When many business owners are told they should work on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), they start to get a little anxious. They’ve been told all manner of things about SEO by their friends and peers, and they’re not sure where to start, if they can do it, or how hard it will be. Before you consider hiring an expensive professional, investing in expensive information products or software, or start working on shady information, allow us to dispel some of the common misconceptions about SEO.
There can be some fairly technical aspects of SEO, sure, but you can get a lot of mileage out of some pretty easy tasks. Are you blogging? Blogging is an incredibly powerful SEO tool. The more blog posts you write and the more often you write them, the faster your website is going to attract visitors. Making your customer aware of your business is one of the tenets of the marketing concept of inbound marketing.
A lot of the people that provide SEO services want you to think you need them to do everything for you, that no part of it is easy enough for you not to use a professional. That might be true for some things, but all SEO service should come with a plan for you to follow on your own. Leave the technical stuff to the pros, and tackle the easy tasks like blogging yourself.
This one usually comes in an advertisement and usually with a price tag. There are tons of charlatans out there trying to convince you that their special approach, or their fancy new software, or their “secrets Google doesn’t want you to know” are going to catapult your website to the top of the search results for any search term you want. The fact is, there’s no one tool, trick, or technique that’s going to make a huge difference for you.
Good SEO is about delivering a quality experience for your visitors, and that means it incorporates the kind of information on your site, how it’s organized, how engaging the site is, how valuable others online see your content, etc. It’s a multifaceted practice, and needs to be treated that way. If that’s not the message someone is trying to sell you, beware.
Just like the previous one, this is a big selling point for a lot of the junk SEO products out there. If someone is selling you an easy way out of doing something you think is going to be difficult, you should look at it with the same justifiable skepticism as you would a diet pill. Getting top rankings in days is no more plausible than losing 20 Ibs overnight.
SEO is a long-term, never-ending process, and that can be intimidating for most people. SEO isn’t an item to be checked off your list, it’s part of your marketing maintenance. Just like ordering supplies, processing payments, or answering customer service requests, SEO is part of your ongoing operations and should always be on your mind when working on your website or creating content.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was some magic loophole in how Google works that you could exploit to crush your competition? A lot of people out there think there is. I’ve seen these trends come and go, “just do this and you’ll get on page one”, and 10 years ago that might have been true. Search algorithms have come a long way and the people designing them read all the same stuff you do. They know the latest things people are using to try to game the system.
Google has been in this business a long time, and they’re very good at closing loopholes. Not only that, they usually include some sort of penalty for trying to trick them, which occasionally includes removing your site for the search results entirely.
We have seen many business owners who, no matter how much we beg and plead, are simply not interested in working on their SEO. They’ll spend money on AdWords, or they’ll run ads in the local papers, or any number of other marketing activities, but SEO is just not on the table. Meanwhile, their competition has been working on SEO for years and has built a large and reliable stream of traffic to their website.
Think about that- with thoughtful planning and a little elbow grease, small businesses are developing large sources of free traffic. Why wouldn’t you want to jump all over that opportunity? Your competition is doing it, you need to be doing it too.
There’s a lot of bad information floating around out there on SEO. Do your research and be careful with who you take advice from. Most reputable SEO experts give away information for free, and only charge for services or tools that help with specific tasks. If you’ve come across some advice that seems questionable, feel free to ask about it in the comments below.
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