Of all the aspects of digital marketing, one of the most important ones always seems to be enshrouded in mystery. I talking about SEO. SEO is the one aspect of digital media whose parameters are almost constanty changing. For SEO to work for you, you simply need to stay up on changes.Because of the rapidity of changes, resources on the web that were published a couple of years ago may be no longer valid. They may have been valid at one time – just not anymore. This outdated information has caused a general mythical understanding of professional services website SEO.
Are you tired of the myths? Let’s do some debunking:
SEO Myth #1: SEO Is an Expense, not a Marketing Investment
Many professional services companies treat SEO like the electric bill. Of course, if your SEO tactics haven’t changed in a few years, it would be like the electric bill.
Here are some truths about SEO:
- Optimizing your website can offer more value than a PPC advertising campaign because organic search results are 8.5x more likely to be clicked on than paid search results.
- You know the money you paid for your website, or the content writer you’re now paying? SEO will get that content found.
- Tactics have changed. SEO today is more about helping people to find your content rather than helping the search engines to find it.
- Outdated SEO tactics will kill your website marketing. We believe that non-responsive websites still using outdated “black hat” SEO tactics will render those websites completely invalid in a year or two – at most.
- SEO accounts for the biggest differential between having a website that produces positive ROI and one that is simply a drain on expenses or, worse, helping to destroy your branding.
SEO Myth #2: SEO Has Little to Do With Conversions
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Getting conversions from your website should be the only reason you should invest in SEO consulting. SEO builds traffic. Traffic equals leads.
The SEO conversion path:
- Optimize all pages on your website using current, SEO best practices.
- Place a call-to-action (CTA) on your pages. As traffic builds (from your SEO), visitors will click on your CTAs.
- The CTAs lead to landing pages containing some relevant reason for a visitor to engage your company (giving away a free offer, trial, inspection, etc.).
- The landing page contains a form for the visitor to fill out before obtaining your content offer.
- Once the visitor fills out the form, he or she has converted on your site, and you have a lead.
SEO Myth #3: SEO Has Nothing to Do With Branding
Do you want your potential customers to become more aware of your brand? The key to professional services website SEO and brand awareness is guess what: keywords.
How does this work in the real world? For example: You’re trying to promote some narrow niche. It doesn’t make any difference whether it’s a product of service – you just want to promote it. You can’t simply start plastering your web content with keywords related to your brand. Why not? Because, chances are, people won't be aware of your brand, or your keyword.
To fix: You’ll need to find out what people are searching for, aka their pain points, to find your niche brand. That’s where SEO comes in. It translates your goals for brand awareness into what real people are searching for. Smart Bug Media has an easy to digest article on how to do this.
SEO Myth #4: SEO Just Doesn’t Work – I’ve Tried It
A lot of people have a website built on the WordPress CMS platform. We like WordPress. One of the niceties of using WordPress are the multitude of plugins available. Many are free. (Many are not so great but, nevertheless, they’re still free.)
The prevailing SEO myth among the WordPress crowd is if you install one of the popular WordPress SEO plugins, you’re done with SEO. Nope. The truth is, you’ve just started. All the plugin will do is guide you on a good path. That’s all.
Good SEO involves, at a bare minimum:
- A great user experience, good content structure, titles, meta tags, H1 tags, white space, and all the other techie stuff.
- Metrics. To know how your SEO tactics are working, you’ll need to track a lot if data from your website.
SEO Myth #5: SEO Is Just Too Expensive
Hiring a good SEO consulting agency to paw through your entire website, fix things, and develop an on-going professional services website SEO strategy for you can be expensive.
Let’s debunk this myth: One good, optimized blog will have a life-cycle of many years. What is the ROI of a blog post that receives hundreds if not thousands of visits? How many conversions could you get from just that one article?
Investing in a website and content with good SEO very well could be your #1 best business investment.
SEO Myth #6: Forget SEO, PPC Is Way Better
There are two reasons you could entertain this myth:
- You want a very quick return and you’re willing to spend a lot of money to get there.
- You totally believe what your PPC marketing agency is telling you.
What’s the difference between PPC and SEO?
- SEO is organic. Because you’ve posted great content, because it contains relevant keywords, and is otherwise optimized, search engines have ranked your post at the top. This means that when people perform a search, they find your content just beneath the paid (PPC) advertised results (with the "ad" notation).
- PPC simply is a way to buy ranking. Sort of. Yes, Google Adwords will produce traffic, but at what cost?
PPC will produce ranking faster because you pay. Whereas it may take three months or more, to get one mildly competitive keyword to rank well through organic search. But once the article containing that keyword is ranked, it produces and keeps on producing traffic.
Myth # 7: SEO Is About Tricking Search Engines
Nope. That’s an outdated “black hat” trick. SEO is about getting people to find you. The search engines won’t buy from you; the people will.
The ability to assess user intent is probably the most highly valued SEO skill. Why? Because if you can predict how your potential customers will search for your products or services, it’s easier to use the right keywords so they can actually find you.
Key take-a-ways from this article:
- SEO is one of the best investments you can make.
- The only reason you should want to invest in SEO, or even have a website in the first place, is to get leads and, eventually, customers.
- While yielding a slower initial return, optimizing your web content will yield very high ROI down the road compared with PPC advertising.