Search engine optimization (SEO) is a very misunderstood topic. Perhaps more than any other aspect of marketing, it seems like there are more lies spread about SEO than there is truthful (and helpful) information.
Test your knowledge of search engine optimization and see if you can figure out what’s true and what’s SEO fiction.
SEO Facts: Truth or Lie?
1. You Will Be Ranked Number One on Google
Of course, this is a LIE. There is great value in being in the number one position. It will earn you more clicks, which will get you a higher number of website visitors and will likely increase sales for your business.
That’s why so many search engine and content marketing firms claim to be able to get you the top spot in Google. However, not everyone can be number one.
The TRUTH is that no one can guarantee you the number one position.
Google changes its algorithms all the time.
Companies constantly change their SEO strategies.
Different people search for things in different ways.
All these factors impact search results, and no one can control them. It’s the reason why the only thing an SEO expert can guarantee first-page positioning. If a SEO firm gets everything right, your site should always be able to rank on page one, and come in first when all the stars align.
Bottom line: Don’t get taken in by the number one position scam. Be realistic about your Google ranking potential.
2. SEO Is Complicated
This is another LIE.
Most people believe SEO is extremely complex. One of the reasons for this is because it’s what SEO firms want you to believe so they can sell you more services.
SEO is mostly about following rules developed by Google and creating the best online experience when compared with other businesses in your category. It’s really that simple.
The complexity comes in because Google regularly changes its rules and what constitutes a quality website experience is constantly evolving. Every time a competitor improves their website, the parameters of what a quality online experience is go up. After all, all boats rise when the tide goes up.
Bottom line: SEO is relatively simple, but keeping up with Google rule and website quality changes can be complicated. This is where having a search engine optimization firm as a partner can be valuable. You and the people on your team can handle the basics of SEO, and the firm can keep you updated on what’s changing with Google and what good content and web design are. Then your SEO experts can support you through transitions and as you and the people on your team master new strategies and tactics.
3. Social Is Important for SEO
This might seem like a myth, but it’s TRUE. The likes, clicks, and shares you earn in social media send signals to Google that your content is good, people are attracted to it, and it seems authoritative. Plus, the more people you’re able to send to your site, the more positive website experiences Google will be able to track.
Bottom line: Social media is critical to SEO success. Your website won’t rank if social doesn’t send signals to Google that your site and the content on it are good.
4. Having a Lot of Links Will Improve Your Google Rank
This is sort of TRUE. Having a lot of links from respected sites to your site, and from your site to respected ones, will improve your ranking. Junk links to and from your site will ruin it.
Bottom line: It may take a little extra work to find and earn high-quality links, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Google looks for authoritative sites, and good links show that your site is associated with authoritative ones.
5. Having a Lot of Content Will Improve Google Rankings
This is another one that is sort of TRUE.
Having a lot of good content sends positive signals to Google. Having a lot of bad content will make your site’s ranking sink like a stone.
Bottom line: Google provides a service. It serves up content recommendations to people looking for information or to purchase something. If it serves up bad content or online experiences to its users, they won’t come back. They’ll give Bing a try instead.
6. It’s All About the Keywords
This used to be TRUE, but now it’s a LIE. SEO used to be all about using a lot of the right keywords on your web pages. Now Google considers more than 200 factors, one of which is the use of keywords when it determines search rankings. These include things like authority, site speed, headline use, and much more.
Bottom line: Earning top search engine positions is all about balance. If you deliver on the factors Google considers important better than your competitors do, you’ll outrank them. If you don’t, your rankings will fall.
7. There’s Only One Way to Achieve SEO Dominance
This is definitely a LIE. And it’s one that gets repeated a lot.
Many SEO experts claim that their approach to search engine optimization is the best one. The truth: There’s probably some merit to all of them. (Except for keyword packing, which is just plain wrong.)
The reason so many experts believe their approach to SEO is the best is because they don’t understand that it takes a holistic view to achieve SEO dominance. They’re unable to process the 200 plus factors that Google considers when it ranks sites. So instead, they focus on one or two areas that they specialize in. While this may help your site improve its rankings in the near future, it won’t get you to the top three — and keep you there over time.
Bottom line: As we’ve already covered, Google’s algorithm changes regularly. It’s important to take a holistic and flexible approach to optimizing your site. It’s never a smart idea to hang one’s hat on a single SEO trick. Instead, you should base your strategies on a complete multidimensional approach, which will definitely serve you better over the long run.
8. Google Updates Should Scare You
Sometimes this is a LIE. Other times it’s the absolute TRUTH.
Some Google algorithm updates are so minor, no one really notices them. Some are so major they’re cataclysmic and change all things search.
It’s important to stay current on the larger Google updates because they could seriously impact your expected search traffic. If you keep up to date, it will help prevent unexpected traffic drops that could cut into your bottom line. It will also help avoid traffic surges that could have a negative impact on the level of service you are able to provide to prospective customers.
Bottom line: It may seem challenging and time-consuming to stay up to date on Google’s latest algorithm changes, but it’s worth it. It will help you gain better control over your website traffic and overall business results. If you can’t do this on your own, hire an SEO expert who can monitor Google updates, explain them to you, and advise you on how to handle them.
9. The Most Important Thing to Focus on Is SEO
This is another LIE.
Search engine optimization is important, but no more critical than any other aspect of marketing.
You need to take a balanced approach, where you use SEO best practices to get as much traffic to your site as possible — and prevent it from being delivered to your competitors. Then, other aspects of marketing kick in, including delivering a meaningful brand experience, getting people to take action online, moving them through the sales process, closing the deal, and staying connected.
Bottom line: Search engine optimization is important, but it’s not the only thing you should be concerned about. It plays a significant role in getting prospective customers and clients to your site. But the marketing journey only starts there. Once SEO does its thing, it’s time for your marketing and sales teams to do theirs. Always remember: SEO plays a significant role in the marketing and sales process, but it isn’t everything.