Once upon a time, marketers could manipulate search engine rankings by trading links, working with sketchy off-shore agencies, and writing nonsensical content with strategically placed keywords and a whole host of other tricks. Blackhat tricks were the norm, and they were also profitable.
Those days are over and done.
Search engines like Google have one job – to provide high quality answers to peoples’ research questions. In pursuit of this goal, Google released Panda, an aggressive algorithm update, in February 2011. Over the last year, Google has deployed more and more major search engine changes, targeting web spam more aggressively again with Penguin in April 2012.
One fact is certain: marketers should stop chasing the algorithm and instead, focus on ranking the right way with a solid marketing strategy that includes content marketing.
Search engine optimization is far from dead. It’s still necessary for building a strong marketing strategy. You just need to know what’s true and what isn’t. Here are some of the most common tall tales debunked.
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1. Automated search engine optimization is a good solution
Once upon a time, SEO strategists improved website rankings through automated link-building. They’d build spammy directories, link farms and link-wheels and would blast links to their client’s websites out to these venues.
Marketers quickly realized that improving their search rankings was as simple as building backlinks from websites with high PageRank. So, they put more money into their SEO budgets and interweaved themselves further into these questionable outlets.
Needless to say, this seo strategy is no longer effective, or a good idea. In fact, many websites that previously ranked well have drastically fallen in rank. Google now views these type of links as “unnatural,” and their algorithm is sophisticated enough to identify and punish this formulaic approach.
2. Link-building isn’t important anymore
Don’t be fooled by Google’s change. “Natural” links are still very important. High-authority backlinks tell Google that a website is a valuable resource. Website owners need to continue their link-building activities, but through more relevant directories, guest blogging, PR, and social media. These strategies will yield results with higher quality links.
Marketers should view link-building as part of a holistic marketing strategy. To search engines links are a proxy for measuring a website’s reputation and authority. Marketers should gear their marketing strategies toward building their company’s reputation and authority and links become just a part of the bigger-picture formula.
3. SEO is only about content and backlinks
Some people follow the myth that SEO is purely about content marketing, keyword optimized writing, and building links. It isn’t. In actuality, the field is also technically driven with needs to monitor code compliance, page load times, and crawl errors.
SEO marketers need to join forces with web developers to keep websites search engine friendly. Audits on high priority pages should be the norm. For larger websites, developers will be essential for identifying problems and providing efficient solutions to maintain and further a website’s SEO status.
4. SEO is a one and done process
For SEO campaigns to be successful, they need to be ongoing initiatives. You can’t just build a site and let it lead a sedentary existence. Google will think that the site is outdated or abandoned, which is the case for most sites on the Internet.
In Google’s eyes, websites are more credible when are actively updated and interacted with. Fresh blog posts (both on and off your site), press releases, relevant directory submissions and social media posts need to be part of your ongoing SEO plan.
The old days of SEO are over, but that is a good thing. With the focus on quality content and links you have an awesome opportunity to improve your website’s rankings and get found by your target market.
Learn how SEO can be incorporated into a complete marketing system: