SEO has had its reputation tarnished somewhat by snake oil salesmen and opportunists, who have been ready to take advantage of a lack of understanding and, to an extent, a moving target in terms of what is considered effective. For some, this has led to a lack of trust in the practice. Especially if you have paid for an outcome which has proved elusive…
What is SEO?
SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization, which is the practice of improving the traffic to your website, in terms of both quantity and quality, through organic search engine results. Previously something of a dark art, SEO has changed over recent years to be much less ‘gameable’ Old fashioned techniques like keyword stuffing, using hidden and duplicated content are now known as ‘black hat’ and more likely to get you penalised by Google than get you at the top of the search engine results. Black Hat SEO techniques attempt to game the results by manipulation and, more often than not, don’t offer a good result for the user and Google has become very good at spotting them.
So, what are the main myths about SEO for smaller businesses?
SEO is a lie!
SEO is just smoke and mirrors and is a way of unscrupulous people taking money from naïve website owners and providing nothing in return.
The Truth… SEO can and does work and it is not a lie. It is true to say though, SEO is not a quick fix or a one-off exercise and you are not going to see results over-night so some patience, longer term strategic planning and an effort to provide high quality information are required to see results.
Google blocks SEO
Google does not want people to be able to improve their ranking in search and therefore any efforts you make towards SEO will be thwarted by them.
The truth… Google’s main interest is in providing the user with the best results for their search query. To this end, they will penalise efforts to ‘game’ your way to the top of the listings, especially if this is done by using dodgy tactics and you are offering nothing of value to the user. A certain amount of what we term SEO has to do with the technical structure of your site, whether it is mobile friendly, secure and fast – these elements are ‘off-page’ and are all things which Google use to determine how well your website will rank. Other signals like the click through rate, dwell time and bounce rate also build up a picture of how well your website has answered a searchers query. The on-page elements are to do with your site content. Provided you are offering high quality, relevant information, google wants users to be able to find it when they search and will not penalise you.
A Small Business has no chance in benefitting from SEO
Small businesses are not able to compete with large companies in terms of search engine results so SEO services are not for them.
The Truth… Thinking about how you can optimise your website for search is of huge benefit to smaller businesses and not only something which can be of benefit to larger organisations. In some ways, the opposite is true here. A larger organisation with a marketing budget has the potential to throw money at advertising, social media management, direct marketing and other paid promotion, all of which can help it in terms of visibility and brand recognition. If you have a small business and limited funds to spend, SEO can be one of the best options to get the most out of your budget. So much of what would be considered optimisation does not need to cost a lot of money – keyword research, especially looking at longer tail key-phrases, providing good quality, keyword optimised site content which is highly relevant and making regular site updates can all be done with a small budget and can be massively beneficial to smaller businesses in the battle to be seen online.
Whilst SEO will not provide a quick fix or an over-night boost in your website rankings, sustained efforts over time to provide users with the information and content they are looking for online will reward even the smallest business with better online visibility.
To receive a free SEO health-check of your website get in touch with Rumble. Your website report will detail any immediate technical issues which need attention as well as looking at longer term improvements which can be made in keyword optimisation and targeting, conversion paths and site content. For more on what an SEO audit can tell you ablut your website see our blog 'What will an SEO audit reveal about your website?'