Debunking SEO Myths, Part One

I’ve been reading a lot of blog posts lately about SEO myths and misconceptions which have inspired me to write about a couple of them that I hear most often. I’ll be covering these in a series of blog posts.

The first myth I’ll cover relates to content, which has been a big topic of conversation lately.

Myth 1. Great content is equal to great rankings.
In a recent post, I explained how to write quality content that is both user friendly and optimized for search engines, extolling that, in the future, quality content is necessary in the new age of Google quality guidelines.

This is true, but it’s also important to realize that great content does not necessarily rank simply because it’s great content. It must be promoted and distributed among potential linking partners and pushed through the social media networks in order to give it a fighting chance.  While your content may deserve to be ranked, if no one knows about it, or your site architecture prevents search robots from properly crawling it, then it won’t rank in the search engines.

Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz.org wrote a great article on this topic and why the ‘build it and they will come’ ideology is not enough to succeed in the search engine wars. You need great, quality content as well as inbound marketing techniques in order to gain top search rankings.

For the second myth, let me change gears and suggest a topic I hear a lot about from the small business side of our clients as well as enterprise clients.

Myth 2. SEO can be done cheaply.
This myth revolves around the value of SEO and what people are willing to pay for it. The question is often asked by  businesses: “Can SEO be done for our website on a small to non-existent budget?” Similarly, large enterprise companies can balk at a $10,000/month for SEO over several years.

My answer to those who think SEO can be done cheaply is this: it takes real money to displace real money. And therefore, SEO cannot be done cheaply, especially if you are in a competitive market.

Websites that are in the top 10 or top 5 for a competitive keyword didn’t get there by accident. For instance, your competitor may have been spending $5,000/month on SEO for the past three years in order to gain a top ranking for a  competitive term. That’s $180,000! If you think you can spend less than that and get higher rankings than them, you need to reassess your reasoning.

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