Oh, SEO. If you have not dipped your toes into Search Engine Optimization before, it can seem like quite the beast. Especially when the world of SEO is constantly changing with new discoveries and updates. This in itself can be challenging to keep up with. But when you also throw in all the myths that can direct you away from the true facts, that takes learning SEO to a whole new level…
Don’t freak out!
We are going to get you on the right path by setting the record straight on some common SEO misconceptions. So buckle up, Buttercup! We are about to take a cruise down Truth Street.
The misconception section
1. SEO is a gimmick
Let me start off by saying that SEO is not a trick, scam or scheme. It’s pretty legit and can get you the results you’ve been dreaming of… with the right SEO strategy, of course. Honest search engine optimization isn’t about trying to swindle Google’s algorithm to get to the top of search results. Instead, we try to construe which website features and content are most important to users as well as search engines and provide it to them.
CAUTION: Although SEO is not a gimmick, there are sketchy practices out there. There are some “marketers” who use what we call in the biz “black hat SEO”. If someone tells you to use tactics such as keyword stuffing, cloaking and/or using private link networks, run away! These unethical practices are against search engine guidelines and don’t solve for the searcher. Often times, black hat techniques end in a penalty from search engines. So do yourself a favor and stick to honorable SEO practices.
2. You’re going to see immediate results
*Facepalm* As an SEO Agency, we come across this misconception all of the time! SEO is a long-term, never-ending process. Think of it more as maintenance than a single task you can check off your list. How long does it take to see results with SEO? The short answer is “it depends”. Lame answer, but a specific timeframe for SEO results simply doesn’t exist. You might begin seeing progress in organic ranking and an increase in traffic for keyword topics with low competition in just a few weeks. On the contrary, moderately competitive topics might take months, while highly competitive phrases could take over a year to see desired results!
Morale of debunking this myth: Patience is an SEO virtue.
3. You have to be #1
The infamous Ricky Bobby summarizes the next SEO misconception right up, “If you ain’t first, you’re last!”. There’s still a lot speculation around having to be in the #1 position on the first page of Google to be successful. While it’s true that part of the goal of SEO is to get on the first page for your target keywords, it doesn’t actually matter if you’re number one or not. Just being on the first page alone can cause your organic search traffic to skyrocket!
Search engine optimization is so much more than ranking in the top spot. Ranking fluctuates, but the most important thing is that you’re bringing the right people to your website. So here’s a pro tip, free of charge: Instead of focusing on getting your site to rank #1, redirect your focus on who you’re targeting.
4. Set it and forget it
Wouldn’t it be nice to clean your house one time and NEVER have to do it again? Why yes, but sadly this is not the reality. This is the same case with SEO. Simply put, SEO is never done. It’s a continuous process and you should always be monitoring your progress. Even when the clouds part, a ray of sunshine peeks through and you’ve finally hit your SEO goals, you still need to keep at it. If you don’t, you will lose the top spots to someone else.
So instead of “set it and forget it”, change the SEO mantra to “set it, revisit it and repeat”.
5. Keywords are all that you need
Keywords definitely play a large role in SEO, but they are not the end-all factor. Google uses about 200 various factors to rank a site. That’s a crazy amount of components at play! If you just focus on keywords, you are missing out on loads of opportunities to get better SEO results. So spend a proportional amount of your time making sure multiple elements such as content, website architecture, HTML, trust, and social reputation (just to name a few) are also in good order. Doing this as well as having solid keywords and links will give you the results you are looking for.
Does learning about the importance of keywords tickle your fancy? If so, you should check out our “Are Keywords Still Important for SEO?” blog. It’s pretty rad if I do say so myself. 😉
6. Content marketing is the “new” SEO
Word on the street is content marketing is replacing SEO… if you’ve heard this, please ignore! The people saying this are obviously SEO n00bs. Let me break it down for you: engaging content does indeed keep users on your page, but it’s SEO that brings them to your page in the first place.
The meat and potatoes: Content and SEO go hand in hand and need each other to be effective.
7. SEO is too complex
There’s a lot that goes into SEO, but you don’t have to be an expert to give it a go on your own. With the right sources, SEO is quite learnable. Below are a few amazing resources we recommend to help get you started on your journey to understanding and practicing SEO:
- Moz’s Beginners Guide to SEO
- SEMrush’s SEO Techniques for Beginners That Don’t Cost Money
- Google’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide
Don’t have the time for DIY SEO? Try working with an agency! They should be able to break it down for you in a way that makes sense. If this is not the case, this is not the search marketing agency for you and you should definitely check our What to look for in a search marketing agency blog to aid you in your search.
8. You don’t really need it
Psshhhhhhh… you absolutely do! Especially if you want to be competitive and successful online. Just look at the facts!
Organic search is a great source of traffic and brings in leads. The first page of organic search results has a 71% click-through rate (CTR), while pages two and three have a combined CTR of only 6%! If your not on page 1 you’re missing out on a hell of a lot of opportunities.
This is also a biggy: SEO builds trust and credibility. With SEO, your brand will become harder, better, faster, stronger (just had to through in some Daft Punk for you!). The end goal should be that, when customers search for relevant keywords and phrases, they should find your site at the top of the search results.
Ultimately, SEO should be considered an investment as opposed to a cost. With a high ROI nonetheless! Lifting your rank to the first page of search results is where most of the clicks go. Be where the people are and the returns can be truly mind-boggling (in a good way)!
The moment of truth…
If you have fallen for any of these 8 misconceptions, I can’t blame you. With all the information buzzing around the internet, it is easy to have a distorted view of how SEO really works. Even when you think you have it down pat… WHAMMY… here comes something new to learn!
Just be sure to keep these lessons in mind when you are practicing SEO. Also, don’t believe what every Joe Shmoe has to say. Do your research and use reputable SEO sites/experts.
Hope you enjoyed reading this article! Feel free to comment below with any questions/comments.
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Brain Bytes Creative is an Atlanta-based digital marketing agency with a passion for search engine marketing. Want to learn more? Get in touch.