Search engine optimization (or SEO for short) is not a new concept, yet it continues to be one of the most misunderstood practices on the client side. We get a lot of questions about SEO from both new prospects and our existing clients. Outside of those of us that know the industry, there still seems to be this mass impression that SEO is cheap and quickly effective.
Optimizing a site for search engines is certainly the #1 thing a business can do to help obtain new leads online, however, SEO is a complex practice that requires a professional or team of professionals to manage.
Whether you are a new prospect looking for a digital partner or just curious about what others think of SEO (from my point-of-view, anyway), I’ve compiled the top 3 common misconceptions that I’ve heard over the years and hope to clear some things up.
SEO Services Are Easy, Therefore Inexpensive
I recently attended Digital Summit 2018 in Tampa and my workshop of choice was “Winning at SEO in 2018.” The workshop lasted from 8:30am to 12:30pm and I wondered “how in the world is this person going to speak about SEO for FOUR hours?” If SEO warrants a 4-hour long workshop (and it could have gone longer), I think you can imagine it’s not as easy as some people might think.
Search engine optimization is a complex, time-consuming process and it isn’t all about keywords. Search engines are all about providing users with the best experience possible. When a query is made, Google, Bing, etc. rank pages based on just that. Keywords are a big component of this, however, search engines also take the following into account:
- Mobile responsiveness
- Website speed
- Image sizes
- Business name, address, and phone number
- Internal website links
- Links to your website
- Number of error pages
The list goes on and on and there are over TWO HUNDRED (yes, 200) factors. You can see from the small sample above that I didn’t list keywords at all. Keywords are just one small component of SEO and while important, there are many other factors to consider that stem down to your website host and server.
Taking all of this into account, you can see that there is no one way to “SEO a website” and it often includes a giant audit with your marketing and web development teams.
I Can Expect Quick Results from SEO Work
The question I get asked the most is “when can I expect to see my website increase?” This is the most difficult question to answer since there really is no one answer. As an agency, we cannot guarantee your website will rank 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. in a certain amount of time. We certainly hope that will be the case, but no agency can ever guarantee first-page placement. (And if any agency says they can guarantee 1st-page results without using Google Ads, that is a major red flag.)
On average, a page that ranks first for any given query has been live for 950 days. This means that on average, #1 ranked websites have been online for over 2 ½ years.
Why does SEO take so long? If you consider the factors I mentioned above, you can see it takes time to get all of that in place and then additional time for search engines to find it. Search bots follow links page to page until they eventually crawl it and add it to their big library called the “index.”
Once a page is added to the index, it is eligible to be ranked. When a certain query is made, search engines go to their index and say, “when someone does this query, which pages best fit that user’s needs?” Here is where Google’s algorithm takes effect and ranks a page based on a huge number of factors and pulls the pages that are most relevant.
The Google Algorithm is another beast by itself and is constantly updated to better match queries to relevant pages. There was an update released as recently as August 1, 2018 and any digital agency needs to spend time understanding an algorithm’s update and potential implications.
To summarize, search engine optimization is a long-term process. And the more effort you put into it, the better results you can expect.
My Website Only Needs to be Optimized Once
SEO is not a “one-and-done” kind of practice. Given all the above factors and changes, you can expect to continue to optimize your website for years to come. We always tell our clients that we set the foundation for SEO when we launch a website, however, that is just scratching the surface on what can be done from an optimization perspective.
Ongoing SEO is critical to ranking for queries that relate to your business. After your website launches, it’s going to take some time for search engines to crawl and index your website accordingly and as the algorithm changes, you will need to ensure your website continues to be crawled and indexed.
We offer managed services for many of our clients for which we complete various ongoing SEO activities, including:
- Content audits
- Webmaster Tools/Search Console audits
- Checking pages for broken links
- Checking for inbound/internal links
There are also new advancements coming along every day in the digital marketing landscape. For example, voice search has become a leading way people search for traffic, news, and weather information. That is even still in its infancy, but we can expect this to account for more searches as time goes on and more people are using Alexa, Google Home, etc.
Blogging is Still Important
Overall, SEO is a pretty technical and advanced practice that you need to either outsource to a digital agency or hire someone internally to manage. But as a business owner, there is something you can start TODAY to help your website do better organically.
Regular blogging is a key element in all our digital marketing recommendations. While it sounds like an outdated practice, it’s one of the simplest, fastest ways you can add authoritative content to your website. Did you know that websites that post blogs regularly receive 55% more traffic on average than those that do not? In addition to that, websites regularly post blog content receive 80% more leads.
Outside of traffic and lead numbers, it’s also a great way to communicate with potential prospects and community members. We often use our own blog as a platform to educate our team and our clients. Blogging may be time-consuming and hard to stick to consistently, but I promise it is worth it.
If you have any questions on SEO or need digital marketing services, feel free to contact us today by calling (239) 362-1271 or shoot us a message.