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SEO - The 4 Common Misconceptions

SEO (search engine optimisation) – Common Misconceptions

By Matt Rowe - i-Marketing New Zealand

It seems that in today’s digital landscape, everyone and their dog is an expert in all things online. Sometimes, however, there’s more misinformation than real honest knowledge, and this is all too true in the area of Search Engine Optimisation.

SEO, as those in the business call it, is about making the path between your potential clients and your website as clear as possible. It’s about making sure that you not only get increased traffic, but that the traffic that comes your way translates into action. It’s about making your product or service easy to find, and easy to follow.

Here are some common mistakes made by newbies and professionals alike; in addition to these, make sure you are up to date with current technology so that your strategy can keep up.

1. “SEO should be expensive/cheap!” – Getting your budget right

SEO is not the only way to increase quality traffic to your site, but neither is it the only thing you should be focused on. Businesses serious about their online presence need to take into account all the tools available to them – pay-per-click advertising, email marketing, online coupons and social media campaigns all come with their own benefits and are excellent ways to reach your clients.

Having said that, SEO is an important long term project that you need to plan for and strategise appropriately. It takes time to develop that plan, implement it, monitor the results and make adjustments as necessary. Professional SEOers will not be able to do this for you dirt cheap, not if you expect the results that SEO done properly can provide.

Smaller businesses need to either revaluate the time frames in which SEO takes place, or make sure that the initial ground work is thorough enough that you can find a niche that has a high ROI.

2. “It’s all about keywords on your homepage” – Getting the content right

Keywords are what SEO is all about – but it’s not a matter of plastering your homepage with every single potentially relevant keyword and hoping for the best.

First of all, remember that your homepage is likely not the only page on your website – every single page will be indexed by search engines, so every page is a potential entry point for your potential customers. Every page, therefore, needs to be optimised for its specific content; this will increase its value on search engines.

You also need to put the time into finding out which keywords not only bring page views, but translate into sales. Think about what your business offers, not just in specific terms; what experience are you offering? What questions might people ask when they are looking for your business? Find keywords that offer you the opportunity to get quality results; Remember, anywhere on the first page is better than top of the second.

3. “We need to be at the top of every single search engine!” – Knowing what’s important

When you look for something on the internet, it’s likely you use one of the bigger engines – Google, Yahoo or Bing. Given that nearly 100% of users use one of those three engines, as long as you’ve got those covered you should be fine. Smaller engines are usually dependant on them for results anyway, so once you have a presence on the ‘big three’ then you’ll be taken care of for a few levels down.

You don’t actually have to do anything to get into the search engines – no submissions, no requests. All you need to do is optimise! Ensure that your content is relevant to your client’s likely searches, and you’ll be listed.

Remember also that there are no guarantees that you will get the top spot, only that by engaging in SEO you will improve your online presence. No one can promise you that and if they do, you should be very wary. Pay for experience, good work, and results, not undeliverable promises.

4. “SEO is complicated”

SEO is not magic, nor is it something you need a secret handshake to learn about. It is however, time consuming and requires ongoing maintenance, and there is no reason why you should not be in the loop as to what’s being done and why. By learning how it works while you work alongside an experienced SEOer, you can be sure that you’re headed in the right direction.

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