Weekly SEO: SEO Myths You Need to Know
The world of SEO is an ever-evolving, often confounding one. Everyone has different advice on how you ought to manage your SEO, and tons of that advice is ill-informed. In our recurring Weekly SEO segment, we’ll count down our top 4 SEO myths that everyone needs to know.
4. SEO Isn’t Real
It’s tempting to think that SEO is something that will just happen for you. If you sell a great product or offer an amazing service online, it ought to be enough, right? Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Google won’t give you the top spot just because you do a great job. That’s part of it, of course: Google’s product is their search results. They get so much traffic because everyone is confident Google can find them what they need with minimal effort. The problem is, they aren’t magical or omniscient. They rely on a complex algorithm to determine who deserves #1 billing on their search page.
Consider this: everyone in the online marketplace knows Google has an algorithm. Most of them know at least a few things Google tracks to assign a quality score to their site. If you don’t actively try to score as high as you can, anyone who does will absolutely dominate you in the search rankings. Until Google can make a search algorithm that is completely secret and uncrackable (which they never will), SEO will be a thing. Plus, good SEO is synonymous with good web development and good content. SEO is not a myth, nor is it dying. It’s just changing with the times.
3. SEO is shady
This is a common but outdated notion. SEO is only as shady as the person doing it – like so many things in life, there’s underhanded ways to get it done. And, just like so many things in life, doing it the wrong way can have severe consequences. Remember that Google algorithm we mentioned earlier? There’s a reason it gets updated so much. So-called ‘black hat’ SEO specialists don’t look at each update as an opportunity to craft a better website or write better content. Instead, they look to exploit loopholes.
For instance, there used to be a practice called link farming. External links (links from other websites back to your website, like a referral, reference, or review) are arguably the biggest factor in search engine page rank. Link farming is the practice of buying links. For a fee, a website will generate hundreds or thousands of links for your website, thus – in theory – raising your value in Google’s eyes. As I bet you can guess, this practice didn’t work for long. Now, link farming can be detected by Google, and they will severely punish your search ranking for doing it.
SEO is a skill and a legitimate practice, but just like there are shady lawyers and doctors, there are shady SEO specialists. Great SEO is the kind that promotes better websites, not the kind that looks to exploit Google.
2. There’s no such thing as too much SEO
You probably know from experience that too much of a good thing can be really, really, bad. SEO is no exception. It’s intuitive, really – SEO is essentially a specialized form of marketing. We’ve all seen compelling marketing, ads that make us turn our heads and convince us to buy a product. I’m sure we’ve also seen marketing overload, like when the same ad plays on every commercial break during a hockey game, or the same ad is pasted on ten billboards in a row on the highway. Google hates that as much we do.
Keyword stuffing, as we’ve mentioned before, is one example of over-optimizing a website. For SEO, keywords are kind of like those billboards on the side of the highway. One every now and then is effective. Good ones work really well. Too many of them, though? It’s just obnoxious.
There’s a really simple rule of thumb for content marketing and SEO in general: does doing this make my website better to visit? If the answer is yes, it’s often in line with SEO best practices. If the answer is no, Google will try and filter you out. While Google supports SEO, they only want it to drive a better online experience. Trying too hard will get you docked marks.
1. SEO can guarantee the top spot
We saved the biggest myth for last. As we’ve discussed, SEO is real, necessary, and quantifiable. What it isn’t is a guarantee that you can beat everyone else and rank #1 for every keyword related to your business. If an SEO agency or contractor promises you top billing, they’re lying. It’s as simple as that. Now, you may incidentally achieve the number one result in Google, and that agency or individual might be great at SEO. It doesn’t change the fact that promising a spot on the front page is a reckless lie.
As I’m sure you’re figuring out, SEO is a complex process that involves technical skills, creativity, marketing know-how, writing skills, and much more. While great SEO will deliver improvements, you have to bear in mind that everyone else is doing SEO, too. You’re playing a game against every other company occupying your niche, from tiny startups to titans of industry. The best SEO specialists in the world can’t promise you’ll rank above all of them, especially not in a short time-frame, as many agencies claim.
SEO is a long-term game. Depending on how competitive your niche is, getting to the top of page one on Google can take months or years to achieve. While everyone wants to be the number one result, remember that ranking highly in Google isn’t actually the goal of your business. Your business sells a product or a service. Increasing online sales is your real goal, and SEO can certainly help with that. Just be wary of anyone who says you absolutely WILL rank first overall. They’re promising something nobody in the world can deliver.
Thanks for reading, and we hope you found this article informative and helpful! if you liked what you read, please consider sharing this post with the social media buttons below. Do you have any SEO questions you need answers for? Contact us for a free consultation for your business.