There are a lot of confusion and misconceptions about SEO, especially among business owners. And rightly so.
SEO is an extremely broad subject that covers many aspects including keyword research, on-site SEO, content generation, link building, social networking, article marketing, video marketing and many more. Plus each of these elements can be broken down into further classifications. Now cap it all off with the fact that the industry changes and evolves at such a pace that by the time a book is published on the subject, probably 50-75% of the content is already out of date.
So there’s no wonder so many myths and misconceptions are floating around on the subject. Here are my top 6, not necessarily in order.
1. SEO means simply adding some keywords on your site
This is probably the biggest misconception I find and it comes down to not having any perspective on the vast and competitive nature of the Internet. If you sell sports nutrition bars, for example, when I Google that keyword phrase over 2.5 million results are generated. Now consider that they are all trying to get to Page 1 of Google and you start to realize what a daunting task is ahead.
Google uses over 200 factors in order to determine where your website ranks in its search results. Each of those factors are weighted differently and most are inter-dependent upon each other. It’s a long term, comprehensive strategy that must be followed.
2. All web designers and web developers know SEO
At the surface, this would make sense. After all, if I’ve hired someone to design and build my website, they will also know what to do in order to position it at the top of Google, right?
Not necessarily. While it’s certainly true that a lot of designers and developers know some very basic aspects of SEO, unless they’ve fully immersed themselves in studying SEO they’ll never move beyond the basics. SEO is a specialists’ industry that constantly evolves and requires someone dedicated to staying on top of the current trends.
3. SEO is all on your site
There are on-site and off-site SEO strategies and you need both in order to get the most effective results. On-site SEO takes care of all of the technical aspects of putting your website and its content in the best position to receive the benefits of off-site SEO.
There are many, many more techniques that are preformed off-site though. Most of these techniques have a goal of getting inbound links to your site, which Google considers a vote of confidence when it determines your rankings.
4. We’re finished with SEO when our site starts ranking well
‘OK, it’s been five months and we’re ranking really strong for several keyword phrases so let’s stop doing SEO now.’ This is a very common misconception and after a few weeks you’ll be wondering what went ‘wrong’ to cause your rankings to drop.
Again, this one comes down to perspective. Just because you’ve stopped SEO work on your website doesn’t mean that the other 2.5 million or so websites in your industry have. In fact, a good percentage of them are adding more content, writing more articles, publishing more video, building more links and all of the other many tasks that will propel them past your ranking, thus forcing yours down.
Then when you plummet in rankings and start SEO again, you’ve got more of a mountain to climb to play catch up than if you simply continued on.
In addition, Google constantly tweaks their search algorithm which can cause natural fluctuations in your rankings. The Internet is a live, constantly changing entity. Remember, when you stop—it keeps going and will leave the station without you.
5. One specific keyword is all we need to focus on
Business owners are naturally too close to their own business to often know the exact terms that a customer might use to find them online. And it’s naive to think that all customers are searching this one keyword. That’s why we do the most important step in SEO, keyword research, to determine exactly what keyword phrases customers are using and which ones are going to be most effective to target.
For example, it’s common that a client will suggest one or two keyword phrases that they are sure are the ones to target. But when we run the numbers, very few may be using those terms (which are often industry-specific terms, not what they’re prospects are using). Let us take the guess work out of keyword research and show you the actual numbers.