While one might think that being an SEO expert simply requires taking a course and passing a test to get certified, it’s not all that cut and dried. There are no real certification processes as there isn’t a way to certify something that changes almost daily. Google wouldn’t publish the algorithms, as that could be used to game the system, among other reasons, so there is just no way to test one’s knowledge against what they contain.
Instead, SEO professionals must constantly keep up with changing SEO trends. They have to live and breathe algorithm changes which can amount to multiple different changes every day. In a recent Yahoo! Finance article, expert Malcom Graham noted that it’s no longer as simple as it used to be, when you could get to the top of Google just by “having a lot of links and the right keywords.” SEO is constantly evolving, therefore the experts who perform SEO services earn their reputation the “old-fashioned way” by demonstrating their knowledge and expertise, and by proven performance.
There are many common misconceptions about SEO, which is why the average person who’s not specifically involved in the industry and focused on the practice is likely to make many mistakes, and unlikely to get their company’s website onto the first page of Google or any other search engine results. Even as a layperson, however, you might want to know what some of those misconceptions are so that you can have at least a basic knowledge of how it works.
Ranking Among Google’s First Few Results is the No. 1 Priority
While few people are looking through page four results on Google, ranking among the first few listings isn’t necessarily the key as there are many other important factors to consider. What you want is to compel viewers to actually click on the search result and share your information directly, which means providing content that is specifically relevant to your audience. Being in the top three doesn’t guarantee more traffic or revenue, and it takes a lot of work to get there just to find out you aren’t getting the results you want. Never sacrifice what your audience needs just to rank higher.
Keywords Must Be Exact
While keywords are obviously important, you don’t have to concern yourself about using keyword phrases verbatim. Search engines are able to determine what someone’s search actually means. For example, say that your business has a high-ranking keyword phrase like “San Francisco tour free.” That’s not a phrase that anyone would probably say, so instead of using it exactly that way, making it sound completely inorganic, think about how your market might ask the question and change it a bit. For example, use “free tour in San Francisco” instead, creating quality content using keywords that are close enough to create a connection that’s natural.
Remember, a quality user experience is key, not simply squeezing in a keyword to generate traffic. Focus on what your audience really wants, and you’ll get the results you want.
Once Your Site is Search Engine Optimized, It Should Appear on Google Immediately
SEO is a long-term process that can deliver great results for your company, but there isn’t a “magic trick” to speed things up. When your website is first launched, you might immediately try searching for it on Google, only to discover that it isn’t anywhere. Before panicking, remember that it takes time for search engines to find new sites and web pages. Just like so many things, it requires patience and staying committed. Quality, long-term SEO strategies will decrease the chances of the competition overtaking your business, threats of outdated content, and dips in organic search traffic.