You’re an intelligent person. You know that your website is the key to success in the modern world. You know that search engine optimization (SEO) is the key to your website being found.
You also know that SEO is a mystery to you.
Like any successful entrepreneur, when you can’t do it yourself, you hire someone. You try to choose an SEO expert with credentials.
But that’s the trick to SEO. The algorithms change all the time, and the search engines don’t plan on cluing anyone in to all the changes. They want to stop site owners from cheating.
Even still, search engine optimizers like to promise the world, even if it means telling lies. You need to make sure they’re not using one of these famous 7 lies to dupe you.
The Top 7 Search Engine Optimization Lies
- “I’ll get you on the first page of Google.” Oh, that’s cute! I’ll start by saying that Google itself warns against firms that make this claim. But if their warning isn’t enough, consider the number of available page-one spots for your keyword. For most, there are 8 to 10 non-advertisement slots on page one. Unless there are that few companies in your industry, this is a mathematically impossible promise to make. In fact, just about any quantifiable result is a promise that an SEO company can’t make. Your site’s rank can change daily and for any number of reasons that you and the SEO guy can’t control. Look for a track record, not a promise.
- “I can help any industry rank.” Ok, the average search engine optimization expert might know the basic rules about keywords, backlinks, and meta-tags that help pages rank, but he likely doesn’t understand what your customers want. And that’s a big deal. A complete SEO strategy involves figuring out the longtail keywords you need to rank for, and that takes industry knowledge.
- “I know the algorithms.” Ha! The search algorithms are Google’s #1 secret. Nobody – and I mean nobody – outside the company knows them, and Google intends to keep it that way. They have hundreds of ranking factors and sometimes reveal some of the keys (because they want you to know what to do), but they keep search as pure as possible by hiding the rest. The best in the SEO industry still don’t know what the most important ranking factors are.
- “Duplicate content won’t hurt your SEO.” Bull. Crap. Duplicate content has been a major problem for years. Marketers tried to spread the same, keyword dense content across multiple domains in order to manipulate search. That resulted in Google creating a specific penalty for it. However, some SEO experts will tell you it’s no big deal. However, Google doesn’t know why you have it, so they recommend eliminating it. Thankfully, Google has recommendations to help you.
- “The more links, the better.” Backlinks still count. They have for a very long time, and despite Google’s long-term-plan to reduce their importance, they won’t be leaving until Google is better at understanding natural language and knowing what we want. In the mean time, you need to ditch that idea that more is better. Google is looking for quality over quantity, and that should be your focus as well.
- “SEO is all you need.” This is one of my favorites. Look, SEO is great, but even it requires a combination of channels to hit it’s maximum potential. That means you need a strong social presence, great advertising, and a content marketing plan. By the way, all of the above help you build your SEO. Content marketing elevates SEO rankings. Social creates good backlinks. And Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising gives you great keyword data and a lift in click-through-rates (CTR).
- “All you need to do is follow Google’s recommendations.” You know that Google makes money from advertising, right? Investopedia estimates 90% of Google’s revenue comes from ads. While it’s a good idea to follow their recommendations, it would be foolish to think that’s enough. They want your ad money, so they won’t tell you everything. Your SEO expert should be paying attention to what the industry has to say as well.
The best in the SEO industry still don’t know what the most important ranking factors are.
SEO Should Focus On Relevance
At the end of the day, Google is trying to deliver the most relevant results to the users. All of the efforts they put in to their algorithm focus on that. Make sure you’re producing good content that your target market wants to know about. When you do, your SEO efforts will really have an impact.