Search engine optimisation (SEO) is an effective marketing tool for any online business. With the online market as competitive as it is, there are all too many misconceptions regarding SEO methods and techniques.
There is simply no two ways about it; SEO is a remarkably effective and competitive marketing tool for any online business to make use of. As methods and techniques have developed, so too have misconceptions and less than savoury practices (i.e.: unethical SEO).
Common SEO misconceptions include the following:
SEO: The Dark Art
- Misconception – SEO is difficult to achieve.
- Truth – Although SEO does involve some very complex technical aspects, the majority of it all boils down to basic common sense. As a website owner, understanding the basics of web structure and code, developing good keyword rich content writing skills, as well as accumulating some basic knowledge of search engines and traditional marketing strategies, a well optimised website is most certainly attainable.
SEO: Once is Enough
- Misconception – SEO only needs to be applied to a website once.
- Truth – SEO is a commitment and requires constant attention and updates. SEO operates according to the ever changing environment and inner workings of search engines (Google, MSN, Yahoo etc.). No website will ever be “perfectly” optimised for very long. Constant tweaking, analysis, evaluations, changes and additions will always need to be made in order to keep up with the evolving environment that is SEO.
SEO: Rank Importance
- Misconception – Achieving a high (top 10 or first page) ranking is the most important thing about SEO.
- Truth – Placement on a search engine results page (SERP) is not nearly as important as quality. High rankings can be achieved without the use of quality keyword rich content. High rankings without quality may attract internet users to click on a website, but will not be able to lure in as many customers. Number one on a SERP doesn’t always offer an internet user the most relevant of information that was being searched for in the first place. Instead all the right keywords may be used within content that is of no use or relevance.
SEO: “Quick Fix”
- Misconception – An SEO strategy will produce results in next to no time.
- Truth – Quality SEO techniques should not be rushed. Results can be seen in the short term but should not be expected. Every website and its objectives are different from another and will thus need to be optimised in relatively unique ways.
- Misconception – SEO guarantees results.
- Truth – SEO is not able to guarantee a website owner anything. Although there are many in the field of SEO, no one can ever really be certain of the precise metrics and algorithms that search engines make use of. SEO methods and techniques are constantly changing and developing. There are no hard and fast guarantees that are ethical (“white hat”) or honest.
SEO: Return on investment (ROI)
- Misconception – ROI is easy to measure.
- Truth – SEO related ROI is not all that simple to precisely determine. There will always be grey areas with regards to on-site and off-site work in an SEO campaign, which will make for somewhat challenging tracking. SEO works in that it can almost certainly bring in the “clicks” onto a website. How many of those clicks are converted into customers as a direct result of an SEO campaign is not as simple to precisely determine.
- Misconception – Website owners should only concern themselves with the most popular of search engines: Google.
- Truth – While it is true that Google holds the majority of the market share, other search engines such as Yahoo and MSN have a very good following of internet users too. It is therefore important not to leave other search engines out of an SEO campaign.
SEO: Improved Traffic
- Misconception – High amounts of traffic to a website translates as good SEO.
- Truth – Improved traffic does not necessarily mean that a website is entirely well optimised. Rankings are not solely reliant on an SEO campaign. Traffic to a website can be generated by other internet marketing means such as PPC (pay per click) campaigns, TV or radio broadcaster advertisements, e-mail, newsletters etc.
SEO: Specialised Companies & Money
- Misconception – More money spent for the services of an SEO company will bring about good search engine rankings.
- Truth – Rankings on SERPs cannot be bought. Specialised services are an immense help but cannot guarantee anything for any amount of money. Good SEO will, however, work with a knowledgeable and productive team working on a campaign. That too, money can’t buy.
SEO: Keyword Density
- Misconception – The higher the keyword density, the higher the SERP ranking.
- Truth – Any SEO method or technique in the hands of anyone can still be flawed. Although keyword density has a lot to do with SEO ranking placements, if they are poorly implemented or overdone, harm to a business’s growth potential can be done. A keyword density percentage needs to be determined in order to get a balance that can influence ranking positions. Keyword stuffing is one way to over do things and surely defeat the purpose of SEO altogether.
SEO is a fantastic way for any company operating online to create brand awareness and achieve a substantial growth in business. As much good as an SEO campaign can do, misconceptions will always be rife, like a bad smell in the air. The trick to getting the right advice from the right people requires some digging. By doing research, the false from the true can be determined. At the end of the day, results will ultimately speak for themselves, and misconceptions from “the real deal” determined.