Search Engine Optimisation: Myths vs Reality

As of writing this article, Google returns over 2,170,000,000 search engine results for the keyword search “SEO”. 

With so much written about the subject, it can be hard to distinguish fact from fiction. So, today we’re going to do some SEO myth busting and finally lay to rest some of the most common myths circulating.

Myth #1: SEO Can Only Be Done By Technical People

I’m not going to mince words here. SEO has many moving parts and there are quite a few principles and best practices that must be understood, but anyone can learn SEO. However, to be good at it takes time, patience and a lot of practice.

As the owner of your website, SEO is something that you can and should take into your own hands. If nothing else, it’s important to learn basic SEO tasks like creating and editing page titles and heading tags, as well as building sitemaps and submitting them to search engines. These simple tasks will ensure that your website can be found online.

If you use a Content Management System, blogging solution or a website builder to create and manage your website’s content, this task is made even easier. Many of the popular website platforms mentioned above have built in modules, widgets or plugins that allow you to take more detailed control of your SEO.

If you’re interested in learning more about Search Engine Optimization, a great resource is SEOMoz and their guide “The Free Beginner’s Guide to SEO”

Myth #2: You MUST Rank #1

Multiple studies were done to explore the click-through of organic results. Most of those found that over 50 percent of searchers click on the top result on the first page returned by a search engine. The second result sees about 15 percent of clicks, the third result sees 9 percent, the fourth result sees 6 percent, winding all the way down to 4 percent to round out the top 5 results on page one of search results.

From this data, some might conclude that if your website is not the very first listing on page one of search results, that SEO doesn’t work. But, consider this …

Yet, organic search result pages have gone a long way since these and similar studies were published.

These days search results include lots of diverse and often interactive sections that push organic results down the page and/or make them less obvious. These sections include image and video carousels, People Also Ask boxes, local 3-packs, featured snippets and more. 

Click rates on these types of results are proving to be higher than results without images, maps, videos, author profiles and rich snippets—and in many cases are equal to or better than the first result on the first page.

Myth #3: SEO Is Web Spam

Very simply put, search engines are computer programs. Their job is to retrieve data, files or documents from a database or network, esp. the internet. Computers are not as smart as people, yet. They don’t always understand what people mean when they type in words or phrases into the search box. They don’t understand vocabulary or the nuances of language.

SEO exists to help search engines find information and content that is relevant to your search. Its job is to make sure that the pages of your website are well represented within search engines.

A large part of SEO is making sure that your website pages; are accessible to people and search engines, use the right keywords, utilize good design and load fast.

Like anything else, SEO can be abused by those with bad intentions. Those with less than good motives purposefully hack sites and use unsavory tactics that search engines frown upon to cheat their way to the top of search engine results.

SEO can be enormously helpful and can be a valid way to help people to find what they’re looking for via search engines—but it can also be abused and overdone.

Myth #4: SEO Is Dead

For whatever reason, lately it’s very en vogue to pronounce all kinds of stuff as dying or dead. Be it technology, religion, politics, music, business or even SEO—it’s all dying or dead.

Are people right? Is SEO dying or even worse, dead?

Google alone makes 350-400 updates to its search engine algorithm, each year. Add in the fact that Bing and other search engines also make a similar number of tweaks to their algorithms and we’re talking about thousands of updates to search engines each year!

As long as search engines continue to roll out algorithmic updates in efforts to provide better search experiences and combat spam, there will always be a need to stay on top of these updates and make optimizations to your website.

Moreover, as long as people use search to find answers to their questions and solutions to their problems, SEO is here to stay.

And there’s no indication that Google is losing popularity. In fact, the majority of buying journeys start, continue and end in Google.

To top this all, search traffic is the best kind of traffic a business can hope for. It matches a user to their needs. It is not interruptive, unlike social media traffic. And it is consistent and doesn’t stop once you stop paying money, unlike PPC traffic.

SEO traffic has an cumulative power: The longer you invest into your organic visibility, the more pages of yours will start to rank, thanks to the overall website power and trust signals.

Needless to say, SEO isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Yes, SEO has become much more complicated and less predictable than it was a decade ago, but it is still effective if you do it right. Invest in long-term gains, focus on quality and stay consistent. Avoid any kinds of shortcuts and stay away from SEO agencies that guarantee rankings.

In fact, there’s a reputable SEO Agency that is here to help!

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