Internet users perform more than 2 trillion searches on Google alone each year. Organic results are 8.5 times more likely to be clicked than PPC results. And mobile is making search easier than ever thanks to the ever-increasing usage of voice search.
Why is SEO good news for marketers?
SEO’s playbook is simpler, less expensive, and more efficient than social media marketing, podcasting, or paid ads. In fact, SEO may be the most important tool in your digital marketing box.
Yet, some companies shy away from SEO, fearing their SEO company will try a black hat tactic and get them penalized by Google, or thinking SEO is too complex for them. These companies are letting their fears dictate their strategy, and in so doing, they’re leaving dollars on the table.
Let’s lay to rest 7 of the most insidious SEO fears before 2018 gets any older.
1. Google will penalize me if I make an error.
Unless you’re a bad actor of some kind, Google isn’t going to penalize you. What they might do is downgrade your ranking if – and only if – your site’s quality is poor. Avoid that by making sure your links work, running spell check, and hiring yourself a copywriter who won’t duplicate other sites’ content. A clean website isn’t going to get penalized for a few minor errors in judgment.
2. I can’t outrank my industry’s giants so I shouldn’t try.
You’re right that you can’t outrank the titans of your industry for a general search, but searches are rarely that generic. Remember that the searcher is a real person in a specific place with a need for reliable information. Take restaurants, for example. Hungry diners aren’t looking for great restaurants around the world. They’re in search of an eatery near them. By managing its SEO carefully, a local food spot can outrank national chain restaurants among the people who might actually eat there.
3. It takes too much time to do SEO. I want immediate results.
SEO offers immediate results in the form of a clear, clean, fast website full of helpful information. It does, however, take longer than a day or two to claim a prized spot in Google search engine ranks. In fact, it might take 4-6 months before your site sees significant ranking improvements. SEO is a longer-term strategy designed for businesses that are playing a longer-term game.
4. SEO is too complex for me.
It might be easier than you think. No matter how complicated Google’s algorithms become, the fundamentals of SEO don’t change much from year to year. Publish valuable and authoritative content, and Google will love you back.
5. Creating content is a waste of time and money.
Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional advertising but generates three times as many leads. People have been creating content since prehistoric hunters promoted a new kind of spear with scratches on the walls of their caves. Ben Franklin did it with Poor Richard’s Almanac. And Michelin’s travel guide is still a staple of industry 118 years after it was first published. Content marketing is nothing more than offering informative, well-crafted, and valuable information to your prospective buyers. That is never a waste of resources.
6. You can’t do real analytics on SEO.
You’re right. It’s not possible to do a perfect analysis of SEO, but you can measure and evaluate your activity in ways that tell you what you need to know. For instance, you can learn how many people found your site through organic search, see how your rankings have changed, and watch readers’ interaction with your content. It’s also possible to count conversions against budget. If you really want to test SEO, try optimizing some pages on your website but not others. See which ones perform best.
7. Nobody can beat Google anyway.
You’re not trying to. SEO is not about creating an antagonistic relationship with Google. Instead, it’s about helping Google understand what’s on your site so it can recommend you to the right searchers.
Three Steps to Improve Your SEO
1. Create high quality, reader-centered, and up-to-date content.
Google seeks informative pages to offer its searchers more than anything. Your content needs to be thoroughly researched and cleanly organized with plenty of white space and good H2 headings.
Many companies now shoot for 10x content in which they attempt to answer any potential question on a topic by creating a pillar page. This can be a good idea when professional designers and writers create the content and the page architecture.
2. Use plenty of specific images and videos on the page.
Multimedia content that includes text, graphics, images, and videos performs better than blocks of words. Producing short video clips or creating imagery isn’t nearly as expensive or time consuming as it once was. Searchers – and search engines – like pages that offer the same information in multiple formats. Be warned that stock photos don’t get the same love as ones unique to your site.
3. Improve load time and website speed.
Want to shoot up the Google rankings? Make your desktop and your mobile sites load in double quick time. According to the SEO gurus at Yoast, “Google’s latest research shows that the chance of a bounce increases 32% when the page load time goes from 1s to 3s. 1s to 5s increases the chance to 90% and if your site takes up to 10s to load, the chance of a bounce increases to 123%.”
SEO is still one of the best strategies you can use to market your online brand. Let go of your SEO fears in 2018 and start publishing content that gets results.
Feel free to contact us to learn more about winning SEO strategies by reaching out to Dave Saraceno here: [email protected]