15 Aug Five Digital Strategy Myths You Probably Still Believe
Myth #1: You need SEO in order to reach the top of the search results.
I get a lot of contacts from clients who are looking for SEO. They can’t figure out why they’re not at the top of the search engines, and they figure a better SEO strategy will help them.
Nine times out of 10 it’s not SEO they need.
SEO means Search Engine Optimization. This implies that you can somehow tweak the contents of your website in such a way as to put in place exactly what the search engines are looking for, thereby ranking higher in the results than your competitors and ultimately making more money.
Sorry, that’s not likely to happen.
The reality is, optimizing your website for search is actually pretty easy, and incredibly basic. Don’t let any expensive SEO “expert” tell you otherwise. Because here’s the thing: literally nobody knows what exactly Google’s algorithm is looking for. NOBODY. In fact, I was at a conference just a few weeks ago at Google HQ in Toronto, and that’s exactly what they said. Outside of a select room full of programmers who are constantly (meaning daily) adjusting search parameters to deliver optimal search results to users, even Google’s staff doesn’t know how to perfectly optimize a website for search.
A few times a year, Google holds a press conference to tell the world what they’re no longer searching for (like meta tags, which they stopped using in 2002, but which clients still insist I spend hours researching and perfecting…on their dime). And occasionally they will mention something important, like the fact that they now favour websites that are optimized for mobile (because that’s where the majority of their search traffic is coming from). But other than that, there’s no formula that will conquer it.
And those who pay for clicks…well, they’ll always take those top five spots anyway.
Here’s SEO in a nutshell: Keep your content up to date. Include your most important keywords (usually your products and your location) front and centre. State on the homepage what you do. Keep a blog that regularly posts new content with your keywords. That’s about it.
Far more important to your search success are relevance and authority. Getting backlinks and mentions from other important websites is critical to your search engine success. This is where social media success comes into play. The more people are talking about and linking to your website (in the context of what you do, of course), the more important and authoritative your website will seem. This is the value in talking with influencers — people who are well established in your field — and cultivating good audience relationships online. Having a communications plan that includes other informational websites, access to article sites, press releases, reviews, and good old chats with customers on your social channels will generate the activity and buzz that show search engines yours is an active and dynamic business website.
That will count far more than on-site SEO in the long run. You need both of course, but SEO is basic; off-site strategy is gold.