This is part 2 of the series to help you better understand SEO, what to expect, and how to use it in your business. Part 1 covered SEO facts and expectations from your digital marketer, this article covers SEO myths and why you really do need to consider SEO in your digital marketing strategies. In this article, I’m going to be less detailed as I don’t want to focus on the technical aspects of SEO, rather the reasoning it’s valuable to businesses today. So, let’s debunk some SEO myths!

It Didn’t Work Last Time

SEO only works if it’s being done right and on a recurring basis. SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Results are long-term. Existing content has to be adjusted, new content has to be added. Getting results from SEO requires granular strategy, consistent efforts, and the commitment to stick to it. One-and-done SEO will only work for a few small businesses, the rest of us need, at the least, regular new compelling content with carefully thought out keywords. The more you invest in SEO, with the right strategy, the more you will generally yield in return. Granted the “strategy” part is super crucial. One of many SEO myths is that it doesn’t work. It does, it just requires significant effort to work well.

Google Answers Questions Now

Less than 5% of searches result in Google’s newish Answer Box, where a user can gain an insightful piece of information based on their search criteria. It’s common that the info comes from Wikipedia, and most users are currently selecting other websites for further research. I did a Google search for Coca-Cola, and received an Answer Box. I’m still glad Google has given me access to the websites, Plus listing, and social media pages that were provided as a result of SEO.

I don’t see the day coming anytime in the foreseeable future where users no longer want website results, and simply rely on the Answer Box. Especially considering that the Answer Box includes public domain knowledge almost 75% of the time (Wiki, Miriam-Webster, etc.) This is among the newer things that are associated with SEO myths. Google isn’t going to replace the need for SEO, though they may replace the need to search hard for easy one-and-done questions.

SEO Is A Scam

Man, oh man the mother load of all SEO myths. A company who delivers deceiving tactics and false promises is a scam, SEO is not. If it’s under $500 a month, it is most likely (not always) not going to give good results. While there’s plenty of incompetence, and dishonesty, in the industry, SEO is absolutely a proven and, potentially, effective digital marketing tool. It’s only a threat of being a scam if you don’t know what to look for (covered in Part 1) when you’re shopping for it.

I Have To Rank #1 To Get Results

This is the furthest thing from the truth. The most inaccurate of all SEO myths. You don’t have to place #1 in a selected keyword to have effective and profitable results. The opposite is true, actually. By placing more audience target, on a more granular level, you can get better results by getting the right people to your site, vs a lot of less qualified people in higher numbers. SEO will always work best when it is highly strategized. My preferences are to strategize it to a target market and use more pointed long-tail keywords, rather than focus efforts on more common shorter phrases that my clients think are more popular for searching.

Do I want to be #1 for the term “marketing”? I’d rather have good hit results for phrases like “what is emotional marketing” “SEO marketing strategies” “what marketing strategy is best for me” “the benefits of content marketing” “the difference between SEO and content marketing”…you get the point.

I have Social Media, So I Don’t Need SEO

I am a HUGE fan of social media marketing, but it’s an absolute SEO myth that you don’t need SEO because you have it. Social media optimization requires the use of SEO. Even just the mildest SEO efforts will make a big difference in your social media marketing efforts. Using even the most basic social media marketing strategy will make a big impact on your SEO. Social media and SEO do absolutely work hand-in-hand, and both are important to leverage. They both also require content marketing but that’s not a conversation I want to open up in this article. Trying to stay focused…hey, look at that squirrel…

Social media gives you the tools to boost your on-page SEO efforts. It also helps you extend your message to the billions of people using the platforms.

My Users Will Find Me Online Regardless

But they won’t. If you’re not leveraging any digital marketing, your website is a piece of art on the wall at a museum. I only get to see it if that’s exactly where I’m going. Search engines are very smart but they aren’t magical. They can only create algorithms that help users find what they’re looking for, accurately. You have to leverage the tools to work collaboratively BOTH with the technologies available and with your ideal clients.

Google Doesn’t Like SEO

Search engine companies don’t dislike SEO in any way, in fact, they encourage the use of SEO. What they hate is manipulative SEO. These manipulation tactics affect the user, and thus the search engine. Tactics to manipulate search engines to create relevance when there is none or popularity where there isn’t any is the type of deception that they hate. Search engines will try, at all costs, to disrupt these tactics. If you can believe it, this is another of the many common SEO myths that folks ask me about. The idea that any search engine company wouldn’t want you to leverage them more, seems absurd…because it is.

SEO Is All Tricks

“Tricks” is the term to refer to the manipulative stuff that gets you penalized. Only unethical marketers leverage those tricks. (Check out Unethical SEO Practices for more info.) Most digital marketers are going to leverage appropriate, ethical, legit SEO tactics to rank you better in search engine results. Just like anything else, there’s those that are dishonest, and there’s the rest of us. SEO certainly isn’t all tricks, though tricks are a legitimate concern. They will negatively impact your rankings and result in your dropping in rank; significantly.

I Can Do It Myself

The atomic bomb of SEO myths. I’m not saying you can’t do your own SEO if you genuinely know how to do it…properly…and you’re good. I’m saying that there’s always someone better. That person who’s better can most likely get you more results and save you lots of time since they’re doing it. I’m pretty good at SEO, but my partners are great at it, so why wouldn’t I have them do it? It just makes sense to let the experts do what they do best, especially if your resources aren’t unlimited. One thing we’ll never get back is the time we spent.

In business, we don’t really WANT to be this guy all the time

SEO also isn’t easy. Google has invested billions in providing “relevancy” in their search engine algorithms. This wouldn’t happen if SEO were simply “easy”. It’s an investment worth creating some budget for. It’s an important cog in the digital marketing wheel. I would never do any content marketing, or social media marketing, without leveraging SEO. If I did, I’d be denying my clients the opportunity to take advantage of effective methods to grow their business. I don’t like leaving value on the table and I feel it’s a disservice to do so.

This concludes my articles on The Truth About SEO. I hope it’s helped you identify the legit from the snake charmers, and also help you understand why it an investment worth making. There’s a lot that can be easy to misunderstand in the world of digital marketing, so if you have a question on something more specific, feel free to contact us on any of our channels. If my partners and I cannot answer your questions, we’ll recommend you to someone who can.

Happy digital marketing!

Thanks for reading!