Search engine optimisation (SEO) can be confusing.
A combination of program changes, mixed messages and sales gimmicks has left many scratching their heads on what works, what doesn’t or if it’s even important.
Hannah Ingram, head SEO consultant at Media Heroes, puts it in simple terms.
“SEO is a form of inbound marketing that, when carried out correctly and in line with your business goals, will increase your visibility to your target market, giving a positive boost to your business through lead generation,” she says Hannah Ingram, Head SEO Consultant at Media Heroes.
And there are some myths surrounding SEO that are good to keep in mind as you work to make your site more visible to search engines.
SEO is dead
If we go back to basics, what is SEO? Search engines constantly update their algorithms. They do this not to hurt small business owners but to make sure they give searchers the best possible results.
“If you build a high quality website, following webmaster guidelines and create content that supports the services you offer, you will weather any of the search engines toughest updates,” says Ingram.
“The reason people fail in SEO is that they will try for a quick fix. With any business relationship you need to earn respect over time.”
SEO is a dark art
SEO is simply following search engine recommendations and making a website that answers the needs of your customers. Making information that easily matches their searches so they trust you to provide them with a good service.
“Proper website management is not about keywords and rankings. It’s about building relationships, brand loyalty, and really good customer service,” advises Ingram.
SEO is spam
Search engines aim to provide a informative and efficient experience for their users. They can only provide this by becoming clever at finding all the information put out on the web and sifting it for the closest match to what you have searched for.
Search engines need SEO and they need high quality websites to keep their users coming back. Ingram says that unfortunately, in an industry that is constantly evolving and is still in its infancy, there are less than honest people selling their services. There are also time pressures from business owners to see results quickly.
“Business relationships take time, [and building one with] Google is no different.”
I need more links
Historically, website have been able to see results quickly by building thousands of very low quality links.
However, Ingram advises that with the roll out of Google’s Penguin update a lot of site owners which had seen short term success with this method have now had all of these links devalued and are having to start again.
Writing content will make my website rank
This is a slightly controversial point because content is massively important. But Ingram says a business should never underestimate the long term success that highly-ranked articles can have on lead generation. Ingram says that content marketing and website marketing are just pieces of a marketing strategy. They don’t work independently, but they are increasingly important.
SEO should not be confused with SEM, or search engine marketing. To read about SEM, which is also known as paid search, and how it can benefit your business, here is an article on the basics of SEM and here's an article on how to use SEM to build your business.