It is no secret that SEO is an ever changing picture. It’s even reported that Google updates its algorithm more than once a day, so there’s no way anyone can keep up to speed with every change. But the reality is this – whilst SEO does require a level of skill and understanding, there are a number of assumptions that SEOs keep quiet about, and we’re here to creak the myths!
The purpose of this post isn’t to undermine any SEO from doing a good job, but to highlight that there are some things SEOs may avoid (or simply can’t do) and the reasons why…
#1. No one can guarantee page one of Google, not even Google!
Back in the day when *ahem* “SEO companies” used to buy links and put as many keywords on your website as they could muster, life seemed to be so much easier.
These practices, now termed “black hat SEO”, are now the quickest way to get yourself blacklisted and dropped out of the search engines altogether. (This is one of the main reasons why SEOs can have a bad name).
Not only this, but the competition levels are now tougher than ever before, and in an industry where the competition levels are only going to rise, it is impossible for ANYONE to guarantee a search engine results page (SERP) position – even Google.
The Google algorithm used to work purely on tangible metrics – like the number of links and defined keywords, but this has not been the case for a good ol’ while now… Instead the search engines are trying to simulate trust and relevance. The difficulty with this from an SEOs point of view is that these metrics are no longer quantifiable.
The certainty of every action has gone. X no longer equals Y. SEOs know the theory, but that’s all it is – a theory. And HOPEFULLY the theory done well will result in hight SERP positions for your website.
#2. Being on page for your chosen keywords doesn’t guarantee you will get more business
There are SO many factors in converting a user from someone browsing Google to becoming a paying customer that just to say “I sell shoes, I want to rank for ‘Shoes'” doesn’t mean that anyone is going to buy shoes from you!
An SEO now needs to become a master of multiple disciplines to consider search engine rankings, then user journey, conversion optimisation, pricing consultants, server administrators, payment processors, etc, and only when all these things are done properly together can true sustainable organic growth be evident on your balance sheet.
#3. You can’t optimise your website for a couple of months and expect to keep your rankings
We’ve already established that SEO is changing daily. Asking an SEO to optimise your website and then shaking hands and saying “Thanks very much” isn’t going to cut it with these ever moving goal posts.
Whilst SEOs will probably accept optimisation reviews, the good ones (giving the right advice) will want to talk long term with you. What are you trying to achieve? How long are you prepared to work with them to achieve your goals? Are you prepared to invest to receive the benefits in the long run?
#4. Your best traffic will probably not come from the keywords you have in mind
The simple truth is this – you are too close to your own products and services, and your SEO probably isn’t your target market. Finding results with SEO involves A LOT of trial and error, but once that sweet spot is found, then it is there for exploitation.
At the end of the day, does it really matter which terms convert the best for you? Also long as they convert, right?
#5. If your site isn’t optimised for mobile, then you’re already behind
This one is a biggy… Since early 2016 having your website optimised for mobile has been an increasing factor in where you appear in the search engines. Trying to effectively rank a non-mobile responsive website in Google now is like trying to nail jelly to a wall – it isn’t going to happen.
While we mention it, since early 2017 running your site on https has also been a ranking factor – if you’re not doing this the results will be the same as a non-responsive website – sorry!
#6. SEO experts can’t make you go viral
Whilst the threshold for content having “gone viral” is relative (some say a minimum of 100,000 views / interactions, and others say it is related to the rate of shares / interactions), the truth is that going viral is a response from your audience. SEOs aren’t psychic, so this one is out of their control…
#7. Google doesn’t care about your grammar
…but your readers do!
No-one wants to read content that is hard to understand, poorly written and gives the impression that that author doesn’t care. But Google is amoral on this point – it frankly doesn’t care.
Google uses it’s organic content to boost the revenue it receives from it’s Ads displayed above – the organic content is the benchmark for which those advertisers need to bid to be placed above, therefore the quality and trustworthiness of those top organic results is integral to Google’s own income – therefore it wan’t the best content in those coveted top spots.
Bearing this in mind, on this point it is the reader you’re trying to please by elongating your average time on site and reducing your bounce rate (all of which Google knows), not Google itself.
In order to be successful with organic (“free”) traffic from the search engines, SEO is essential. But SEO experts have their limitations and, in truth, their job will only become harder as time goes on. Understanding these limitations and helping your SEO to working within them will help you get the most out of your SEO consultant / provider and help deliver the results you want, and help you seek out the right advice in the first place.
View the full series of the #12BlogsOfChristmas.