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I recently got into a very heated discussion with someone about the value of SEO. This is a discussion I’m sure many SEO’s have had a thousand times with people who a) don’t understand it and b) cannot back up their arguments with examples. Here I am going to cover a few myths believed by people that don’t understand SEO and yet will argue that it has no value. So if you are happy to listen to me whilst I stand on my soap box and get a bit riled up, then here we go.......
Myth 1 – We build links wherever we can get them
This is an easy one – a bad SEO will do this for you. A good SEO will find links from pages which are relevant and of a high quality. You pay a good SEO who knows what they are doing in order to find these links. These links are not ‘spammy’ – you are putting a link on someone else’s website which has users that may also find your website useful. Yes it has ranking value when you get these links but it’s also useful to people so there is no harm done in doing this.
Myth 2 - Google doesn’t like people SEOing websites
Really?! Matt Cutts from Google doesn’t seem to think so... lets watch him for three minutes...
Myth 3 – Google will do SEO for itself soon enough
Google is an algorithm. It does try to guess at what your site is about already, but it doesn’t always get the signals it requires to determine what your website is about. Let’s take for instance e-commerce sites. It’s common that say a page on ‘shoes’ has lots of pictures of shoes that you can buy but nowhere on the page does it mention the word ‘shoes’ and nowhere in the title tag (your heaviest weighted ranking factor) does it mention the word ‘shoes’. Google needs text to help it understand what the page is about and unfortunately the algorithm has not stretched into mind reading yet. I’m sure Google would love to SEO everything for itself but a lot of people don’t give it the content juice it needs in order for it to understand. SEO’s do understand what juice Google needs to understand.
Also it must be noted that there is a lot of different ways to build websites but it doesn’t mean that it will be built with Google-bot in mind. If your web developer builds your website with a non crawlable navigation Google isn’t even going to get past the home page to even begin to index your pages. So here we see that if you don’t have someone to give advice who understands Google-bot then there is a chance your site might not even get indexed properly. How is Goole going to SEO your website on its own if it can’t even get to the pages?
Myth 4 – Web developers make websites – shouldn’t they be doing the SEO?
A web developer will happily build you a site and yes, they could even build it in a way that has SEO in mind. However SEO is ongoing and includes scouting for relevant and decent links back to your site, managing crawler errors that Google webmaster tools flags up (remember we talked about pages not getting indexed?), keyword research for existing pages and to research into new pages which could be made to catch more traffic, writing optimised content, traffic reporting, ranking position reporting... the list goes on. It’s very time consuming and a web developer is a web developer because he/she develops sites... not spending vast amounts of time doing the hard graft to optimise them. The two job roles are separate.
Myth 5 – SEO makes websites look spammy
If you buy cheap you buy twice I think they say.... a cheap SEO will write you some fairly keyword heavy nonsensical content. A good SEO will write good, informative content which includes keywords naturally.
The Matt Cutts video explains it all really. SEO’s simply help Google understand your website better so that Google can present searchers with high quality information they are looking for. It’s a win win situation.
Thanks for listening, I feel better now!