There are all kinds of topics about websites that are highly debated and surrounded by myths, but none more so than Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Below we’ve revealed why the top 5 SEO myths are bogus.
Myth #1: Small Businesses Can’t Compete with Bigger Brands
They say that every lie begins with a grain of truth and so it is with this myth. There are certain terms that are going to be extremely difficult for small businesses to compete with big brands. These companies are established and have deep enough pockets to pay employees to solely focus on maintaining their position. Think company names here. For example, if you put the word “target” in Google, the whole first two pages of results are related to the Target brand retailer.
However, this does not mean that there is no way for small businesses to compete.
In the world of SEO, not all keywords are created equal. Careful keyword research can save you a whole lot of frustration moving forward. Use Google’s Keyword Tool to look for words or phrases that are closely related to your business, have a good amount of monthly search traffic and are not highly competitive. Also, try long tail keywords, which are more specific phrases consisting of 3 or more words. For example, if you are a hunting goods store and you would like to promote your practice targets, don’t simply use “Target” as your keyword. It is too broad and undescriptive of what you sell. Try phrases like “hunting practice targets” or “practice targets for hunters.” This technique not only allows you to take advantage of less competitive phrases, it lets consumers know that you have exactly what you are looking for. Your customers want the right results, so they too have stopped typing one or two word phrases.
Finally, small businesses have the opportunity to capitalize on local SEO. For instance, it may be difficult for a local restaurant to compete in organic search with large chains on the term “burger restaurant.” But adding your location to the keyword, using your city or city and state, can dramatically improve your results with people looking to grab a burger in your area. This is especially important since many local searches are done via mobile device. Make sure you include this location based information in your page title tags, and take advantage of local listings like Google Places. Make sure your listing is complete and optimized with your keywords. You’ll notice that Google tries to help users find restaurants near them by including these local listings on the first page.
Myth #2: You Have to Pay to Be Successful
This is one you will see a lot from a few different angles. There are those who think that they can avoid putting in the time to do SEO right by simply paying for links and ads, and there are those who are afraid their time spent on proper SEO tactics would be wasted as they will always be out ranked by the guy who is dumping all of his money into paid links.
Myth #3: Having a Website is Good Enough
Many people think creating a website is like making a movie, that once you’ve completed and it’s released, you move on to the next project. This couldn’t be further from the truth. If we were to stick with entertainment metaphors, building a website is like shooting a soap opera that never gets canceled. There is always more work to do.
Myth #4: Results Happen Overnight
We are often asked how long it will take to get to the first page on Google. While there is no hard and fast rule here, the general response is longer than you’d want. We’re not here to sugar coat things; while you can get to the first page for carefully chosen keywords, it is going to take time and hard work. Real SEO victories are not won overnight. Generally, it takes three to six months (for an existing website) of regular blog and social media posting, proper link building and website updates to build first page rankings, but the more competitive your keywords are, the longer it will take.
Myth #5: SEO is A Waste of Time
Arguably the biggest myth about SEO is that it has no real value. Whether they are defeatist and believe that you can get real results in page rankings or they simply don’t think that search rankings matter, there are a lot of doubters out there. But look at it this way, when you are looking for somewhere new to do, eat, shop or visit, what is the first thing you do? Chances are you pull out your phone and search for the type of business you’re looking for in Google. And the chances are even greater that you looked no further than the first or second page. SEO effort translates into greater awareness about your company.
If that wasn’t enough to sway you, let’s look at some hard statistics. Over 90% of online interactions start with a search engine (Rainbow SEO), 75% of users only look at the first page of search results, and of the links clicked on during searches (Hubspot), 75% are organic (as opposed to paid)(Search Engine Journal). Finally, there is the most telling statistic: in general, businesses owe 39% of their customers to search (B2B Social Media Guide).
We hope that by debunking these myths we’ve either affirmed your faith in the practice or inspired you to give it a try. Just remember, done right, SEO takes a lot of research, time and effort. Think yours is better spent elsewhere but still want to reap the benefits of SEO? Contact us for a free consultation to see how we can use SEO to help you meet your business goals.