A lot of people talk about SEO, but few people truly understand what SEO is. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, or basically getting your website to rank higher in the search engines.
A report by Chitika states that 91.5% of the traffic that is looking for a specific keyword term (i.e. pizza delivery) will click on page one of the search engines. That means that it’s more important than ever to rank on page one for your keyword terms or risk NEVER being found. Because if you’re on page 2, chances are that you’re losing out on a ton of potential business.
We’re here to put to bed a number of the most common SEO myths that we still hear about in 2014. So let’s get right to it:
Myth #1. “SEO is a trick!”
SEO is not a trick, in fact it’s a science, that when properly can improve your website traffic dramatically. However, it does need to be done CORRECTLY.
A lot of people have had their sites “optimized” in the past, only to find out that a company had taken their money, made a few small changes on their site (that they could not see) and left them with a hole in their bank accounts.
This is a problem that all SEO companies face today. We all have clients who have been taken advantage of in the past by a fraudulent company. If you’re wondering about your SEO company, just ask to see some results of current/past customers and ask to speak with those organizations.
That’s why a lot of people believe that it’s a trick. They have not seen the actual results that a good SEO company can show them.
Myth #2. “SEO is all I need to do and my website will get tons of traffic.”
I’ve had this go both ways, but I would not suggest just doing SEO alone.
I’ve had sites in the past go from less than 100 visits a month to several thousand visits just off of optimization. However, this was over a period of time (about 6-9 months) and there were a number of pages that were optimized (about 30).
I’ve also had sites become optimized and while it did help their traffic, it was not dramatic. Part of the reason for this is the quality of the website and the quantity of the pages on the site.
Do you think that a 5 page website about a lawn mowing service will generate more traffic than a website with 10 pages? Look at the pages:
The first site has 5 pages: Home, About Us, Services, Contact Us, Testimonials.
The second site has those same 5 pages, plus five more pages about the services they offer. The processes that they go through, education about how they mow those yards, etc.
It’s hard to optimize a 5 page website so that there will be a dramatic change in traffic. The reason is that there is just not enough content on some of those pages. A contact page might only have 50-100 words on it and that particular content is about the business and not necessarily about any significant information that might pull people into the site.
Regardless, there are so many other things that you can do to get traffic to your site. While I don’t rely on SEO alone, it is where I ALWAYS start. If I can optimize my site properly and pull additional traffic to my site throughout the life of the site simply by having it optimized correctly, then fantastic! Sign me up!
But I ALWAYS incorporate other strategies into my web business as well. Pay Per Click marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and video marketing are just to name a few.
Myth #3. “Optimize my site and it will shoot to the top of the rankings immediately.”
Search engine optimization is NOT fast. This is not something that works overnight. With that said, it’s much faster than it used to be.
Not that long ago, it was not unusual for a site to take 3-6 months before you would even SEE it in the search engine rankings. Then when the search engines started to up their game with the speed and storage capabilities, then it was happening much faster.
I’ve had sites be indexed for keywords within 12 hours and I’ve had them take a few months to show up well. There is no way to determine how long this will take…and the 12 hours that I had a site indexed in was a TEST SITE. We were testing some techniques that we DO NOT use as that is why it was a test site. We were testing techniques that were being passed around the internet. Yes, they worked VERY well in the short run. In the long run, that site was delisted about 2 weeks later.
Stick to the basics. Optimize your site correctly and don’t try any of the tips and tricks that you can purchase on a forum for $10. They will only cause you heartache in the long run.
Realistically, give yourself a few months before you start to see some real great results. And even longer if the industry you are in is highly competitive. I have a client in the Communications Industry (very competitive) who did not see any results for several months. Once he did start to see those results, he started to bring in a hefty return that he attributes DIRECTLY to the optimization that we did (as he was not doing any other kind on online marketing).
Typically, I start to see results within 30-60 days. But don’t always expect that. The search engines have to weed through all of the crap out there…and it takes time.
This SEO Myth is one that just does not seem to go away.
Myth #4. “I had my Website Optimized 5 Years Ago. It’s Good To Go!”
I said it before, SEO is a science. And it’s a science that is constantly evolving and changing.
Think about it like this; when trains were invented, did people stop trying to improve transportation? Of course not. It’s because out of that thirst to get better and to evolve that people eventually invented automobiles and airplanes.
The transportation industry evolved and so does SEO. There are changes that happen with the search engine algorithms DAILY. Just because you haven’t read about it in a frequented SEO blog, doesn’t mean that it isn’t happening. Just because it doesn’t have a name like Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, etc, does not mean that it is not relevant to what you’re doing.
There are a number of SEO companies that I follow (competitors) who have their sites optimized for the rules that were followed 2 years ago. There are a lot of companies that sell optimization packages with those same rules. So basically they are selling an outdated, irrelevant package that may end up hurting your rankings more than they help them.
You need to find a company that is evolving with the times, just like those search engine algorithms. If they are not, it is going to cost you in the long run.
I personally spend at least 5 hours a week on education and keeping up with the changes in the industry, and that’s not a typo. I literally spend more than 10% of my time keeping up with the changes (and that’s not going to change anytime soon). It’s part of a technological age. If you’re not evolving, you’re dying.
I also encourage EVERY BUSINESS to have an SEO audit at least once a year. As the rules change, your website needs to as well. A good audit can help you overcome a dramatic drop in the rankings that can (and will) eventually happen if you don’t keep up with the times.
Myth #5. “I can’t afford to have my website optimized. It’s too expensive.”
Not too long ago, I was in a situation where I greatly needed to have my site optimized. It was long before I even got into the digital marketing game. I spent about $3500 to get my site professionally optimized and I was “Guaranteed” results.
$3500! Are you kidding me? But I was sold on what they were offering and I went through with it. Needless to say, I’m not even sure what that company did other than run away with my money. Nothing happened to my site that made ANY difference and the only guarantee that I received was that they were SPENDING my money.
I used to see a lot of companies charging an astronomical amount of money to optimize sites. Yes, it is a very technical industry that not all companies can do well, but it’s also not what it used to be.
You can find good SEO professionals for $75-$125/hour. And that is a pretty good rate. Some may give you a break for your entire site, or just charge you by the hour. It varies from company to company.
However, before you go through with ANYTHING, make sure they can show you results, give you references, and provide you with whatever you need to make you feel comfortable with your decision.
Hopefully we have helped dispel some of the major myths that many have about SEO. Remember, SEO is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.