Anyone who has a website or knows anything about marketing will probably have heard of SEO – or Search Engine Optimisation. In a world where we use the internet for everything from buying Christmas presents to booking holidays, it is essential that your website can be found amongst the great expanse of the internet. And that is what SEO is all about.
There are two important concepts behind SEO – being able to give searchers what they are looking for as efficiently as possible and understanding how search engines, like Google, produce their search engine rankings.
The world of SEO is ever-changing and full of misconceptions, and here are 6 of the most common ones…
1. It’s a ‘trick’
Some people believe that SEO is all about trying to trick search engines into putting your website at the top of the rankings. Actually, it’s about trying to provide the best and most useful information to the public by ensuring that the right content is found easily.
An understanding of the technical side of SEO will help the right people find your website, making a search engine more effective and bringing you the quality traffic that you need.
2. It’s all about the keywords
Back in the day, SEO was all about stuffing your content full of keywords. Today, however, things have changed. It is no longer about getting as many keywords into your content as possible, but about creating content that’s valuable to the user while strategically placing well-researched keywords in the text. This ensures your searchers will get straight to the information that they are looking for and not click away (increasing your bounce rate).
With recent algorithm updates being released, such as the BERT update, search engine optimisation focuses now on answering users’ queries in the best way they can, while being concise and visually-appealing. This balance can be tricky to uphold, but when mastered, it can make all the difference to the reader.
3. SEO, tick!
Another common misconception of SEO is that it’s something that you do, then tick off the list. Just like any other sort of marketing, SEO is something that needs to be continually worked on and updated.
Not only will you find that search engines like Google, are regularly changing their algorithms which decide on website rankings, but your competitors are also likely working on improving their SEO too. And, frankly, if you don’t keep on top of it, you will find yourself being left behind.
An SEO consultant will be able to continuously look at your website to determine exactly what needs to be done to help you rank at the top of the search engine results.
4. SEO isn’t very important
Of course, we’re going to say that SEO is important. But it really is.
75% of online marketers never scroll past the first page of search engines, and to get to that first page, you’re going to need SEO in order to compete with the hundreds of sites in your industry. Furthermore, showing up on the first page doesn’t just help you to get new customers; it also builds your brand, credibility and trust. When people read over your website and receive useful, accurate information from you, even if they’re not your customer now, they could turn into one in the future.
5. Linking doesn’t help
You might think that linking both external and internal, is annoying and unnecessary, but hear us out. In fact, linking and link building are major players in the way that search engines like Google determine popularity and therefore where they are going to rank your website.
But it’s not that easy. There are many tricks to gaining links for your site and it is a multi-faceted task. Google is aware of black-hat link building strategies and understands that some links are included in content purely for SEO purposes, which goes against their user-orientated values. Not only that, bloggers, journalists and marketers are becoming more and more aware of this strategy which makes it harder to get that desired link. It’s an ongoing, ever-changing process that needs to be done in the right way – so take your time and get those links in ethically and organically.
6. First Place or Nowhere
Although ranking first is certainly not something to turn your nose up at – and you will receive significantly more traffic just by appearing on the first page – Google has been making it harder to improve organic traffic for websites. One reason for this is because, over the years they have released SERP features that continue to take up space on the page, such as featured snippets. Simultaneously, ads continue to dominate the first part of the search results, with Google altering their appearance so that they blend in more with organic listings. Therefore, not only have you got to gain a first-page ranking, you also need to master the art of optimising for other SERP features. Statistics show that the first ranking is being increasingly pushed down the results page, reducing the number of search queries that result in organic clicks to just 40%. Read more on our blog about Google’s latest design of the results page and how this could impact you.