If you are familiar with SEO, you know that saying the industry is “going through some changes” is a drastic understatement. As evidenced by SEOMoz, the thought leader in the industry, ditching the SEO portion of their name and becoming just Moz – if you are an SEO, you live in interesting times.
If you are unfamiliar with SEO, you should be aware that this industry is always evolving and that following best practices from just a couple of years ago, can get now get you into serious trouble.
To help you navigate your way through this mess, we have put together this list of some old SEO ideas and myths that you should steer clear of. Whether you are developing your small business SEO strategy to succeed in 2013 and beyond, or you are part of an enterprise SEO team, you move away from the old thinking and onto the new.
Old SEO Idea – I need to submit my site to the search engines
It is hard to believe that this idea is still around. While you can submit your site to Google and other search engines, you certainly don’t need to. The spiders will find your site (pretty darn quickly) without you having to submit it.
If you are looking at an SEO proposal that mentions the firm will “submit your site to the search engines” you should begin to wonder if they have stayed on top of changes in the industry.
SEO Myth – SEO is a task for my IT Department
While it is easy to group all the “computer guys” under one umbrella and call it IT, this is no place for your SEO efforts. Not only have many SEO tasks become less technical over the years, there is much more to SEO than just the technical aspects.
Sure, smart SEO’s will perform technical tasks like on-site SEO, sitemap creation & 301 redirects but they also need to understand marketing components like content creation, social media sharing and lead generation.
So don’t ask your SEO people to “set up your e-mail network” or ask your IT guys to “get you ranked in Google.”
Old Idea – All links are created equal
As the term search engine optimization has trickled down to the masses, business owners are trying to educate themselves on SEO best practices. The problem is that this new field evolves constantly and quickly. Implementing advice from a blog post written in 2008 can do more harm than good.
We see this most often when it comes to link building. Many business owners approach SEO with the thoughts that link quantity is more important than link quality. In this post Panda and Penguin world, your link quality couldn’t be more important – don’t sacrifice it just for more.
SEO Myth – Useful content doesn’t need SEO
Have you started a blog for your business? Have you poured your energy into creating valuable & useful content only to find that no-one is actually seeing it? Your content needs some SEO.
The truth is that lots of businesses are creating content and everybody wants to get ranked. You need to implement some SEO best practices like keyword research, headline writing, SEO copywriting, blog post optimization, & social media sharing, in order to get your content the exposure it deserves.
SEO Old Idea – It’s all about the rankings
Rankings don’t mean a thing if they ain’t got that ca-ching!
The ultimate goal of your online marketing efforts and SEO campaigns is to generate more revenue. While how high you rank in the search engines plays a factor, it is not the end all, be all.
Old school SEO thinking follows the logic that the #1 spot gets most of the clicks and therefore most of the revenue. While this may have true 7 years ago (and even that is debatable), it certainly isn’t true now.
If your website is outdated or unprofessional – if it doesn’t provide the user with an awesome experience – it isn’t going to generate revenue.
And in today’s SEO landscape, if you don’t provide an awesome user experience, it’s also hard to get rankings.
Focus your online marketing efforts on 3 specific areas.
- Attraction – Create a website worth visiting because it has valuable content. Structure that content in a way that boosts your SEO efforts and makes it easy to share on social networks.
- Conversion – Take advantage of your hard-earned traffic and convert it into leads by offering access to premium downloadable content.
- Closing – Develop your relationship with your leads and work to close them into customer.
Focusing your website on these 3 major tasks will pay more dividends than merely focusing on rankings. Think about your own research and shopping habits online and create a user experience that advances sales.
Getting sales, not ranks, should be the primary goal of any SEO campaign.