With 2016 in our review mirror and 2017 upon us, we’d like to revisit three simple letters: “SEO.”
Some of you out there like us at The frank Agency are excited about search engine optimization and understand how it can dramatically affect a business. Conversely, some of you may be reluctant about SEO, unsure exactly how it works or why it’s even necessary to begin with.
So, with the New Year upon us, we wanted to take a step back and address our top 4 misconceptions about SEO.
1. SEO is a method of “tricking” search engines
There certainly was a lot of trickery involved in SEO a decade ago. During Google’s infant stages, using certain black-hat tactics often produced better results on keyword rankings than the more scrupulous methods did.
However, to the delight of many, Google released several updates (Panda and Penguin in particular) that began devaluing websites which possessed thin content and used precarious backlinking strategies, and instead began promoting websites equipped with well-written, original content and honest backlinking strategies.
Because of its history, it’s easy to see why some people believe SEO is still about “getting one over” on Google. In reality, however, SEO simply refers to the collection of strategies used to increase a website’s or webpage’s value to both Google, and most importantly, to the reader. These strategies include:
- making your website as valuable and informative as possible for the keywords for which you are trying to rank.
- telling Google through title tags, H1s and H2s, meta descriptions, keyword density, etc. what your website or webpage is all about.
- building effective linking strategies to increase a website’s awareness across the internet
- ensuring a website is built properly for load speed, URL structuring, and more to maximize the user’s experience.
- and many more
Sure, there are tried and true strategies to what works and what doesn’t with SEO, but the days of black-hat SEO trickery are all but over. All SEO strategies used by The frank Agency contribute to a website’s and webpage’s value – often resulting in higher rankings for the keywords in which our clients are interested.
2. Results take too long to achieve
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is undoubtedly the most effective strategy from which to gain the most immediate results. However, while SEO will rarely produce results as fast as PPC, success can be achieved quicker than you might realize. It really all depends on your goals and the keywords you are trying to improve.
For example, if you run an online shoe company and want to rank first for “running shoes,” that’s going to require a massive marketing budget. In this scenario, running a PPC campaign is probably the best option.
However, if you temper your goals a bit and find some of the longtail keywords for which people search, like…
- best mens running shoes for high arches (40 searches per month)
- where to get running shoes in fire red (40 searches per month)
- running shoes with memory foam insoles (40 searcher per month)
…you might find that while the search volume is lower for those keywords, so too is the competition, or the number of websites trying to rank for those keywords.
An effective SEO content strategy has the ability to produce relatively quick results for certain keywords, especially those with lower competition. And each of those lower-trafficked keywords improved upon equal small victories which can add up fast and result in impressive traffic increases to your website.
3. SEO doesn’t really affect my business
A large portion of online searchers and shoppers click the organic results because they trust in Google’s algorithm to offer the best results possible for the keywords that were searched for.
To use our previous example, searching for “best mens running shoes for high arches” produces the following SERP:
As you and searchers of this keyword will find, this particular longtail keyword is simply too specific for a highly relevant ad to be displayed. Instead, searchers will see an ad titled “2017 Top 5 Men’s Running Shoes.”
However, look below the paid ad, as you will find what’s referred to as a “snippet,” which is an organic link, and another organic link to a highly relevant article about running shoes for high arches.
In this particular example, it’s clear to see how, at times, the non-paid listings produce more relevant results that those of paid ads. If your company sold high-arch shoes, this free listing would be a valuable online asset for your business.
4. SEO isn’t working if keywords are losing rank
From a client’s perspective, we get it: If you see a handful of keywords falling (even if others are rising), it can be alarming. It can be easy to want to pull the plug on future SEO efforts.
However, this is actually a natural process in keyword rank shifts. It is very common that updating a page, even with very conservative tweaks, can first result in slight decreases in targeted keyword rankings.
The reality is, every website, no matter how successful it is in the eyes of Google, has a selection of keywords that increase each week and a selection of keywords that decrease each week. It’s a bit of ingenuity on Google’s part to keep everyone on their toes.
As SEO experts, it is our job to closely watch ranking and traffic patterns to make sure that over time our client’s website are trending upward. So, while some weeks a website may lose more keyword rankings than it gained, we must ask ourselves: “Is this part of the natural game of musical chairs Google likes to play,” “Or is it a pattern of downward movement over the course of several months?”
In the rare cases in which the latter is true, it’s the SEO’s responsibility to identify decreasing ranking and traffic patterns and determine where the problems lie: not properly targeting keywords; not producing quality content for those keywords; not having a proper backlinking strategy; etc.
2016 has been an awesome year here at The frank Agency, and like the rest of you, we can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store. If you have any additional questions about SEO and how it can affect your business, or if you are looking for an agency to help you with your SEO efforts, please contact us today!