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SEO: Expectation Vs. Reality
As a digital marketing agency, we’ve heard a lot of misconceptions about SEO. These have ranged from the whacky (Can SEO make my business famous?) to the outdated (If we add extra keywords in white font, can we fool Google?) to the understandable (I want to be able to change my keywords whenever I want).
Here, we break down some of the most misguided SEO beliefs and explain how optimisation really works.
SEO is Keywords
Expectation: Slotting 5-10 keywords into web content will mean top 5 ranking
Reality: There’s a lot more to SEO than just keywords
SEO is a tricky concept to master, and the rules are continually changing. To effectively optimise your website for search engines, you need to evaluate your content, user intent, web layout, design, indexability, meta descriptions, title tags, site speed, social media, bookmarking, UX, and link building. Sounds like a lot, right? Keep in mind that these are broad categories, and a lot of detailed work must go into each one if you want to pull off a successful SEO campaign.
SEO is a Quick Fix
Expectation: Adding keywords will improve your ranking immediately
Reality: Achieving top SEO results will often take months
While you may see jumps in your ranking when on-page activity begins, SEO generally takes time to kick-in and start working consistently for your website. This is because Google needs time to think of your website as an authority on a particular subject, which doesn’t happen overnight. The good thing is that once you’re on a roll, this can really pay off in the long run. While there is no hard and fast rule for keyword use, your SEO company should advise on the best keywords for you.
The Highest Searched Terms are Best
Expectation: Using the most searched terms lets you compete with the big brands
Reality: You’ll probably never reach the same level as well-known brands
The truth is, there are some keywords that you’ll simply never rank first for. Your SEO company should be clear about this from the get-go. Competing for very general keywords that are dominated by established big names such as Amazon or the Mayo Clinic will be a waste of time and money for your business. Long-tail keywords or more niche wording, including location-based queries, are more likely to pay off for your business in the long run.
New Content is King
Expectation: Updating the content on your site daily will allow you to rank higher
Reality: Content freshness is not an essential ranking factor for most industries
While the freshness of content is a contributing factor for some queries, it doesn’t factor in most of the time. If your business is in news, entertainment or another industry that demands timely information, fresh content will be rewarded in rankings. For other business types, ranking is still ruled by other factors such as backlinks and page authority. There is still value in adding new content to your site as needed or through another medium such as a blog.
Social Directly Helps Ranking
Expectation: Featuring your site on social media will help you rank higher
Reality: Linking through social media isn’t likely to boost your rankings directly
Links from social sites aren’t trusted as legitimate, earned sources but that doesn’t mean you should ignore your social presence. You may gain exposure through social media, which may, in turn, earn you links from other reliable sources who want to feature your content on another site. Continue to promote your content via social to up your traffic, expose your content to new eyes, and provide an active presence but don’t expect it to affect your SEO.
Duplicating Content is Fine
Expectation: To rank well for multiple pages, you can just copy/paste old content
Reality: This is a big faux pas in the SEO world and won’t improve ranking
It’s extremely frowned upon to add duplicate content to your site. While some SEO practitioners will tell you that you can be penalised for this by Google (don’t worry you can’t), it does in another way affect your rank. Duplicate content will effectively mess with your ranking by confusing Google into thinking it’s already crawled that content. Multiple areas of duplicate content won’t result in more than one page ranking for the same words due to the algorithm.
SEO Replaces PPC
Expectation: To save budget you can replace PPC with SEO
Reality: Channelling your funds into a combination of the two is your best bet
People often think that PPC is draining their budget without any return and can be swapped for a less expensive version via an SEO campaign. First, check to see if you’re trying to buy ad clicks that are realistic for your brand or could be better targeted. Second, combine SEO practices, building up page authority over time so that you can ease off your PPC efforts. You’ll find a happy medium between the two will bring the most quality traffic to your site.
Traffic Means Conversions
Expectation: More traffic, more leads, more sales, more money
Reality: Quality traffic and customer-driven copy mean more than site visits
Just getting high volumes of traffic won’t necessarily pay off in leads or sales. It’s a better use of your SEO budget to target specific keywords that actually attract users who will want to take advantage of your products/services. Once they’re on your site, they need to see content that applies to them, which is another massive part of SEO, quality content creation. Your SEO company should prepare pages in anticipation of your client’s needs.
Zib Digital offers industry-leading digital marketing work to enhance business efforts. As specialists in online presence, we help businesses facilitate an earned space for themselves within the digital landscape. Get in touch to discuss an SEO strategy for your specific business.