Keywords. Algorithms. Demographics. These often confusing and sometimes contradictory elements can make even the most proficient marketers wary and weary. For this reason, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) owns the distinct title of being the ‘most misunderstood marketing methodology’ in the chess game that is today’s business platform. Knowing the pitfalls of the most common misconceptions can save your business from falling into a trap you may have unknowingly set yourself. Fear not! Today we will debunk the myths and misnomers of SEO strategy.
Common Mistake #1: Social Skills
Understanding the rules for providing top SEO content is the key to any successful marketing campaign. We know the basics. The Googlebot is looking for key elements, and if we accurately provide those elements, we will be rewarded with a good ranking. Simple enough. Most SEO strategies check off all the boxes for keywords, internal links, and no duplication, but fail to recognize the impact of their social media posts and how they are affecting their SEO bottom line. Although the official Google suggestion is that “social signals do not impact rankings,” content shared on social venues that receive a lot of shares, likes, and comments will likely get similar engagement metrics that lend themselves to Google’s authority signals, and in turn, positively impact your rankings.
That said, here’s where the dance comes in. Social media managers need to ensure they aren’t creating social media plans with the exclusive intent of improving rankings. Instead, it should be understood that SEO and social media work together as part of an overall marketing plan to simultaneously further readership and reach. The common denominator all across the output spreadsheet is quality content.
Common Mistake #2: Forgetting That Oldies Can Be Goodies
New ideas are great, and innovation is what oils the wheels of any business. But don’t discount the value of been there, done that. Repurposing your content; running an already used, successful campaign idea, a well-received promotion from the year you started out, or a series of blog topics that got your website humming is NOT a bad marketing practice. Look back into your business past to determine what reviewed well from your social media outlets, what got the most buzz.
What got the most shares? What type of content drove the most traffic?
Is that content still as relevant? You may have to tweak it a bit since the time you originally posted, but it’s well worth the effort. Having a baseload of pre-researched, pre-liked, ready-to-post campaigns, promotions, and blogs that you can scatter among your new content will only gain you better overall website visits, which, of course, is the benefit of effective SEO management.
Common Mistake #3: Underestimating the Power of Patience
There’s a reason it’s called a virtue. In this “I needed it done yesterday” frenetic pace of today’s marketplace, patience is all the more evasive. Many marketers believe in their SEO game plan, but then don’t give it time to grow and abandon ship too early on. Competitive data is being shared in your avenue of expertise at a staggering speed, every minute of the day. The massive amount of content online is the main reason SEO has to be viewed at as a long-term plan rather than a quick fix strategy. It takes time to be recognized as superior through all the conflicting noise out there. Google recognizes the standouts, the influencers. Those that put in the work to build authority will be rewarded, not just with high rankings but the high traffic that makes those rankings happen.
Common Mistake #4: Not Keeping Up-To-Date
Yup! “Times they are a-changin’.” What worked well as a marketing strategy in 2016 is not close to being successful today. Tactics and trends of the past can negatively impact your standing. Take the practice of keyword stuffing as a prime example. At the beginning of the SEO evolution, it was commonplace to stuff a web-page full of keywords, and it was initially a popular and successful trick. It looked ridiculous, of course, and lowered credibility from actual human readers, but it did work. (In the SEO realm, anyways!) Today it could get you hit with a manual or algorithmic suspension, which is challenging to get disentangled from. Keywords are crucial but only when they make sense!
As search results get more personalized, connections between your target audience and your content needs to be specifically geared for each other. No one is considered an authority by shooting out mantras of vagueness. Keyword placement and originality are equally important. Keep in mind that the expected result of SEO is to be placed on top. A helicopter is fast, but it can’t land on a pinnacle. You’ll be waving as you pass it by. Climbing up properly, harnessed and prepared, is the only way to reach the summit and place your stake there permanently.