Search Engine Optimization. Three words that are a genuine nightmare for start ups and small businesses alike. For first timers, SEO can be a near to impossible assignment to manage on their own. There are numerous variables that are to be taken care of, along with the ever-evolving Google search ranking algorithms which are often difficult to predict. Therefore, it makes sense for start ups to outsource their SEO needs to experts and agencies in the industry.
But in many instances, it is seen that self-proclaimed SEO pundits and agencies deceive clients into believing certain myths about the practice to get away with their lack of knowledge and incompetence. SEO experts are expensive to hire and this often gives rise to high-cost campaigns with no results in sight.
According to a study by TheSemPost, an SEO expert’s salary in 2015 hovered around $52,000 in the US. The numbers are also high in our country with SEO experts in India pocketing Rs 178,958 annually on average, as reported by PayScale. If the industry is throwing around that kind of money for the services, it should be made sure by managers that they are not deceived into believing bogus claims.
Keep an eye out for the following common SEO lies that prevail in the market today:
1) Guaranteed Results
As a client who is paying money for a professional service, you would always expect assurance about results before hiring experts. But SEO is one domain which is highly volatile and unpredictable. Every web page is unique in its own way and it is virtually impossible to guarantee any promises about results. Casual predictions are plausible, but if your agency is committing to getting you the top Google rank, it is probably a sham to make you buy the service package.
- Trending SEO Tip – Search for transparency in your experts. If they are outrightly telling you about the fact that it is unfeasible to accurately predict the SEO campaign’s results, chances are that they know what they are doing. Reputed firms have been known to have clauses about no pledges regarding results.
2) We Will Create Plenty Of Inbound Links
6 years ago, this would have made a huge difference to your campaign. Today, it can end up penalizing your website’s rankings at the very least, and get it banned altogether at the worst. Google’s Panda Update in February of 2011 changed the whole SEO game by focusing more on quality rather than quantity in every space – be it content on your website or the number of sources backlinking to it. One quality link from a reputed website today is worth more than ten links from irrelevant ones. In fact, creating too many inbound links in a short span of time (which bogus SEO agencies might be pitching to do for you) will trigger Google’s spam sensors and penalize your web pages in rankings.
- Trending SEO Tip – Focus on creating backlinks from authority websites. For this, one of the trending strategies, as mentioned by my favorite SEO expert Brian Dean, is to use the “Best Of” blog posts to find the top websites in your niche. This can be done via search strings like “best (Topic) blog year” or “(Topic) blogs to read”. The next step would be to reach out to these blogs via emails regarding backlinking opportunities in their published content. For another neat link building SEO trick called the ‘Moving Man Method’, watch the video below:
3) We Must Maximize Outreach
Small businesses and infant start ups would not want to reach out to the whole country right away for clients. And for many industries, the ability to reach customers locally is what the foundation of their business stands on. SEO agencies might tempt companies like these into focusing on broader searches, which can have a serious drain on their campaign resources. It is their job to make sure the hired experts are capable enough to lay viable emphasis on local search engine results, depending on the type of the market they are in.
- Trending SEO Tip – To show up more in local searches, start by enlisting your business locally on Google. Then move on to include regional SEO information in your page’s title tags and building geo-tagged location pages, targeting the city your business operates in. Alongside these tips, also focus on using the name of your city at least thrice on the target web pages.
4) Let’s Only Focus On Keywords
Before the big update in 2011, keywords used to be the cogwheel behind the industry. But over time, Google realized that this encouraged a race among bloggers to irrelevantly overuse target keywords in articles which in turn made content quality suffer.
Hence, the focus gradually shifted from keywords to the meaning of the whole search strings. Even visual aids in blog posts and mobile optimization scores of websites along with the presence of their dedicated apps on the app stores play crucial roles in contributing towards SEO today. So do not let any ‘SEO expert’ build your whole campaign only around keywords.
- Trending SEO Tip – I would like to share here a personally developed SEO trick which I like to call “The Alternate Keyword Method”. Here is how it goes:
- Step 1 – Decide the keyword for the article that you want to target.
- Step 2 – Make a Google search of the exact keyword phrase.
- Step 3 – Go through the link descriptions of the first 100 links to find words that have been highlighted apart from your keyword phrase. (see image below)
- Step 4 – Make a list of these alternate keywords. These words are directly associated with your target keywords by the search bot.
- Step 5 – Use these alternate keywords in combination with your target keywords throughout the article. This should have a positive impact on the post’s relevance and search visibility.
- In the example above, notice how “strategies” is a quick alternate keyword for “techniques”. Therefore using the phrase “link building strategies” in your blog post can further improve its visibility.
5) Google Plus Is Just Another Social Media Platform
If your SEO partners believe in this, you should probably cut them loose. Presence on Google Plus cannot be compared with engagement on other social media platforms. The reason? Simply because it is owned by Google itself. Creating a Google+ business page and actively maintaining it has been known to improve the rankings of websites. According to the latest search ranking factor study of 2015 by Moz, there is a strong positive correlation between the number of ‘page shares’ on Google Plus and the ranking of the page on the search engine.
Notice that even without considering the ‘+1s’ the pages get on Google Plus, research shows a positive correlation as much as that of the total social media count of a page on Facebook. This clearly suggests that Google+ has an edge over other social media platforms.
- Trending SEO Tip – Make a page of your brand on Google Plus, build a loyal audience and focus not just on the number of followers, but also on making them engage with your posts. Furthermore, motivate customers into giving reviews about your business. Reviews on Google+ pages act as strong authority points when it comes to ranking.
6) We Know Everything About Google Algorithms
SEO gurus who claim to know about every ranking factor Google algorithms make use of are the ones who end up being the laughing stock of the industry. Apart from a few people at Google, no one in the world has a 100% insight into the algorithms. Based on research and observations coupled with experiences and experiments, experts can at the most make calculated predictions about how the algorithms might be working.
- Trending SEO Tip – The recent history of Google ranking algorithm tweaks are all suggesting that they want to promote high-quality content rather than websites that churn out quantity oriented blog posts. The best bet to stay ahead in the game here is to focus on original and long form content (at least 1000 words) and stay clear of plagiarism. Such obsolete practices will not improve your rankings in today’s time and will instead end up downgrading your search ranks.
7) Our Common Package Deals Work For All Clients
Well, this one is a nightmare. Every website page is unique in its own way and every online business cannot be made SEO friendly by following the same set of guidelines. Pages have to be extensively analyzed first for blatant as well as sneaky flaws. Only then can claims about the service packages and expected costs be made. Moreover, continuous algorithm tweaks can make any fixed package deals irrelevant within a few months. Although a few basic aspects like ‘link building strategies’ can be common to websites of the same industry, if your agency or SEO expert is applying them across niches, you probably need to hire someone with a better technical prowess.
- Trending SEO Tip – Stay ahead of your competitors by checking the MozCast every morning to know the ‘SEO weather’ of the day. The free service tracks the changes in the Google’s search algorithm in the past 24 hours. The weather meter is expected to show a significant movement the day Google decides to take the market by storm.
Latest SEO Tools To Use In 2016
Along with Moz and MozCast (mentioned earlier in the article), there are a few more handy tools out there which can be used to aid your SEO needs in 2016.
1. SEMrush – This is the best SEO tool today to extensively research what your competitors are doing. And also what you are. The service provides you with all details about your on page SEO, page rankings and information about your backlinks. It also helps to peak into the practices of competitors including the keywords they are targeting, their revenue-keyword correlation, their CPC, keyword traffic percentage and much more. A good practice here would be to find out the keywords your competitors are raking in huge profits from and applying them in your blog posts via “The Alternate Keyword Method’ as mentioned above.
2. Secockpit – This is another handy web-based tool that helps you to dig out the most valuable keywords as well as future traffic estimates about them. The upside is that it does not require any hefty installation and can be easily assessed on the go via its smartphone app. It has a huge potential to have a direct impact on your profits. Do check it out.
3. BuzzSumo – It is by far the best content analysis tool in the market and is being used substantially by many content curation platforms in the country after the recent startup wave. Buzzsumo provides powerful content insights about the most popular content of the day across all social media platforms. It can even provide you with alerts whenever your brand name is being used on the Internet. This can be used to track backlinks and even find instances when a due inbound link is not being properly attributed.
Search Engine Optimization is a tricky game and can require a few months of input before results seem tangible. It is more of an elaborate and continuous process rather than a task on the list. Hence a realistic and patient approach is required to hit all the right chords in their own time.
About this platform
YellowBulbs is the #MarketingMarketplace that connects businesses with marketing specialists. We have put together leading SEO Experts in Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai and many other major cities (both agencies and freelancers) who can work with you to help you achieve stunning and transparent SEO results. Sign Up now as a Marketer and Post a Brief.
We also understand that many start ups don’t have years of marketing experience and the entire business of marketing may look very subjective to them. Hence, we offer ready to use packages called Brand Boxes which come with standardized pricing and fixed deliverables. You can buy one of our SEO Brand Boxes to kickstart your marketing projects on an immediate basis.
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