When businesses are looking to turn their website into a lead generation tool, we constantly recommend a search engine optimization (SEO) stratagem. Why? Because you can’t produce new leads with a website if prospects can’t find it when they are searching online. However, we’ve found that a lot of people have a bad taste in their mouth about SEO and are afraid it’s going to turn-off potential visitors to their website.
The Anxiety With SEO
In some ways, this is logical and very true. There are a lot of inexperienced developers and digital marketers out there who don’t know how to correctly implement SEO so that it advances the user experience. Furthermore, there are folks out there who still think that the short-term gains of black hat SEO are worth the long-term significances. It never is. Google and Bing black-list websites that frequently partake in black hat SEO.
Justifiably, marketers can have a damaging view of search engine optimization, so we are pleased to explain the real worth of SEO, how to implement it properly, and disperse any of the myths surrounding SEO. Below are five common myths that we hear.
You Can Only Optimize a Page for One Keyword
This myth may have been true about five years ago, but it’s not essentially the case anymore. The search engines have perfected and extended their algorithms so now they comprehend that connected keywords will logically appear on the same page of a website. As such, a webpage or blog can rank for numerous diverse, connected terms.
For example, if a business offers software design and development, when they discuss software design, development-related terms will often naturally appear in the text because they are so closely connected. Likewise, a firm that offers “regulatory compliance consulting” and “state filings” amenities will naturally create webpages or blogs that have both key terms on the page and search engines will identify the terms are obviously related and can rank the same page for two different terms.
The forewarning here is that it’s characteristically ideal to emphasize on one chief keyword and then have one or two secondary, related keywords. The keywords must be related in order to potentially rank in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Keyword Stuffing Still Works
The powers that be at major search engines, like Google and Bing, have said repeatedly when they roll out new algorithm updates that they are concentrating on the user knowledge and cultivating search for users. It’s significant that they said for users and not for businesses. For this very reason, keyword stuffing (the practice of overcrowding one keyword into a blog post or webpage as many times as possible to the point of making the content tough to read) will work briefly and then will tank the rankings. Why? Because it creates an awful user experience.
You’ve likely experienced a website that stuffs the heck out of keywords to the point that it’s irritating. It makes the content tough to read and the website begins to look spammy or untrustworthy. Most users will rebound off a site with keyword stuffing and won’t return. It doesn’t take the search engines long to categorize this user behavior and ding the website’s rankings.
Site Visitors Will Be Turned Off by SEO Efforts
We’d like to bust this myth right now. When SEO is done properly, it should improve the user experience, not detract from it. This is one of the main reasons it is so important to work with a reputable SEO firm. Reputable firms understand that the goal of SEO is to get the right content in front of the right user at the right time. This does not mean driving a ton of useless traffic to a website by capitalizing on the top search terms. It means that a website or blog should be optimized for relevant search terms that ideal clients or prospects are searching.
When it comes to lead generation on a website, the focus should always be quality over quantity. For this reason, proper search engine optimization efforts will focus on the right traffic, not the maximum volume of traffic. SEO efforts should be transparent to site visitors because it will help direct them to the right content without yelling at them (ahem, keyword stuffing).
SEO Takes Too Long to Work
Again, this myth may have been true five years ago but is basically false today. Yes, SEO can take about three to six months to start showing substantial results, but it can also start showing improvements within a month of implementation. It all is contingent on expectations. Nothing excessive was built in one day. And nothing with staying power was launched overnight.
If three months is “too long” for a business to wait to start seeing significant results, then it’s vital to implement a SEM strategy as well. Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns on platforms like Google AdWords or Bing Ads are a great companion to SEO since they tend to get results rapidly, depending on the budget due.
The Longer the Text, the Better
This one is complicated, but we still say it’s a myth because it doesn’t work in all circumstances. There are reports that say longer text is better for rankings, while other reports say that pages with 500 or so words are ideal. There isn’t any real agreement. Eventually, it is contingent on the business, the industry, and you may have guessed, the end user. Does the end user have time to read 2,000-words blog posts? Is the content so technical that it needs at least 3,000 words? Can you cover the fundamentals in 500 words? What works for one business may not work for another. It’s best to follow an average of about 500 or so words and expand/shorten as needed. If the text is long enough to provide the right amount of data for the end user, you can’t go wrong.
SEO: The Right Way
When it comes to SEO, there are some rules that firms should do and should not do. Then there is a more fluid area of best practices that are recommended, but are somewhat flexible to accommodate and improve the user experience. We continually recommend that businesses work with a vetted, trustworthy SEO firm that can show demonstrated results. We also caution businesses to be skeptical when a firm promises big results that seem too good to be true. Concentrating on the needs of the end user and their experience is always a winning resolution.