If you’re confused about all of it or have heard rumors about SEO being dead, these algorithm updates are good and bad news.
The good news is that the lazy, quick win tactics that worked just a few years ago won’t work today. The bad news is that swarms of myths have circulated about SEO, with Google’s Matt Cutts discussing the biggest SEO myths here.
If you’re confused by all these rumors, this post will clear up some of the confusion by highlighting 11 common SEO myths I encounter, and what you can do to get more traffic to your site.
SEO Myth #1: SEO is a scam
If you’ve been approached by less-than-ethical marketing agencies who promise immediate rankings and deliver nothing, you may think SEO is a scam. In fact, it was the services they promised that were the scam, not SEO.
SEO is real. It takes time, and it works.
There’s nothing inherently dishonest about SEO unless black hat tactics are applied such as keyword stuffing, spinning content, hidden links, duplicate websites, social spamming, and so on.
SEO Myth #2: Go for a quick win
Just because you have a friend whose site ranks #1 with little effort, don’t expect quick and easy rankings. If your friend is in a narrow niche market, has little competition or has easily correctable technical issues, he may get those wins. For everyone else, real effort and commitment are required to get an increase in traffic. A perk is that you can also expect additional rewards from your efforts beyond a traffic spike.
SEO Myth #3: My blog doesn’t need it
You may think your blog won’t benefit from SEO or that it only makes sense for certain types of companies. If you look beyond raising brand awareness and increasing traffic alone, every business can stand to benefit from SEO.
Think of your brand as a publisher and source of high-quality information. When you produce helpful, informative content like blog posts, how-to articles, and research, you’ll get in front of searchers and earn their trust. Over time, you’ll see more leads and sales from your efforts.
Applying SEO strategies will force you to update your site so that it loads fast, is easy and intuitive, and provides an amazing user experience. When readers have a rewarding experience on your website, they’re more likely to check back in and share their experience with friends and colleagues, so you can expect even more traffic and sales over time.
SEO Myth #4: Do it once and be done
SEO is best thought of as a long-term play. Search engine algorithms are constantly changing and your competitors will adjust their SEO strategies accordingly. Not only that, consumer buying habits and preferences are in a constant state of flux. Customers who have been loyal in the past can disappear in a heartbeat.
So even if your inbox is filled with orders and requests, you still need focus monthly attention on search engine optimization in order to keep traffic coming and ensure that your rankings don’t take a nose dive.
The best approach is to track, measure and adjust. Stay on top of search algorithm updates, review your traffic data and adjust your SEO tactics accordingly.
SEO Myth #5: SEO alone is enough
While SEO is extremely important, it doesn’t mean you can forget about marketing your blog outside of search engines. It’s your job to make sure that people find your site, and you can’t rely on search engines alone to get the word out there. This means social, PPC, ads, and so on.
If you’re a local business or storefront, incorporate offline channels to get more exposure by participating in local events, trade shows and sponsored community activities.
SEO Myth #6: Keywords are all you need
Long-tail keywords and phrases will help you reel in targeted prospects, but you can’t stop there. High-ranking keywords won’t mean a thing if your blog or website isn’t set up to convert traffic and deliver sales.
Think of search engine optimization as your business development rep, and your blog as the closer who can make or break your search engine optimization.
Make sure your website is engaging and has the right pathways to lead people in the direction you want them to go, whether it’s filling out a form, picking up the phone, or making a purchase. This is where your landing pages, offers and CTAs will help nurture people throughout the awareness and evaluation stages.
SEO Myth #7: A title tag is enough
If all it took to get rankings was to place the right keyword in the title tag, SEO would be a one-trick pony.
When you’re talking about on-page SEO, keywords need to be placed not only in the title, but in your headings and sub head, body text, URL, meta descriptions and images.
SEO Myth #8: You only need to blog
Even though your target audience may prefer to blog and social media posts, there are benefits that come from incorporating other types of content.
For instance, an infograph is a highly sharable form of content that may be outside of what your audience. So why not create one? By offering influencers and other bloggers the opportunity to embed your infograph, you can build high quality links back to your site which will improve your overall rankings.
You’ll get a boost in traffic. Plus, repurposing your blog posts will help you reach more people.
SEO Myth #9: Social media is a waste of time
The total number of followers and connections you have has a significant influence on your rankings, so although social media by itself won’t get you the results you need, combining it with high quality content and a strong brand presence will boost your rankings. Google will reward you for being social, so engage your followers by tweeting, commenting, and sharing.
If that’s not enough to convince you, social media encourages external sites to link to your content. As more followers share your content, you’ll gain more authority in Google’s eyes. Try to bring your content into existing threads and discussions to maximize your potential external link sources.
Highly shared updates also get a leg up in search results, so making sure your posts are optimized is another way to improve rankings.
SEO Myth #10: #1 ranking is the only goal
Everyone wants those top three coveted spots in search results, but they aren’t the only measure of success. There are billions of search results worldwide and at any given point in time, your goal is to rank as high above the others as you can. Your site can still benefit from increased exposure and traffic if it ranks #7 or #8, and even if it appears on the second page.
SEO Myth #11: Buying Ads Helps Your Rankings
While many love the idea of throwing money at search engines to rank number one, it isn’t going to happen. Keep your SEM and PPC strategies separate from organic and invest in ads for the sole purpose of converting those ads. Investing a large ad spend because you think it will payoff with organic search is the wrong way to go.
Anything that’s worth achieving takes time. The real secret to success with SEO is taking a long-term approach, keeping your head down and laying a strong content strategy for your blog. If you want to “have your cake and eat it too”, you need the right ingredients. Think of content as your baste, SEO as the icing, and social media as the cherry. When you mix them up just right and bake them long enough, you’ll get the rankings and traffic to grow your blog and your business.