Estimated reading time: 12 minutes
Today I want to encourage you with this – “SEO is the heart of online marketing, and your business can’t survive without It!”
As an SEO professional, I have the opportunity to interact with business friends, prospects and CEOs on a daily basis. And what they think about SEO is quite shocking.
A majority of business owners hate SEO because of the cold-call SEO pitches they receive daily and the fear of Google algorithms change and penalties. It’s hard to convince them what role SEO can play in their business marketing.
Some of them think that Search Engine Optimization is only for big businesses who already have a good online presence and branding and Google loves and prefers them on their search result pages. Plus, large companies have significant marketing resources to promote their business by SEO and other marketing channels.
According to a survey done in 2015 by the Small Business Authority (SBA), 45% of small business owners in the United States think of organic search engine traffic as an “important” source of business opportunity. Another 39% of small businesses said ‘no’ and 16% declared themselves ‘unsure’ about using SEO.
It’s also worth noting that 39% of business owners aren’t investing in any marketing strategies be it social media, email marketing, outdoor or newspaper, which implies that Search Engine Optimization alone may not be the problem.
Considering all the scenarios and the research data, this question surely comes to mind, “What’s holding back businesses from embracing SEO in their business marketing?”
The answer is lack of education and widespread misconceptions about SEO technique.
Directly Jump To:
➟ Excuse #1: SEO Takes Too Long
➟ Excuse #2: SEO is Unpredictable and Can Get My site Penalized
➟ Excuse #3: SEO is Too Expensive
➟ Excuse #4: SEO is Complex and Hard to Do + DIY Tips for Better SEO
➟ Excuse #5: SEO is not for Small Businesses and Small Sites
➟ Things to Know Before Hiring an SEO Professional/Agency
➟ SEO Toolkit
➟ Educate Yourself
Well, it’s true that SEO doesn’t enjoy an impeccable reputation because the early days were full of spammers and scammers. Unfortunately, black-hat SEO professionals or SEO spammers still do exists but if you are well aware about what you should be looking into a good SEO professional or agency, you will never regret the choice of selecting/doing SEO for your business.
A good SEO can provide you the valuable services and help improve your site reputation, credibility and trust in search engines but can also ensure an outstanding user experience and user journey on your website, which always results in more conversions and business.
In this post, I’m going to crush top five biggest excuses (myths) businesses made about using SEO – and to take it further I will provide you the link of helpful resources, tools and how you can do SEO your own to ignite your business in 2018!
Excuse #1: SEO Takes Too Long
There is one thing that every business owner wants with all his heart – success. Isn’t it?
And we are in the age where we all want easy shortcuts, methods that produce fast results.
The same is true for SEO because most businesses are impatient and they still believe that they can achieve business goals without giving their full dedication, time and 100% trust in a particular marketing activity.
Yes, It’s true that it takes time to build rankings and establish a good online presence by using SEO, but, it’s also true that once it is in place and your website is well-optimized, it can bring you the continuous results and business in a longer term.
Google says, in most cases, SEOs need four months to a year to help your business first implement improvements and then see the potential benefit.
If you’re willing to put in the time, efforts and to stick with it consistently, SEO can be one of your most powerful marketing tools.
Excuse #2: SEO is Unpredictable and Can Get My site Penalized
There is always a fear among businesses of getting their website penalized by Google because their algorithms have been known to destroy search traffic, which, in turn, make businesses lose money and new clients.
They also think that SEO is an unreliable source of traffic, it’s unpredictable and very dynamic in nature. One practice that you are using today, can become obsolete on next day.
Search engines such as Google constantly update their algorithms, which can bring down the website performance if the website is not as per the new changes.
Yes, SEO is dynamic and involves continuous experiments and refinements by search engines but it’s not true that traffic is unreliable or unpredictable.
Search engines such as Google takes action against a website only –
- if your site is not compliant with their Webmaster Guidelines.
- If you are a pure spam.
- If you are cheating your users by sneaky redirects, hidden text, keyword stuffing, malicious content etc.
- If your site is deceptive, malicious and has a manipulative behavior just made to fool Google and search visitors.
- If you are breaking content copyright laws.
So if your business is producing good content, not breaking any webmaster guideline, ensuring a good user experience, and your users are happy with your services, you should have no fear of Google Penalties.
Fortunately, Google also provides you a report in case they find anything which is not ethical or as per their webmaster guidelines in their Google Search Console tool.
Plus, most algorithms such as Panda (for low-quality content) and Penguin (for link related spam) are now real-time algorithms so changes will be visible much faster, typically taking effect shortly after Google re-crawl and re-index a page.
Excuse #3: SEO is Too Expensive
People think the time and resources that SEO takes in order to achieve the results are too costly. There is also a misconception that SEO companies/agencies do the right things only when they are paid well and you choose their highest pricing plans for SEO services.
There is also a lot of other things involved in SEO such as the cost of content writing, link building, social promotion, creating engaging and interactive graphics, high-quality video creation that all makes it a costly choice.
SEO is not a cost, actually, its an investment that you do for the future success of your online presence.
The cost of SEO, however, is comparatively lower than other marketing channels such as PPC advertising to earn traffic and sales.
Another thing that you should always consider that cost of SEO presented by an agency or a professional for your website depends on your present situation, your future goals and how fast you want to improve your presence. If you have a tough competition but big profits, your SEO can cost more.
According to a survey by Moz, on an average, startups and small businesses are spending less than $1000 in the U.S. If you want to know more about how much SEO costs, check out this great piece of advice.
Image: Fast and Good SEO is never Cheap
Excuse #4: SEO is Complex and Hard to Do
Different businesses always have different challenges. But finding and having a right and experienced resource in the team is a common challenge that most businesses, especially, startups and SMBs face.
And when it comes to SEO, businesses think they need extra resources (if they are going to do it in-house) especially some specialized experts doing and maintaining their search presence.
Because SEO is not only about making tweaks and changes to the website but it involves a lot of technical aspects affecting how a website is built and optimized for users and search engines.
Well, SEO does require changes to your website’s content, design, and some other technical aspects. And if you are doing it in-house, you certainly need someone who knows it very well.
This doesn’t mean that if your business or startup doesn’t have the budget to hire an SEO expert or an agency, you can’t do it yourself.
These steps will give you a quick insight and suggestions on how you can do SEO for yourself.
- Educate yourself about the SEO concepts such as meta title, description, best practices for URLs, page content, sitemap files, robots.txt, page speed etc. Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO and Google’s SEO Starter Guide are good resources to start.
- Understand your target customers and audience – who they are, what they search on the web, what keywords they are using to search services/product you offer. Google Keyword Planner tool can help you understand and explore these search terms.
- Once you know what your target keywords are, you can easily plan and structurize your website. For example, what pages will be on the home page, how the navigation will work and how the content will be presented to the audience. By considering these, you can build a website that people will love and will tell to others on the web.
- Start publishing high-quality and useful content on the website blog. Your website blog helps you drive new traffic to your website and establish you as an authority in your niche area. This content can also be used to feed your social media audience and linking to other websites.
Image Credit: Hubspot, Benefits of Blogging for Business and Marketing
- Start building a relationship with other industry-related sites by doing guest posting, telling an interesting story about your brand, doing press releases or interacting and helping people in forums.
- Join and use social media to promote your business, to amplify your website content, and to interact with other like-minded people, industry influencers, and your customers. Social Media is also becoming an important tool to provide outstanding customer services.
- Test, Learn and Iterate; Remember that SEO is a continuous process that involves constant testing and experimenting with new ideas. A basic understanding of Google Analytics will help you learn about the traffic sources and how users are interacting with your content.
- Keep yourself updated with the new changes in SEO industry by reading industry blogs such as Search Engine Land. In case, if you have a question or need some expert opinion, jump into SEO communities such as Google Webmaster Community, Moz Q&A for help.
So, doing SEO your own will not only eliminate the need for hiring an SEO expert but also will help you select the right candidate when you’ll scale your business because you are now well aware with SEO industry and techniques. 🙂
Excuse #5: SEO is not for Small Businesses and Small Sites
It’s a misperception that small businesses or startups don’t need optimization for search engines because they are too small to be targeted or either they deal with local prospects.
Small businesses also think that large websites or popular businesses have an inherent advantage when it comes to SEO because they have a higher direct traffic, more links coming in and a team to manage website optimization and quickly implement new changes.
It is also difficult to beat large websites in Google SERP even you are generating high-quality content.
The truth is large websites don’t automatically rank higher in Google search results.
According to Matt Cutts of Google, only sites that are smart enough to be agile, dynamic, have a quick response time and roll out new ideas in much faster than larger sites can rank higher in Google search results.
If you do a better job of focusing on user experience; return something that adds more value, whatever area is yours, and if you do this continuously, you’ll beat larger sites or your competitors. He also suggested that it is a good idea to start small and select a niche area and build out from there as a resource.
This will help you become more authoritative and reputable and beat the large websites.
Be it a startup, small business or large enterprise, SEO offers following benefits –
- SEO help people find your website.
- SEO builds trust and credibility for your brand.
- SEO drives traffic with highest conversion potential.
- SEO amplify your content, social presence, and business relationships.
- SEO help you beat the strong competition and capitalize on weaker one.
Things to Know Before Hiring an SEO Professional/Agency
What makes a great SEO professional? There is a lot of good advice given by Google in this video. Check this out –
I suppose that people will continue to misjudge and misunderstand SEO, only education and proper knowledge will help them better understand it. At least, it will help people better distinguish ‘Poor SEO’ and ‘Good SEO’ and will help them realize that this profession deserves respect.
Things that don’t need any attention should not be the reason to judge someone or some technology. If you are a business owner, you have to learn yourself everything about SEO marketing, starting from beginner level to an expert level.
There are some great resources that will assist you in becoming an expert level SEO –
- Search Engine Land
- Search Engine Journal
- Moz Blog
- Google Webmaster Central Blog
- Google Webmaster Guidelines and Webmaster Forum
- Google Webmaster Help Videos
- Search Engine Watch
- Hubspot Blog
- Stone Temple Consulting
- SEO By The Sea
- Search Engine Roundtable
- The SEM Post
And don’t forget to follow these SEO experts on Twitter –
- Rand Fishkin
- Bill Slawski
- Matt Cutts
- Bary Schwartz
- Danny Sullivan
- Aleyda Solis
- Dan Petrovic
- Jon Cooper
- Mark Traphagen
- Mike Blumenthal
Now, you are well aware with SEO and want to start for your business.
How can you work faster and smarter with SEO?
You need a set of right tools that can cut the extra work and save your time. Below are some of the best SEO tools – fast, free and easy to use, that covers a wide variety of uses and needs.
- Google Search Console aka Webmaster Tools: To monitor your search presence and performance in Google.
- Google Analytics: To track and report website traffic.
- Google Pagespeed Insights: To analyze page content and provide suggestions to make page faster.
- Google Keyword Planner and KeywordTool.io: To find the right keywords to target for your business marketing and SEO.
- Google Structured Data Testing Tool: To test and debug the structured data on the website.
- SimilarWeb: To compare website traffic from different channels such as Direct, Referral, Social, and Search.
- SEMrush: To analyze and do a competitor research and website SEO audit.
- Moz Tools: To make your SEO, content marketing, and link building easy.
- Ahrefs and Majestic: To check backlinks and do a competitor research based on link data.
- XML Sitemaps Generator: To generate and validate sitemaps for search engines.
- Varvy: To test if your site follows Google webmaster guidelines.
- Copyscape: To check content plagiarism.
- Grammarly: To find and eliminate grammatical errors.
- Buffer and Hootsuite: To manage and monitor social media presence.
- Pingdom and Web Page Test: To test the load time of a page and make performance better.
- Screaming Frog: To crawl website content, links, images etc. and to perform a complete technical SEO audit.
- SEO SiteCheckup and SEO Analyzer: To check your website SEO.
- Small SEO Tools: To check backlinks, plagiarism, keyword density, traffic, Domain Authority and lot more.
- Yoast SEO Plugin: To optimize your web page within the WordPress CMS.
- SERPs Rank Checker: To check your rankings for a keyword in a specific location.
For the more general purpose and free SEO tools, check out this page.
Given its many benefits, investing in Search Engine Optimization is now more important than ever before, plus, more and more customers use search engines such as Google to find information, products, and services.
Not optimizing your website’s content and user experience and making excuses for not using SEO might have a negative consequence for your business i.e. your competitors will get a lot of your potential traffic and customers.
This is the right time to stop making excuses and make your marketing a success in 2018.
Go ahead and give it a try. There are no excuses for not using SEO for your business in 2018. 🙂
What are your thoughts on this? Are you planning to start investing in SEO? Or there is still any reason/excuse not for optimizing your site for search engines? If you are using SEO, how are your results?
I’d love to hear you in the comments.
Thanks for reading.