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Dispelling the myths of SEO (what you really need to believe)

When it comes to search engine marketing, there’s a load of information available (even for us). Developing an SEO strategy has never been more important, but you need to navigate the good from the bad. Search engine marketing services have changed a lot over the years. In fact, that’s an understatement. There are, often, multiple updates a year from Google and, as a result, you need to continue adapting your SEO strategy. SEO myths come hand in hand with these updates, so many marketers are unsure as to what is outdated, essential and what will work. So, we’ve pulled together the most common myths to debunk them and set you on the right path.

SEO is a scam

Excuse me? Search engine marketing is, most definitely, not a scam. With the correct digital marketing strategy, you can see significant growth in traffic, customer retention and revenue. The below graph is a screenshot of the progress possible in just one year when investing in an SEO strategy.

It is not unattainable to double your traffic in just one year – particularly if you target the correct search terms and produce relevant and in-depth blog posts, keeping your website regularly updated. Unfortunately, many businesses have been approached by companies promising search engine marketing services, but deliver nothing. If you’ve paid £100 for one month’s work, and the company promises to place you at the top of Google, then that is a scam. Good SEO content marketing and digital strategies take time and research. It’s not a one size fits all industry, but one that takes extreme patience and commitment. If you have that, a good SEO strategy can prove additional rewards than more traffic.

We did it once

You might have done it once – two years ago – but your digital marketing strategy requires constant effort. Google likes to throw an update into the pot every couple of months, and the evolving search engine algorithms could spell bad news for a brand not up to date with SEO. Once done and left SEO strategies fall way below the mark, and will negatively affect your business. If you don’t continually improve your search engine marketing strategy, you are at risk of:

  • Link rot (bad backlinks and pages that no longer go anywhere)
  • Your competitors moving into higher positions in the SERPs
  • Outdated and no longer valuable content

The above graph is one such example of a retailer’s traffic undergoing a steady decline due to the lack of a consistent marketing strategy. The overall users have dropped from 10,444 to a staggering 5,959.

Keyword stuffing will get me to the top of Google

It won’t. Google is fast becoming more adept at reading natural language, and you need to roll with the times. Stuffing keywords into your text and turning it into a barely readable format is a big no-no. You wouldn’t go to dinner with your friend and shout ‘restaurants Newcastle’ every two minutes, so don’t do it on your blog. Likewise, Google will see through those people still hiding their terms behind a white font…

Write as if you would talk to a human. Of course, use keywords but let the article flow – you’ll then begin to pick up long-tail keywords naturally, thus improving your traffic. Plus, it’s likely your bounce rate will go through the roof if your readers don’t understand what you are saying due to the sheer volume of keyword stuffing.

The results are instant

As an SEO content marketing and digital agency, believe us when we say this would be a dream. Unfortunately, it’s not, and a good SEO strategy takes time and patience. At Flow, we like to spend the first month updating and ensuring your technical SEO is on point, before moving onto the juicier tasks in month two and three. Month three is when you’ll start to see the differences, and improvements, in traffic and the changes implemented. Likewise, if you have been looking at backlinks and digital PR, it’s likely you’ll see the updates to your domain authority within those two to three months.

It’s not instant and there may even be times you don’t see as much change as you hoped, but you will reach that end goal.

As you can see from the above graph, the website started with very few visitors in April – from 320 to 3586 in one year. It takes time for the SEO changes to take affect, but it will pay off in the end; that we can promise.

Link building is dead

Who started this rumour? Link building is not dead, but a valuable tool to get your business in front of the right people, at the right time. We can understand why people may be questioning link building services – particularly as Google’s John Mueller stated he wouldn’t place to much focus on the SEO technique. However, this comment was misinterpreted and many took this to mean Google will penalise you for obtaining backlinks. They won’t.

Nothing has changed in the way Google uses link authority in their search ranking algorithms. White-hat link building has never been more popular. John was, likely, referring to the more black-hat techniques – purchasing 1,000 links for only £10 sort of thing. This type of non-relevant link building should be avoided at all costs, and will see your website drop down in the SERPs. However, building natural links is one of the more successful SEM services and will see your traffic and domain authority grow.

links we've built 2018

PPC terms will help you rank organically

While there is no denying that bidding on particular terms you want to rank for, optimising the page and improving your quality score will have an increased effect on SEO overall. However, bidding on those terms and doing absolutely nothing of value to your website, and customers, is bad. Very bad, in fact. You’ll not see any signs of improvement organically, and it’s likely your competitors will begin to rank above – especially if they look into website optimisation and the like.

You can manipulate Google

No you can’t. Some days, it might feel like Google hates your website and SEO in general, but there’s no getting around the search engine. Google states that search engine marketing can ‘potentially improve your site and save time’, and it’s best to get in early with an SEO agency. However, attempt to manipulate Google and you’ll be sorry. You know the type of digital marketing; tricking your customers into believing false popularity and relevance. You will almost certainly be penalised if you employ black-hat techniques.

Linking out loses visitors

If your content is useful, practical, in-depth and relevant to your audience, they will always come back – even if you do link out to other sites. Obviously, linking out will send your visitors away, but that doesn’t mean your site will not be successful. Far from it. Many brilliant and popular websites are so popular due to their linking to valuable sources. Don’t be afraid to share a link, as you may even get a reciprocal link in the near future.

Quantity is better than quality

Arrggggghhhh. It is not. There are websites, today, that only have a few pages on their products and services. However, they rank much higher in the SERPs than those with thousands of pages, and it’s due to the quality. Create pages and blog posts if they add value to your website and consumers, but don’t just do it for the sake of ranking.

While Google does favour fresh content – and you must ensure your blog is regularly updated – posting everyday on the same subject will begin to dilute previous content, and you’ll likely notice a drop in traffic.

Don’t worry about mobile

There’s no getting around this point – mobile is important. Google has been active at rolling out mobile-first indexing, but what is it? Essentially, mobile-first indexing means the mobile version of your site is Google’s starting place to index. If you do not have a mobile-friendly site, the desktop version will still be included in the index. You’ll want to ensure that page speed and load time are prioritised and, if possible, improved. Keep in mind that your audience are likely on their phone more than ever before, and perhaps even their primary method for accessing your site. The number of mobile users is continuing to grow, heading for an estimated 5 billion in 2019 – those are numbers you cannot ignore.

mobile optimised vs mobile responsive

I only need HTTPS on checkout pages

Over two years ago, Google stated it would shine a light on those websites with unencrypted connections. Google Chrome is following through with this promise, and calling out those sites that are not secure. You should have HTTPS implemented across all pages, not only to reassure those landing on your homepage, but it is the future of the web. Likewise, it protects the privacy and security of your users, subconsciously building trust between your brand and customers.

Ultimately, there are plenty of SEO myths on the internet today. If you’re not up to date with your digital marketing strategy, we suggest reading up on the available resources – there’s a lot of info out there. However, if you would like to discuss our search engine marketing services – you can get in touch with our team via the contact form below.

Lauren Green
Lauren Green

Lauren has over three years experience in copywriting and producing content for the web, having worked in the digital marketing industry since graduation. With her degree in Journalism under her belt, Lauren is responsible for producing innovative and exciting copy, alongside content marketing strategies for Flow.

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