Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a powerful digital marketing tool that can help small businesses improve their online presence and attract potential customers.
If you’ve been paying attention to the SEO landscape in the last few years, you probably already know about the black-hat tactics that search engine algorithms are known to penalize, like keyword stuffing, creating tons of low-quality pages, and getting links from spammy sites. But even among honest SEO agencies, there are still a lot of outdated tactics and strategies floating around.
As a content strategist and writer with a track record of helping numerous businesses reach the coveted No. 1 spot on search engines, I’ve encountered my fair share of myths and misconceptions about SEO. In this article, I’ll explore four common SEO myths and set the record straight.
Myth 1: Organic Traffic is the No. 1 goal.
Reality: Traffic is not the same as conversions.
It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers game, believing that more website traffic automatically translates to higher conversions and greater sales. However, this is rarely the case. SEO is competitive. The more traffic a search term has, the more companies who will try to rank No. 1 for that term. In my experience, chasing organic traffic will only increase the costs of your SEO efforts (because you’ll have to invest more money and time building backlinks in order to compete) with only the slightest chance of an uptick in conversions.
Instead, your SEO efforts should focus on attracting the right kind of traffic – visitors who are genuinely interested in your offerings and are likely to convert into leads or customers. As it turns out, it’s often much easier to rank for the kinds of keywords your specific customers are searching for than it is to rank for keywords related to your industry that have a ton of traffic.
I’ll walk you through what that looks like in practice with an example from my own business.
Here are two potential target keywords that are relevant to my line of work:
- content marketing (24K searches per month)
- b2b content marketing agency (300 searches per month)
If I were just chasing traffic, I’d want to do everything I could to rank for the first term (content marketing). But that term is WAY more competitive than the much more specific term (b2b content marketing agency). Even though it only has 300 searches per month, the search intent of the second term into Google is much more likely to be relevant to my business. And because it’s less competitive, it’ll require way fewer backlinks to rank for the second term, which means I’ll be able to rank for it faster and with less time and money invested in link building. [Note: Sometimes this is referred to as a long-tail keyword strategy, but I think that puts the emphasis on the search volume, rather than the relevance of the search query, which is the most important.]
Instead of solely chasing high volumes of traffic, it’s better to prioritize understanding your target audience and optimizing your content to cater to their needs and preferences. By aligning your SEO strategy with lead generation and conversion goals, you ensure that your organic search efforts yield tangible and meaningful results.
Myth 2: If the top player in my industry is already ranking no. 1 for valuable search terms, I shouldn’t even bother.
Reality: You can beat the giants in your industry.
It’s disheartening to see your competitors dominating the top search engine rankings for keywords relevant to your business, especially if you have a relatively new website with low domain authority. However, don’t lose hope just yet. Yes, it’s true that backlinks are still a ranking factor, but these days, the quality of your content and its relevance to the searcher are just as, if not more, important.
By focusing on creating high-quality, insightful, and valuable content, you have a chance to outrank the competition. Google’s algorithms prioritize user experience and relevance to the search intent, so if your content provides better solutions and more value, you can surpass even the giants in your industry.
I’ve seen this work time and again when a company that offers a very specific solution goes head-to-head with the giant in their field who dominates the SERP. I’m thinking of examples like a customer relationship management (CRM) tool for plumbers or HVAC companies going up against Salesforce. Even though Salesforce has the budget and brand recognition to pull off Superbowl ads that don’t even explain what they do, a tiny software company offering a better product to a very specific group of customers can totally beat them if their content is better tuned in to that group’s needs (and one or two quality links won’t hurt).
Myth 3: You can optimize your website once and leave it be.
Reality: Consistent updates are essential.
Optimizing your website for Google search is not a one-and-done task. Search engines prefer fresh and updated content that remains relevant to users over time. If you want to maintain or improve your rankings, you must plan for regular content updates and improvements.
While your site’s core webpages may focus on specific keywords, you can expand your reach by creating new content targeting different keywords and topics. Additionally, updating headlines to reflect the current year, refreshing statistics with the latest data, and enhancing existing articles show search engines that your website is active, informative, and worthy of higher rankings, and will help improve your click-through rate.
Myth 4: You need to spend a lot of money every month on technical SEO services.
Reality: You’ll get a better bang for your buck from a marketing strategy focused on high quality content and strategic optimization.
Technical SEO is vital for a well-optimized website, but you don’t need constant monitoring unless you’re running an e-commerce platform with thousands of pages. For many businesses, technical SEO is a one-time setup process. If you’re paying an SEO agency a monthly retainer, and they’re not creating new content for you every month, you’re wasting your money.
A skilled SEO content creator will keep an eye on your website’s performance, identify issues, and make necessary improvements to enhance search rankings, while ALSO creating new content that helps you show up in search engines for more and more valuable terms. By investing in content and strategic optimization, you’ll get the best returns on your SEO efforts without breaking the bank.
Your marketing dollars are precious. Spend them where it counts!
Drive Sales, Not Just Traffic, With A Smarter SEO Strategy
SEO is a dynamic and ever-evolving field that demands an understanding of both technical aspects and user preferences. Most of these myths have a kernel of truth from the earliest days of SEO, but it’s a different game now.
My approach to SEO is generally to work smarter, not harder.
I offer two SEO services:
- My full-service, ongoing SEO content writing services start at $5,000 a month. I’ll handle all aspects of SEO strategy and execution including keyword research, content creation, on-page SEO, link building, rank tracking, and lead generation.
- For the DIYers out there who want to create their own content but don’t know where to start, I offer a one-time SEO Strategy engagement for $1,500. You’ll get instruction on SEO best practices for 2023, a 2-3 year SEO strategy roadmap for your business (including the 25 best keyword opportunities for your business), and an opportunity to get all your questions about SEO answered.
Let’s craft a tailored SEO plan that works for your business. Get in touch today.