and convince them that your site is the best.
SEO Provides Insight Into Your Customers
With a seeming endless array of analytics tools, businesses can take advantage of free data mining. Google Analytics (GA), is a popular one. Analytics suites typically organize and makes sense of the following information about your customer: how they search, what they search, the technology they use, the language they use, where they live, when they are most active, etc. This is valuable information as it can help you tailor your marketing campaigns to maximize customer engagement, and eventually, to make sales.
What Do I Do Now?
Unless you have SEO professionals in-house, tracking search engine changes and having effective marketing strategies can be very challenging. SEO professionals have to be current with the constant changes that search engines, especially Google, make to their algorithms, lest they fall behind in the search results.
Being proactive with your SEO is the best way to ensure continued results for your business. If you are ready and serious about having success with your internet marketing, then it may be time to call the pros.