Optimizing your website pages will attract search engine crawlers and rank your site higher in Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). The higher you rank, the greater the traffic to your site and the higher possibility your targeted customers will make a purchase. That’s the purpose of SEO.
There are many SEO misconceptions about how to rank best on SERPs because SEO is always changing and new algorithms are always altering ranking criteria. There are bad practices, illegal activity, content farms, link farms, spam and out of date information running rampant on the web, mostly from unscrupulous internet marketers promising misleading goals for cash. The misunderstanding of SEO for your small business can cause great harm to your sites’ ranking and bottom line.
Here are five of the most common SEO misconceptions I often hear:
1. AdWords Automatically Boosts Ranking
PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising and SEO are two separate things. Google AdWords and Google’s free search results are independent of one another. Spending money on AdWords won’t specifically impact your ranking in Google’s free search results. However, paid advertising will increase your exposure and often place your ad at the top of a SERP, often leading to higher CTRs, which in turns leads to higher rankings.
Similarly, canceling your AdWords account won’t lead to your website being banned from Google’s search results. If paid advertisements manipulated organic search results, the internet as we know it would be an entirely different animal soon to be extinct.
2. Content Should be Written for Search Engines
To some extent this is true, but don’t forget it’s the customer who will ultimately impact how well your result will rank. The content on your page must contain a specific keyword you want to rank for, and any other related keywords a searcher might use. Keyword research is extremely important in determining what keywords you should use and how much search traffic they receive. You need to get into the mindset of your ideal reader and touch on topics and include phrases they would search for. If you’re only concerned about optimizing for search engine, you may have initial good SERP ranking, but it will fall dramatically if no one clicks on your result or if your page has a high bounce rate.
Write compelling content for searchers and edit for the search engines!
3. Any Inbound Link Will Do
Inbound links are links on other sites that point to yours. Relevant, reputable links to your site are extremely beneficial to your website credibility and page rank. If you have inbound links from an already trusted or related source, both search engines and searchers will put more trust in your business as well. But, on the other hand, irrelevant and link spamming (e.g. paid links, blog spammers, guestbook spammers, etc.) can get you into trouble with Google and cause your rankings to be penalized.
For instance, if you manufacture light bulbs and GE links to your site as a reference or partner, that inbound link would be beneficial to your sites optimization. On the other hand, your uncle Tony owns a pizzeria and links back and because of the lack of relevance to your business, that link becomes worthless. Inbound links do have a positive effect on rank, but only when they’re done correctly. Stay away from these black hat techniques and instead invest in steadier, proven SEO methods.
4. You Only Need to Optimize Your Site Once
This may be the most detrimental SEO myth out there! An effective SEO strategy is not a one and done deal. You need to do SEO work continually if you want to maintain a high amount of website traffic, plain and simple!
Because Google and other search engines are always changing how they rank results, a quick trick to rank well won’t last. And as your business develops and grows, you may start to expand and want to target different types of audiences which will require you to target other keywords and marketing options. Keep in mind, you’re also competing with other businesses in your market to rank for some of the same keywords. You don’t want to be beat out by another business simply because you fell behind on updates.
Every time you create a new page, sell a new product, expand your shipping locations, go through a site re-design etc. you need to go back and re-optimize your site.
5. Ranking for One Keyword is Good Enough
As a niche small business, there should of course be a specific keyword you want your website to rank for, but it doesn’t stop there. Don’t rely on a single keyword for all your web traffic, because if you suddenly drop in your rankings (for whatever reason) your business could suffer greatly and you may never fully recover. You want to maintain a steady stream of high rankings for a variety of keywords directed at your target audience and various buyer personas. Once you produce quality content around those other keywords, you’ll start to have steady traffic and you’ll gain more leads.
Search engine’s rapidly changing ranking algorithms make it difficult to pinpoint specific SEO strategies that will continually rank your result higher in SERPs. However, there are certain ways to boost your rank that have been proven successful throughout various updates and changes. We can expel certain SEO misconceptions and myths, knowing that specific actions are penalized by search engines.