It’s a fact that only 50% of small businesses survive more than five years. Since digital marketing is such a huge part of doing business today, it is crucial to understand how one of its most important pillars works: Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Let’s start with the basics and debunk the most common myths.
It is all about the keywords
Keywords are important but they don’t decide the fate of your business. You can stuff your content with keywords, create amazing meta descriptions, and have beautiful images on your site but they still won’t help you rank. Keywords are just one part of SEO. If your content isn’t crafted for the ideal audience and your site isn’t optimized for a seamless experience, no amount of keywords will be able to save you.
SEO changes constantly
Yes, Google’s algorithms change once every 3-6 months, depending on the size of the update. But the core elements of SEO have remained unchanged since the beginning: good content, modern UI, faster page load speed, original thoughts, etc. That’s why it is so important to focus on the basics.
Your site can independently survive on the web
Every site needs to have a certain number of backlinks to prove its credibility to the algorithms. The more organic backlinks you have, the more your content is perceived to be of high quality. So, just like the offline world, the online space also demands codependency.
Search ads will help with your ranking
Search ads are a great way to increase your visibility. That’s why they are recommended when an online business is recently launched. But although they drive traffic to your site, they don’t add to your organic ranking. Organic ranking can only be generated using the best SEO practices.
SEO doesn’t work anymore
With algorithms across every platform becoming greedy and demanding people to move to paid techniques for improving brand visibility, it is natural for small businesses to think that’s where they should be focusing (especially considering how limited your resources are). But ads are not sustainable. They will generate results only for as long as you run them. Only SEO can get you loyal and returning customers.
Google sandbox is real
Google sandbox is a popular theory among SEO experts. It revolves around the belief that Google doesn’t rank or even show newly launched sites in the search results because it tests them out through a “probation period” of sorts, which lasts for 3 months, to see if they are credible enough. But according to Google’s John Mueller, “There is no sandbox.”
Longer content ranks better
Although the average length of the content that ranks on the first page is 1,450 words, no specific proof exists to confirm that longer content performs better. That means even if you write a 2,000-word article, if it doesn’t click with your audience, you won’t rank for it.
SEO takes 3 months to work
So, Google’s sandbox doesn’t exist. Then, why does it take SEO 3 months to generate substantial results? For the simple reason that every site is different, and it takes time to understand what your audience likes/dislikes and expects from your business. The first 3 months are usually the testing period, which is why it takes time for SEO to work its magic.
You should create your URLs for SEO
SEO experts generally stuff keywords into the URLs in hopes to get picked up by the algorithms. In John Mueller’s own words, “Keywords in URLs are overrated for Google SEO. Make URLs for users. Also, on mobile, you usually don’t even see them.”
Blogs need to be updated every day
You don’t need to push out content daily for Google to notice you but you DO need to consistently update and add content. Get your audience to notice you instead. When it comes to content, practice ‘quality over quantity.’ Publish fewer posts but make sure that they click with your audience every time.
SEO is a short game
This is the most important myth. If you’re looking for fast rankings, ads are the way to go. If you’re looking for steady and sustained growth, turn to SEO. So why does it take SEO at least 3 months to generate substantial results? For the simple reason that every site is different, and it takes time to understand what your audience likes/dislikes and expects from your business. The first 3 months are usually the testing period, which is why it takes time for SEO to work its magic.
The success of your SEO plan boils down to these primary features: keywords, relevant content, consistency in posting, and backlinks. Take care of these so your business can grow.