By: Jacob Robinson
Every day articles are written about search engine optimization (SEO). They consist of a litany of topics for both beginners and the experienced. If you combine these articles with the multitude of calls business owners receive from salespeople selling SEO, it’s not hard to believe one can become confused about what exactly SEO is and does.
What Is SEO?
Simply put, SEO is different processes that are implemented around a website in order to positively affect that website’s organic search rankings. SEO can vary from company to company and strategist to strategist. Check out this video for more information.
3 Common SEO Misconceptions!
- PPC and SEO are the same thing
- SEO is instantaneous
- More websites = Better SEO
#1 PPC & SEO Are the Same Thing
Business owners are barraged by a flurry of phone calls every day. Many times on the other end of the line sits a salesperson, telling you that they can get you on page one of Google in a week. They may even say that they will do this through SEO.
They may be able to get you on page 1, but they are probably referring to pay-per-click advertising (PPC), not SEO.
What Is PPC (Pay-Per-Click)?
PPC is a form of online advertising. In a PPC campaign, an ad for your business in shown in the search engine results page (SERP). With Pay-Per-Click, every time someone clicks on your ad you pay money (even if they don’t become a customer).
Depending on who you are targeting, a single click can cost as much as $40! So, although starting a PPC campaign is immediate, it is costly, and it may not convert clickers to customers. And you pay more for more prominent display. For example, page one, spot one is more expensive than page one, spot five – and click-through-rates correspond.
The Downsides of PPC:
- They can become very expensive
- They may not convert visitors into customers
- Once you run out of money, your ads go away
- Most searchers have become blind to ads and will not click them
- Click Through Rates (CTR) are generally low (single digits)
How Does SEO Differ From PPC?
SEO is the opposite. With PPC, you pay to be on page one, as an ad. On the other hand, SEO, in the traditional sense, focuses on growing organic search rankings so that your website shows up on page one for specific key terms, without paying for an ad. SEO is a long term strategy that has exponentially greater ROI than PPC.
#2 SEO Provides Instant Results
This misconception goes hand in hand with confusing SEO and PPC. Like we discussed above, Pay-Per-Click advertising will immediately display an ad wherever you’ve paid to have it displayed.
On the other hand, SEO takes time. SEO is a process, not a product. Think of SEO as pizza recipe. Each chef has his own unique ingredients, but all chefs use the same base of flour and water. SEO is very much the same. There are basic known processes that must take place in order to have a successful campaign, but each person may have his or her own take on specific intricacies. Let’s call it their own “special sauce”. These processes take time.
Another reason SEO takes time is a direct result of how search engines work. Not only does it take time for a search engine to understand exactly what your website does, but it has to be given a reason to rank you above your competition. SEO helps give search engines those reasons by helping them understand your website better.
If you have a new website, it can take a search engine 2-4 weeks to even recognize it’s there and begin the indexing process. Indexing your website is not the same as earning high rankings. After the indexing process, proper SEO will allow your website to climb in search rankings.
Imagine you just moved to Evansville, IN and you ask one of your friends where the best pizza parlor is located. Most likely he will tell you to go to the place he’s been going to for many years, over the pizza parlor that just opened. Search engines do something similar in that domain age and authority play a big role in your website’s visibility. As time goes on, with proper SEO, as your authority grows, rankings will grow.
Related to SEO: Long Tail Keywords are Key to Customer Conversion
#3 It Is Beneficial to Have More Than One Website
No, it’s not. Long gone are the days that having multiple websites would bring any value to your business. There are three important reasons you do not want more than one website for your business.
- Duplicate Content = Lower Rankings: Having duplicate content on the internet spells bad news for any business. Duplicate content will lead to lower search rankings.
- Bad User Experience: Imagine you are a customer looking for a heating and air company. After you google “hvac repair” and start looking through the results, you see that there are different websites using the same company’s name. This creates hesitation and mistrust, as the consumer is not sure who is who and who they are working with. You may lose that customer.
- You Directly Compete with Yourself: If you have more than one website ranking, you are essentially competing with yourself for search visibility.
Unequivocally, having more than one website is not a good an idea if you want to grow your web presence. It is detrimental to success and alienates search engines and your customers.
The only scenario where it makes sense to have more than one website is if you operate two completely different business entities and the content on each of the websites, and the company name and contact information is different from each other. It doesn’t serve your purpose to muddy the waters with more than one website that says the same thing as another website.
SEO Is Key to Your Business’s Success
As you seek to optimize your web presence it is critical to understand SEO and how it works. It is not the same as paying for an ad (pay-per-click) to show up in search results. It is not instantaneous (though it will pay dividends long term), and having more than one website is not beneficial. All that being said, there are over 200 factors that search engines take into account when ranking your site and these are just a few common misconceptions out there.
Understanding these misconceptions will allow you to make a better, more informed decision on how to grow your web presence.
Do you have more questions about SEO or your business’s web presence? A Townsquare Interactive marketing consultant is waiting to lend a hand. We can answer your questions in a quick, zero obligation consultation.