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What do Unicorns and search engine optimization have in common?
A unicorn is a magical, mythical beast that has captured the hearts and minds of millions of kids and adults around the world. What do unicorns and search engine optimization have in common?
While thinking of unicorns is fun to do from time to time they don’t actually exist. In the SEO world, the imaginations of business owners run wild with strategies and tactics that also don’t exist. Some of them worked at one point in time, but in today’s shifting digital marketing environment they don’t.
A unicorn is a myth much like many SEO tactics in today’s digital marketing landscape.
Let’s break down 5 of the most persistent SEO myths that still run wild today and just won’t go away.
1. We are the champions of search ranking
Everyone wants that ever-elusive, number one ranking. That top ranking that rules them all and could bring in an everlasting stream of revenue dominating your competition in the process.
When we sit down with business owners large and small they almost all want to be ranked number one. The question we often times come back with is “Number one in what?”
This myth still lurks from the first days that Google opened it’s doors. Back then search engines were easily exploited, letting you outrank just about anyone with “black hat” tactics.
You could rank anywhere in the world for any one term and affiliate marketers dominated this landscape with automated software that did most of the work for them. They actually DID tap into an unregulated revenue stream that no one else knew about.
Eventually Google got wise, updating their algorithm multiple times to do away with this glitch in the system. These tactics also left legitimate businesses wondering why their website was being outranked by thousands of other websites filled with spammy content and click bait. Google doesn’t like when people exploit search engines and they have since leveled the playing field.
Those days are now behind us. Ranking number one is too broad and it’s more important figuring out which terms will bring you the most revenue. When deciding to hire an SEO company to outrank your opponents, you need 20-40 terms that are relevant to your business. These terms have to fill a need in the process when someone searches for your business on Google. More than anything you want a strong presence in your own city and own neighborhood.
For a unicorn T-Shirt company in Denver, you would target search terms such as “Unicorn T-Shirts Denver,” Or “Best Unicorn T-Shirts” or “Unicorn Clothes.”
All these could be on your list of terms. Google also uses your location to give you the best results that are also closest to you. If you’re a worldwide retailer of unicorn-based clothing, it may be harder to rank for those terms, but it can still be done. The point is to find the terms that will actually make you money.
In the early days of SEO it was all about volume and quantity. The more keywords and links you had, the easier it was to outrank your opponents.
Now it’s about quality, not quantity. Less is more in this new digital marketing landscape.
2. Social Media is Pointless in SEO
Can you believe Social Media as we know it is over 10 years old? Facebook launched back in 2005 and since then there have been multiple different mediums for social sharing. The two biggest ones are still Facebook and Twitter. There are others like Pinterest that carry weight but these two are still the most popular girls in school. Facebook is starting to lose its luster for some, but it’s almost a requirement at this point. Can you do without Facebook? Probably, but most people do not as it consolodates all your information in one place. You can also login into many different websites and applications using Facebook. Facebook also allows you to reach the people who are interested in your brand.
Twitter just made a power play to become a huge factor in the SEO world.
Tweets weren’t always indexed – Twitter existed in its own little social media bubble separate from the rest of the internet. This all changed this past year when Google and Twitter agreed to begin indexing Tweets. Google can’t just index every Tweet, or it would crash all of its servers storing all the information. It has to be selective and as of now it’s indexing roughly 6% of all Tweets.
Why is this significant?
If a Tweet gets indexed with your link and company information it’s another way that people can find you! It’s creating a social backlink and people can now search out your company on Google, using hashtags.
While Twitter doesn’t make any direct money off of this, if more people use Twitter then they can make more advertising revenue from businesses using their service. If more companies find value in a Tweet they will be more likely to spend money on Twitter advertisements.
Twitter has always been a powerful way to drive traffic back to your website to convert. It has just become all the more relevant to your bottom line as well as in the search engine optimization world.
The SEO community is starting to embrace social media. If the digital marketing firm you work with isn’t implementing social media as part of their search engine optimization strategy, run away. They go together hand-in-hand and one can’t be used effectively without the other. Social media is like measuring word-of-mouth advertising and social proof. When people see and interact with your company on Twitter they will be more inclined to make a purchase in the near future.
3. The More Links The Merrier
Links were once considered the life force of the internet. The more links the better, right? Not so fast – this used to be true, which created an environment where black hat SEO companies made “link farms” and automated software to create fake links pointing back to your website. This shot your internet rankings through the roof at the time but it no longer works.
Google has adjusted it’s algorithm once again to combat against this. Now more than anything it isn’t the quantity of links but the quality of them. If you are a sports blog that has a backlink to ESPN.com or NFL.com it will carry a lot more weight than several no name sports blogs just starting out.
If you have weird links with information that isn’t useful or comes off as spammy than your website could get penalized which would lower it’s ranking. Google has gotten way better at scanning websites to find bad links. If these websites with bad links are pointing to your website then it could hurt your rank and make it difficult for people to find it.
You can take advantage of our SEO analysis to see if your website has links pointing to your website that hurt you in any way
4. Image SEO doesn’t exist
Another form of SEO?
Images never used to factor in Google’s search algorithm, but now they do. When Google scans your webpages it can’t see images on your website. It relies on text to tell it what it’s looking at. You can label an image and let Google know what it is looking at so it can properly index the picture.
This can have a powerful effect on your rankings as most people don’t even bother, leaving the Alt Image area and description blank and invsibile to Google. If you don’t enter text into the correct areas, they simply won’t be scanned or indexed.
Also, name your Image files before you upload them to your website. This will reinforce to Google what it actually is.
When people search for your website using image alt tags can help you outrank other websites who aren’t using them. It also creates another backlink and another way for people to find you. Using alt text and image tags sends another signal to Google reinforcing that you are the website you say you are and can provide useful information to people in many different ways.
5. You Can Save Money By Letting “IT” Handle SEO
Most business owners pass off their search engine optimization campaign to their IT department. These highly technical, clever, quick-to-learn group of people can surely figure it all out, right?
The truth is that IT doesn’t always translate over to search engine optimization or content marketing. Content marketing and SEO have merged now. You can’t do one without the other and have a successful website.
You could even argue that handing off SEO to IT created the crazy, automated, keyword-stuffing environment that was the early days of search.
SEO is an entirely different animal. Kind of like if a unicorn existed, it would be different than a regular horse. While they have similarities, they also have their different personalities, quirks and characteristics.
SEO takes an entirely different mindset. While IT and SEO co-exist, they don’t work well doing the other person’s job. The IT department can set up the shell and the SEO team drives the traffic and brings it to life. The IT department can make sure your website is set up to be crawled and scanned efficiently by the Google spiders.
While they are talented in their own right, that doesn’t automatically mean they will make a seamless transition into the SEO world.
As a business owner it’s important to find ways to maximize your return on investment and save money, making one do the other’s job can actually hurt you in the long run.
If you’re interested in a full website analysis by a talented team of digital marketing experts, click the link below.