Today, over half of all website traffic arrives through search engine organic results. Over half of these searches are done on mobile devices. 88% of local website visits result in a physical visit within 24 hours. You understand the importance of your website. And you know that without search engine optimization (SEO) it’s virtually invisible. But if you’re trying to apply the best SEO strategies to improve your site, there are a lot of SEO myths out there that can really hurt you. SEO mistakes like these can cost you money and customers. They certainly won’t help you get more traffic and make more sales at your furniture store. Let’s explore some of the most common and damaging myths out there along with the truth about SEO.
Myth #1: I Can Set it and Forget it
Many people see SEO as a major one-time investment. They ask questions like, “how much does it cost to SEO my site?” They think they can hire a freelancer or company to SEO their site once a year or worse still, one time only. This one-time optimization is going to be very costly and take a lot of time. And the results won’t last long. This myth gets perpetuated by poor SEO partners who make false promises.
Here’s why this just doesn’t work and the truth you need to know.
Truth: Google Looks At How Often You Update Your Site
Google is the #1 search engine in the US with over 79% of the search traffic worldwide. Generally, when you apply SEO strategies, you’re playing by Google’s rules. Google’s ultimate goal is to deliver the best results so people find what they’re looking for faster. That’s how they stay #1. But what about the SEO myths?
Google doesn’t care if you update your site every day–as far as we know. But they do want fresh content to serve Internet users. And because they’re Google, they can see when you last updated the site or a specific page. They have to instantly judge billions of pages. And only 10 end up on page one. Generally speaking, a site that only gets updated every three to six months, won’t make the top of the list if a competitor’s relevant pages are updated more frequently and recently. Not only will your content be more relevant more often. But also says something about how much you care about online customers experience. Google likes that.
On top of this, let’s say you did something to SEO your site and Google didn’t like it. They could penalize your site. If you fix that error quickly, the penalty is generally lifted quickly. No grudges or lifelong bans. But if you wait because you don’t think you need SEO maintenance, that penalty does damage that may take many months to undo.
But there are other very important reasons for setting and forgetting doesn’t work.
Truth: Google Frequently Tweaks Its Algorithms
It’s almost too easy to bust these SEO myths. It’s all about the data. People are constantly trying to outsmart Google’s algorithm to take those top spots. They apply suspicious strategies, known as Black Hat SEO, knowing that they are explicitly against Google’s rules. Google considers this manipulation to be not in the best interest of their searchers.
Over the years, Google has consistently updated its algorithms to root out those trying game the system. Sometimes these strategies hurt those following the rules along with those who aren’t. Recently, updates which have nicknames like Medic or Panda caused businesses who were doing well online to plummet overnight.
While no one but Google knows when the algorithm will be updated, a professional SEO company stays up-to-date on these changes and can anticipate to some extent what Google may do next. They can make strategy adjustments to adapt.
Truth: Your Competition Uses SEO Too
This shouldn’t be news. But many people who believe SEO myths like “SEO is a one-time investment” forget about their competition, which may be national. As your competitors see you go up in the ranks, they apply strategies to overtake you. If you’re not regularly monitoring the competition and maintaining your SEO, you can lose ground fast.
It’s much harder and more expensive to re-claim your high ranking than it is to maintain it.
Truth: You’ll Get the Best ROI with Regular Maintenance
SEO does require a large initial investment. This money goes into things like:
- Making sure your site is fast on all devices. Today, consumers expect a website to load in fewer than 2 seconds. If it takes 5, half of the visitors leave.
- Optimizing user experience
- Optimizing product pages and checkout
- Integrating elements that people are searching for like useful tools, videos, blog posts
- Technically optimizing the site so that search engines understand what each page is about
- Building initial website authority
- Developing an overall strategy for SEOing the site and maintaining the results
Maintenance includes things like:
- Adding new optimized pages
- Creating more content that ideal customers are looking for
- Networking with others to increase your domain and page authority
- Tracking ranking. If it starts to slip, an SEO jumps into action to find out why
- Adapting as the competition improves their strategies
We’ve only scratched the surface of SEO myths. The next one is equally alarming.
Myth #2: SEO Success Happens Overnight
When you run an ad, you expect to instantly see results. If you have a sale, you expect to sell more during that promotion. So it’s understandable that many business owners imagine that SEO works the same way — instantly.
This myth is made worse again by misinformation from unscrupulous SEO professionals who lead customers and followers to believe in instant results. But here’s more how it works.
Truth: SEO Is a Long-term strategy
Instead of thinking of SEO like an ad campaign, consider this comparison. SEO is like building a strong reputation in your community. Each time you provide a great customer experience to a customer in your store, it strengthens your brand. They write reviews. They tell others.
It takes some time and money to gain momentum. The more consistent you are, the more customers you’ll see. Once you have a good reputation, continue to deliver a great customer experience while adapting to changing customer preferences and you’ll maintain that reputation. It takes some time and effort to build that reputation. But you recoup all of that cost and more over a long period of time, years and years.
Your website has a reputation too. It’s not directly proportionate to your real-world reputation at first. It takes some time for Google to see that you can do two things consistently:
- Help customers find what they’re looking for on your site
- Make Industry and community peers respect you as an expert
And it’s all relative. If your competition is already doing these things well, you need to do it better.
Truth: Rise Fast and You’ll Fall Hard
The other truth that many find out too late is that Google is watching your website over a period of time. If you go from invisible to suddenly having many news sites, industry sites and local websites linking to you, this looks suspicious.
The only way to achieve this is by using tactics that are forbidden. Google makes note of this sudden rise and will often find a reason to penalize multiple pages on your site.
Myth #3: SEO is All About Ranking #1 on Google
I bet this one surprised most of you. The first few SEO myths were deep cuts of a soundtrack you’ve heard before. But I’m sure you’re asking, “What is the point of SEO if not to be #1?” Here’s the truth to the myth. Do you want to have a #1 spot? Of course. Around 33% of search result traffic goes to this spot. But many don’t really know what it means to be in a number one spot or what it takes to achieve it.
Truth: There Are Many #1 Spots for Your Furniture Business
Because this was a surprising one of the SEO myths, we have a question for you. Who are you competing with? Do you think of SEO like a horse race with one winner? And the second place is the first loser, right?
You’re not just competing for one winning spot. Your business is competing for dozens, then hundreds or more. That’s because, ideally, you want 1st-page placement for multiple searches that are important to your business.
Focusing too much on achieving #1 for a single keyword phrase would require you to put all of your money into that one word. But there are many other high traffic, relevant keywords you can attain a high ranking for with less cost and effort. In some cases, the difference between #1 and #3 isn’t that drastic.
On top of this, when you rank high in many searches, those rankings help your other rankings because domain authority (DA) goes up. DA is an estimate of how authoritative your site is as a whole. The higher this number, the easier it becomes to rank a new page in new searches.
SEO myths that say “#1 or bust” can break a home furnishings store’s marketing budget fast.
Aside from the fact that going for #1 isn’t always the best strategy, the benefits of SEO extend far beyond that increased traffic you achieve with top spots. Increased traffic means nothing if revenues don’t go up. SEO is about a lot more than #1 to get more traffic.
Truth: SEO has Many Benefits Beyond Ranking
- Quality of your traffic. SEO targets people who are likely customers. That means higher conversion rates and increased revenues.
- Ad performance. When people click an ad, they go to a fast and user-friendly site. You’ll spend less on ads for higher conversions.
- Social media engagement. You have more content to share and build an organic following.
- Customer satisfaction. You get more positive reviews and all the benefits that come with them.
This only scratches the surface.
If we had to say “SEO is all about _____.” We’d replace “#1 ranking” with “customer experience”. You know it’s true. Put customers first and the rest follows.
Myth #4: Blogs Don’t Help My SEO
There are some SEO myths going around that you need to focus everything on video, or optimized product pages or social media ads. They say people don’t read anymore, especially Millennials. So you need to deliver little bytes and then try to convert fast. All of these are important for a well-rounded SEO strategy. But blogs still hold a very important place in your SEO strategy. Let’s look at the numbers that prove it.
Truth: Millennials Love Blogs
First let’s look at some Millennial stats because Millennials are now in their 30’s and, on average, make over $50,000/year. They show us the direction that retail is going and here’s what they think about blogs.
- A Forbes study found that 33% of Millennials trust blogs the most when they’re making a purchase. Also, 81% of all consumers say they generally trust blog posts over other mediums.
- 42% of Millennials prefer reading online over watching (38%) or listening (19%) when trying to acquire information. 81% prefer to get their information online. Keep in mind, they’re often of smartphones in a public place so watching and listening are often less convenient.
- 57% of millennials consider themselves blog readers
Blogs are a great way impart the information that Millennials and other generations are looking for on social media and in searches. But does this actually help your SEO?
Truth: Blogs Deliver Measurable Results
Let’s see how facts bust this SEO myth
- A website with a blog will, on average, has 434% more indexed pages than one without. This gives you 434% more chances to rank well in searches. We like those odds.
- 47% of consumers will consume 3-5 pieces of content before buying something. If you only have a product page, there’s little to consume. Blogs are a cost-effective way to great more content.
- 94% share a blog after reading it because they think it will be useful to their followers.
- Companies that published 4 blog posts a week get 4.5X the traffic of those who publish once per week.
- 82% of businesses who invest in blogging as a major part of their inbound marketing strategy, get a positive ROI.
But you should know that over 3 million blog posts get published every day. More blog posts can mean more traffic and more sales. But it’s not a given. Quality matters a lot. Google is committed to weeding out low-quality blogs that don’t help people. Their algorithms keep getting better. 58% of marketers say that quality, originally-written content is their most important content asset.
If you allow too much lower quality content on your site, it will damage your site as people find it. Never let a desire to grow your blog overtake your focus on quality.
You Don’t Have to Suffer Because of SEO Myths
SEO myths can really hurt you. They can lead you down a long and costly path in the wrong direction. We can help you separate the fact from the fiction. We can set you on the right path with SEO. We can help you achieve long-term, sustainable results for your website and your furniture store as a whole. To learn more about the best SEO strategy for retail stores like you, contact us.