Sunday, November 3, 2013
Separating SEO Myths From Reality
SEO has been around for a decade, and is still somehow lost behind veils of myths and secrecy. I am here to remove the sugar coating that surrounds SEO.The Faith MythIf I build it (a website), they will come? The answer to that is NO. If you create unique content, actively syndicate and promote that content to selected sites, and participate in social, web and user communities - Then they will come.Do I need a SEO guru? The answer to that is NO. Anyone who claims to be a Guru is a normal person with SEO knowledge, but he likes to flaunt it to people who don't know anything about SEO.Do I need a Technological Wizard? The answer to that is another NO. SEO is based on online branding, marketing and selling strategies, and is not a programming code. Yes, a good website needs a tech wizard for other things, but that will not help with search rankings.Do I need an in-house SEO expert? The answer is YES, if you have the budget to hire the "Best". But if you don't have the budget you can outsource to a SEO expert at half the cost (minus the employee benefits).Do I need a top SEO company? Working with a company has its advantages and disadvantages. The main advance is that a team of SEO's will be working on your project. The main disadvantage is that the team of SEO's working on your project will probably have just 1 to 2 years of experience. SEO is more about creating constant value for your users, following your intuitions, and keeping a look out for opportunities. Will this company be attentive to these?Do I need a Link Builder? The answer to that is NO. Amazed! The era of paid link building, reciprocal linking, and link building requests is OVER. Natural link building is based on the merit on your content, and syndicating and promoting your content on relevant and popular web, user and social communities.What you need is a SEO expert who is a willing partner with your online success, can assist build a long term SEO / SEM strategy, and take responsibility for the success and failures. It's a journey to your online success, so partner with someone who is willing to go the distance.The Rate MythAre all SEO services the same? NO they are not. While the foundations principles remain, each SEO expert follows their own process to higher rankings based on their own unique experiences and knowledge. It's a case of many roads all leading to one. Ask the SEO expert to explain his strategy. If it does not sound like common sense to you, it's probably nonsense.Hiring a SEO expert is expensive? YES they are expensive, but not as much as the "Losses" you are making right now because your competitors are stealing your business.Cheap SEO services are cheap? NO it's not necessary. It's not about the price, it's about value. A SEO expert who is constantly dedicated to creating value for the users, and actively promoting your products/ services across diverse web, user and social communities is bound to succeed.What you need is to "outsource" to a SEO expert who can "be part" of your core online team. Get the best of both worlds. Find a SEO expert who is ready to work on a fixed monthly remuneration (plus some nice bonus), and if he/she is good, then don't let go.The Time MythIs 6 months enough for SEO? The answer is NO. Do you plan to be in business for 6 months only? I though not. Then SEO and Internet Marketing needs to be a part of your core marketing activities till the time you plan to be in business.Is 3 to 4 months enough to see results? The answer is NO. The reason is search engines are now valuing consistency and quality over a period of time. In 3 to 4 months you will become a serious contender in the search rankings but emerging a winner (convert your traffic into leads and orders) can take 6 months to a year depending on the keywords and the competition.The faster I build links the better? Speed is not the key here, its consistency that's the new mantra. Are 500 web directory submissions in 15 days better than say 30 to 40 high quality web directory submissions every month? The answer to that is NO.What you need is to implement a long term SEO strategy, implemented "Weekly". Create resourceful, unique and informative content EACH WEEK, syndicate to selected 10 to 15 popular article sites EACH WEEK, promote across 10 - 15 relevant social media and bookmarking sites EACH WEEK, and participate in relevant social, web and user communities EACH WEEK.The Link MythI have to pay, beg or trick for links? The answer to that is NO. The days of paid links (unless they are part of a PPC or advertising campaign), reciprocal links and requesting for links are OVER. Natural link building is actively syndicating and promoting your content so that these communities that you participate in link back to your content. These links are based on merit, and are highly valued. In the near future I predict that these may the only links that matter.Is quantity of links the King? NO, it's quality and diversity of links that's King. Quality means that credible and relevant websites are linking to your content as they see value in it for their users. Diversity means that it's better to build a healthy matrix of links from diverse websites (web directories, article submissions, social bookmarking, social media and networking etc) all pointing back to your content, than build thousands of links from say only article sites, or only web directories.What you need is a link strategy that actively encourages the creation of unique content, and then actively promoting and syndication of that content across relevant user, web and social communities. This is a weekly exercise. Other than this create a healthy mix of links from web directories, article sites, social bookmarking sites, education (.edu, .org) sites, PR releases, relevant sites/ blogs, industry sites, blog reviews etc.The Traffic MythIs Traffic = Conversions? The answer is NO. There are various ways to get targeted traffic to your website, but to convert a visitor to a customer requires innovative design, content, services, products, rates, service and business sense. Did I just forget to put in SEO in the list?All traffic is good? The answer is NO. Surprised! To target traffic means to target a keyword. To target a keyword means "time" and "effort" to focus on targeting that keyword. If you create highly targeted keywords then you get targeted traffic. So traffic from keywords that don't synergize with your product, information or service is useless, so are keywords that don't lead to a sale.What you need is to identify keywords that will translate into customers. Each keyword had separate competition and traffic potential, and you have to build links to each of these keyword pages. Identify keywords will lesser competition yet higher traffic potential. Start with local keywords (local traffic), then country specific keywords before you try for global keywords. As you attain success with each keyword (on page #1 of search rankings) you will create a funnel of traffic to your website.The Ranking MythI want # 1 ranking for my keywords? Good for you, but it's not possible for anyone to guarantee #1 rankings unless they own the search engine. Set goals for Page #1 rankings for your keywords. It is wise to start with city centric keywords and after success, move to country specific keywords, and then capture the global keywords.My new site will rank because I am ready to pay? The answer to this is NO. Search engines value sites that have been in business for long, and those that intend to be in business for long. A new site will take 6 months to start ranking well in search listings, but that does not mean you cannot start getting business for your new website via PPC, AdWords, and banner ads etc till then.My SEO efforts and should translate into steady rise of my keywords in Search rankings? I agree it seems reasonable to expect that after 2 months of SEO effort you would see a steady rise in the search listings, but it does not work that way. Search engines update their listings every 2 - 3 months. What you will notice however is a quantum leap after you have been showing consistency in building user value, and building quality links.What you need is to FOCUS on being consistent with creation of quality content, and syndication and promotion of that content, including other link building opportunities that may arise. Don't worry about rankings, if you build a strong SEO strategy that's implemented week to week, then your keywords will find way to page #1, and stay there.