– By Pratibha Saroj
Though SEO keeps evolving, it has been here since a long time. Hence, there are few myths and apprehensions among the misguided/misinformed non-SEO experts that should be put to rest immediately. If not, these may put your business into serious trouble if not now, may be in long term
1. Can I take care of all SEO best practices at one go?
If you feel the world is going to remain the same till your website lasts, then our answer is yes. Unfortunately, search engines worldwide thought otherwise hence, in response to changing trends they constantly update SEO practices. Google has not only been constantly updating its search algorithms since year 2000 but has also been giving it quirky names like Mayday, Caffeine, and Panda, Penguin etc.
In short, SEO requires an on-going effort due to external factors such as increasing competition, changing customer behavior, evolving search engine algorithms, link degradation or internal factors like changing services/products, outdated content etc.
2. Is SEO still around?
Yes and No. No, because, fortunately the shady tactics of manipulating the search results and optimizing search rankings, which once defined SEO, are long dead! And Yes, because today, SEO’s role has extended to content optimization, which plays a key role in not just enhancing customers’ website experience but also giving them exactly what they are looking for on your website.
3. Isn’t SEO too technical for me?
It’s true that SEO requires IT tech wizards’ help for website development and modification. However, it should be something that is driven by Marketing since their strategies, budgets, business goals for the organization are strongly driven by consumer insights and these are key elements in charting a strong and relevant SEO plan.
4. All I need to do is get as many links as possible, isn’t it?
Having external links to the website is important as they help in building a website’s domain/page authority. However, this is not as easy as it appears. What is important to note is that search engines do not rate all the links equally, hence number of factors play an important role such as amount of traffic, Search Engine Results Page (SERP) ranking, customer engagement. So, beware of low quality links and Black Hat SEO practices!
5. How will I get that ‘magic keyword’?
Never or may be yes, if you happen to be your own customer. Users visit your website because your content matched their search query partially or completely, which doesn’t happen all the time. For example, Agency Insider’s readers can be all those who search for digital marketing, marketing agencies, social media marketing, SEO best practices etc. Sad part is, we cannot target all of them with just one keyword. Hence, keeping in mind the range of services and corresponding search queries of users, there can’t be just one Mantra for everything
6. Will SEO also take care of social media marketing?
Search and Social are two different but equally important factors that drive traffic to websites. Search comes into the picture when a person is looking for something such as “good restaurants nearby”. It comprises two parts: Organic and Paid. SEO (organic) helps you do that for free while Paid (PPC), as the name suggests involves playing with cost per click. Organic helps more from research aspect while if you have something to sell and your target is digitally inclined better go for PPC as well. Once your customer is a step ahead in his/her purchase journey and gets familiar with your brand, Social would hold higher potential. In such instances it’s more impactful to boost traffic through social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ either by paid (sponsored) advertising or peer recommendations.
7. Will SEO affect the look and feel of my website?
No, SEO will never affect the design of your website. In fact, the website development team should work in collaboration with the SEO team from the very outset to not just create a gorgeous looking website but also one that is compliant with SEO best practices. SEO works on front-end as well as back-end aspects of the website and it only reinforces your ultimate objective of reaching, acquiring and retaining customers.
8. Are Meta tags important for higher ranking?
Google stopped considering Meta descriptions and Meta keywords in their ranking algorithms in 2009. However, ask any digital marketer and they would recommend adding a Meta description for your website since it helps in encouraging users to click on your link if it matches their search query. But keep in mind, the same logic doesn’t apply for keywords and you should use them with discretion.
9. Can I get SEO done for free?
This question usually comes from those who believe “SEO is all tricks”. Had this been the case, search engines wouldn’t be spending so much time and effort in updating their algorithms to provide best results to users. Apart from following certain standard rules of SEO compliance such as having robots.txt file and sitemap, improving site architecture and speed there are a bunch of other rules that include, optimizing external/social links based on content, which in turn depends on your target segment and service offerings; choosing right set of Meta tags based on the website analytics and many more. So, be prepared to shell out some cash!
10. Why do I need SEO when Google is around?
Google once published the SEO starter guide, which is slightly dated but helpful nevertheless. The main intention behind publishing this guide was to help people get acquainted with such techniques and make full use of the same. Google crawls and ranks zillions of links based on their relevancy to a user’s search query. Hence, as you may have guessed, making all links relevant for all types of users is a hard nut to crack even for Google. Hence, it’s important for you to take that first step towards moving up the charts to Rank 1.
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