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Blog / 20.01.2017

Top 7 Stupidest Things Businesses Say About SEO

Marc Goodwin
SEO Strategist
/ 6 min read

After working in SEO for a good amount of years I can tell you one thing for absolute certain.

Most people don’t understand what I do.

Most brick and mortar businesses are very disconnected with the online component of their business. They know it is important - but they are, understandably, too busy to really take the time to understand it. This can be a problem for SEO.

Because SEO is not an immediately results driven service, when they pay for a website, they get a website. If they start an Adwords campaign they can see their ads at the top of Google the same day.

SEO takes time. And when something that people don’t really understand takes time to give results it is often the first thing to get the short end of the stick.

The reasons I am presented with a client’s reasons for not wanting to do SEO consistently betray a strong misunderstanding of what good SEO is. Below are a list of some of my most commonly encountered reasons businesses state for deciding against using SEO services on their website, and exactly why they don’t make any sense.

I don’t want to cheat Google - I want to get there on my own merits

This idea stems from the idea of SEO being some sort of dirty trick.

Most people don’t trust SEO and it's hard to blame them. There are plenty of snake-oil salesmen out there. If you own a website chances are you’ve been bombarded with endless, poorly-written template emails promising you organic traffic and rankings. On top of that is vaguely understood concept of being penalised by bad SEO.

The fact is though - if you end up on the front page of Google you’ve ‘done’ SEO whether you intended to or not. Creating quality content, establishing relationships with people who will link to that content, actively promoting your content across your social networks - all of this would be part of an in-depth and targeted SEO strategy.

The difference when you do this with the help of an SEO expert is that they will implement this strategy deliberately and with the best chance of getting results.

Beyond this, they will also be able to do many more things on your website from a technical point of view that will help Google’s algorithm detect important pieces of information and assign them the correct categories, but none of this is “cheating Google”. Google wants websites to mark up their websites in this way so it is easier to categories your website and put it in the most relevant set of results.

Leaving your title-tag set to “Home” is not being honourable, it is just being stupid.

I’ve been told you can just do it yourself

There are plenty of things you can just do yourself. It doesn’t mean you should.

Ever cringed at a local businesses TV spot? Or struggled to read a poorly printed menu?

While it will be true there are some things you are going to know about your business that an SEO expert can’t bring to the table, the vast majority of the SEO process from both a strategic and technical point of view, will need to be started from scratch.

That isn’t to say that you can’t put in the time and effort to produce genuine results, but it will take just that: time and effort. And you are better off putting that energy into what you do best, and pay a professional to get you better results in a fraction of the time.

I’ve already done SEO to my site.

If you’re already ranking on the front page for all the terms you want and you’re getting more online referrals than you know what to do with then: that's great - carry on. This article probably isn’t for you anyway.

But if you got someone to complete an SEO audit on your website some time last year and you’re waiting for it to kick in, you are waiting in vain. SEO isn’t a case of ticking all the boxes and then setting it to one side. Good SEO will involve a constantly evolving strategy that broadens your organic reach as your website gets stronger.

A site growing their rankings for “pot plants richmond” at the start of the year, could have grown to the point where they have their eyes set on “pot plants melbourne” by late September.

Even if you’re completely satisfied with your level of traffic, what could be working well for a website one month could be completely turned around by a Google Update the next. By treating your SEO as a set and forget component in your online strategy you risk becoming outdated and left behind.

I’ve started up Adwords and increased traffic by 100%!

This one seems to stem from unethical Adwords companies exploiting a business's lack of familiarity with online marketing.

I have seen monthly reports from agencies that take credit for boosts in traffic to a website after an Adwords campaign begins.

In case there is any confusion about why this is not ethical: more traffic is EXACTLY what you are paying Google for.

Literally anyone who can use a computer can set up Adwords, put some money in their account and start sending traffic to a website. What you should be looking for in an Adwords service is the quality of the campaign that is run, how effective the click per impression rate is and how regularly visitors turn in conversions. The traffic itself (in term of pure figures) should be taken for granted.

Because of this Adwords is not a substitute for SEO. They can be run in tandem to compliment each other but the work that goes into generating the traffic they provide is not equivalent.

We’ve done [insert SEO strategy] which is something Google really likes.

This one is a red flag because it parrots the sort of thing said by bad SEO providers that don’t really know what they are talking about.

“Google really likes it” is a phrase that can explain away any number of things, but you should really make an effort to understand any changes that you make to your website, or you quickly stray into pointless territory, or worse get yourself penalised.

Never make a change to your website just because a blog article you read tells you to if you feel like the change is pointless, or a misrepresentation of what you do. Google’s algorithm isn’t magical or arbitrary. Anything that is supposed to improve your website's performance was put in place by Google to try and deliver their end use better quality and more accurate results for their users.

I know it’s important, but I really don’t have the spare expense right now.

Short answer to this is: find the expenses.

If getting an online source of revenue for your business is in anyway important, then organic traffic is an integral part of making that happen. SEO is essential to you getting more traffic, not just a ‘nice-to-have’ service.

Because it is an intangible service, people find it very easy to put off investing in. But a top 5 spot in Google for a good keyword is worth a lot more to your business than the thousands of dollars you will pay for a full page magazine ad, as well as practically any other form of traditional marketing.

<h3">I got an email that promised guaranteed results at a quarter of the price I’m paying.

It’s a scam. Most people can spot this a mile off, but some get fooled. And what usually sways them is they offer a performance guarantee on their work.

The problem with performance guarantees when they are scaled to the level of these operations, is that failing to meet that guarantee more often than not is built into their business model.

It’s called rainmaking. They promise to make your rankings go up. They do this for 1,000 people that respond. They then run 1,000 minimal effort, black-hat focused cookie cutter campaigns. The ones that it fails for get their money back (with a bit of jumping through hoops to make it happen). For one in ten it actually works so they keep that money. And start over again.

So if you’ve been thinking along the line of any of the above, we strongly suggest giving us a call at 360South. We can offer you a strong insight on what a quality SEO campaign can offer your business.

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