In 2002, when I started implementing search engine optimization (SEO) programs for my clients’ websites, the biggest myth on the Web was, “build it and they will come.”
I think it is safe to say that this myth is dead. Today, marketers understand that every website needs some type of digital marketing effort to be successful. In most cases this digital marketing tactic is search engine optimization. But there are a lot of myths that I continue to hear surrounding SEO. It’s time to clear the air on five.
SEO Myth #1: Rankings Are Everything
Rankings are an important element in SEO, but the real measures of success are conversions and sales. The success of an SEO campaign cannot be judged by the ranking of a single keyword phrase. It should be measured by the increase in targeted website traffic and conversions from natural search engine referrals. Remember that most rankings are now personalized to individuals based on their previous search behavior, location and social graphs. A #1 ranking in your results may be on the second page of someone else’s.
SEO Myth #2: Guaranteed Top Listings
Google has over 200 different factors that make up its constantly-changing search algorithm. No SEO firm completely understands and can manipulate these factors to guarantee a ranking. Yes, there are best practices experienced search engine marketers can use to produce results, but no one can guarantee top “organic” listings. You can receive a high listing using pay-per-click search ads, but even then, it may be difficult to guarantee a top listing 100% of the time due to Google’s quality score algorithm.
SEO Myth #3: Search Engine Optimization is a One-time Project
Google’s algorithm is always changing. Shouldn’t your SEO campaign? Your business services and offerings are constantly evolving. Shouldn’t your SEO campaign evolve with it? SEO can’t be thought as a one-time project, but as an ongoing campaign. There are always ways to continually improve your SEO campaign by updating meta data, improving and generating new content, integrating social media, link building, etc.
SEO Myth #4: The More Links the Better
SEO firms have different stances on link building and link generation. Experienced search engine marketers understand that good rankings are not about the total number of links, but the total number of “quality” links. High quality relevant incoming links will help to improve your site’s results..
SEO Myth #5: Meta Data = SEO
Just because your site has meta data doesn’t mean that your site has been optimized. There are a lot of other factors that must be considered beyond meta data to rank in the search engines. “Readable” website content, keyword count, keyword density, site architecture, link popularity, social media integration and web server speed are just to name a few.
At JPL, I’m proud to say that we practice white hat SEO techniques and we’ve done so successfully for hundreds of websites. But SEO cannot stand alone as your only digital marketing tactic. The most successful digital marketing campaigns have elements of SEO, paid search, social media marketing, mobile and other online advertising.