5 SEO Myths Debunked
The field of search engine optimization (SEO) is little understood and constantly changing. The strategies that used to work 10 years ago can now get your site penalized on Google, while new developments and timeless principles continue to surface time and again.
As we head into 2020, here are five SEO myths that are commonly believed, but better left in the past decade.
1. SEO isn’t necessary.
Let’s put this to bed: Is SEO a scam? Isn’t a good business and great content all that’s needed to show up on Google these days?
First off, there are SEO scammers out there, and that’s unfortunate. We’ve worked with numerous businesses who have been burned by agencies and individuals who over-promise and under-deliver. But let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater just yet.
Starting with a great business, and then adding great web content should factor into any SEO strategy. That said, we’ve also worked with great businesses whose success didn’t translate directly into online visibility until we stepped in. Reputable companies like Moz report on local search ranking factors that can and must be leveraged to bring your business website traffic from Google and the consumers looking for what you offer, where you offer it. This complicated, and often overlooked and undervalued process involves dozens of techniques to get you ranking for the terms qualified users search for related to your business. Done right, SEO is often the most profitable marketing strategy we can deploy for a local business long-term. It’s brought millions of dollars in business to our clients, and it’s brought clients that never would have come from other marketing strategies.
2. SEO is a magic bullet that can overcome any business deficiencies.
Let’s move from one extreme to the next. The definition of a magic bullet (no, not the blender!) is a “quick and simple solution to a difficult problem.” Can SEO bring droves of customers and clients to your door or your phones no matter the business context?
Search engine optimization is essential and effective– but it usually doesn’t “flip a switch” on business growth on its own. For one thing, if an owner is still figuring out what their business is about and who their target audience is, SEO can’t fix that. Professionals need to do proper keyword research and strategy, and this fails without understanding the kinds of searchers you’re looking to target.
In some cases, a better website is needed before SEO can be truly effective. Listings management also goes a long way towards helping people find your business accurately within Google’s local pack and other online locations. When included as part of a holistic digital marketing plan, SEO can work wonders for a business that’s really ready to grow.
3. SEO works quickly.
First, implementing SEO strategies can bring a level of immediate results. It all depends on each specific business. However, instead of thinking about SEO like a magic wand, it’s better to think about it like an investment that brings monumental returns over time.
For many small to medium businesses, initial SEO work is a lot like drilling for oil. Plenty of groundwork is needed if a business has little to no online presence. It may take some time, but the work is necessary. And once we dig far enough, you strike it rich with an oil well that can provide a lifetime of returns if well managed.
As you may have seen from the first three myths, it’s largely a matter of having proper expectations. (Also, a professional or agency who knows what they’re talking about and has the results to show for it will help!)
4. When it comes to keywords, search volume is everything.
Let’s talk specifics. Keyword research around what your customers are googling related to your products and services is important. However, it’s a huge myth to target only keywords that are searched for the most because “that’s where the money is.”
While search volume is important, it’s not everything– especially if you ask, “why would someone search for this keyword?” Not everyone on Google is looking to convert immediately, and not all Google searches lead to customers and clients.
Let’s use meal prep as an example. If I had a meal prep company, should I obsess over trying to rank at the top of Google for the keyword phrase “meal prep”? After all, it’s searched for 1,600 times a month in San Diego County! Well, some searchers might want to get a definition of “meal prep,” while others might be wanting meal prep recipes to prepare food themselves!
Meanwhile, keywords like “meal prep company,” “meal prep san diego,” “healthy meal prep delivery,” etc. are searched for less than “meal prep.” However, they are more likely to result in people visiting your site and picking up the phone to call you. Professional SEO agencies can handle the keyword research for you to optimize your site for just the right customers.
5. SEO is a “set it and forget it” enterprise.
Remember Ron Popeil and the Showtime Rotisserie Grill? (If not, just nod your head and pretend as I show my age…) Is SEO a whole chicken you can pop into the oven once and not worry about ‘til it’s time to chow down? After all, this service is “set it and forget it,” why pay someone to manage it for you?
Anyone who thinks SEO is fundamentally a one-time service may have misguided confidence in their own abilities. SEO works best as part of an ongoing, managed digital marketing strategy, where you can see what rankings, traffic, and conversion data looks like and make adjustments from there.
There are other reasons why SEO isn’t “one shot, one kill.” For one thing, your business isn’t “set it and forget it.” It has evolved and will continue to if your sights are set on healthy growth. Because of that, your website and digital presence must keep growing, and SEO should always be present whenever that happens. Plus, your business isn’t the only thing changing. Google’s ranking algorithm has changed multiple times over the past decade, and it will continue to do so in the future.
The Reality Behind the Myths
SEO is an essential investment that any growing business should make as part of an ongoing digital strategy. But because it’s so important, you shouldn’t have just anyone do it.
Take time to research any SEO professional or company before you work with them. A great digital marketing partnership is worth its weight in gold.
At WISE Digital Partners, we’re one such choice. Our SEO agency serves businesses nationwide who are looking for growth with a range of digital marketing services. Get a free SEO audit today and understand the opportunities–and pitfalls–you should be aware of.