8 myths about SEM and SEO for Small Business
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a wide-reaching phrase that refers to marketing your website on Google, Yahoo and other search engines through paid and organic results. It comprises of search engine optimisation – better known as SEO – and pay per click advertising techniques that work together to help your website reach the targeted audience. Increasingly, they sit around the online marketing table along with digital design: Website content is increasingly important to search engine optimisation, so much so that digital content marketing is fast becoming an independent marketing sector. Apps such as Canva are becoming popular for small business to make visual content for marketing messages. It also sits beside social media as a way of driving traffic to your website and we believe that SEO and Social Media are becoming increasingly entwined.
There are many benefits of an SEM program for your small business website, however most businesses fail to reach their full online marketing potential. The first thing businesses need to do is identify their goals, whether it be to drive traffic to the website and convert visitors to customers, to cross-sell to existing visitors, to get visitors to sign-up for marketing communications or many other targets. If you are managing your small business website yourself, it is important to understand some of the key tasks and avoid the pitfalls of confusing areas of search engine marketing. Here at Bristol Marketing, we want to dispell the following 8 myths about SEM and SEO:
Myth 1: Search engine optimisation is website optimisation
This is not the case. Whilst SEO is a vital part of search engine marketing, it concentrates on improving the website’s performance on search engine rankings. . Website optimisation includes loading time, maximising efficiency of the site, ensuring media files cache properly to speed up the site for visitors and create the best possible visitor experience
Myth 2: You can guarantee success
As with any marketing activity, there are no guarantees of success. Setting the bar low gives a better chance of achieving your goals, but only one site can be number one on Google for one specific search term at one time. Many sites will be competing for that spot. Any SEO company that offers a guarantee is lying and small businesses are getting wise to this.
Achieving top spot on Google or any search engine requires continuous, intensive SEO and probable supporting pay-per-click (PPC) activity to achieve success. In addition, even if your website gets a top rank on the SERPs through SEO or PPC, there is no guarantee that it will remain in that position forever. This is particularly evident now that Google has four separate algorithms that are regularly updated.
Myth 3: You can buy all the tools and do search engine marketing yourself
SEM requires a lot of manual work such as identifying the right set of keywords, optimising the content for these keywords, submitting the pages, analysing the ranking and updating the strategies. Whilst there is software to help people manage their own online marketing activity, there is no substitute for experience. You could have the same paints and brushes as Picasso but that doesn’t mean you can use them to create an equal level of masterpiece. It is always worth taking on an online marketing agency in a consultancy role that can train you to do the basics if you do not have the budget to take on a full agency contract.
Myth 4: You have to keep repeating the keywords
This is one of the most common black-hat technique used in search engine optimisation and PPC advertising. Google are constantly looking to adapt their search engine algorithm to remove sites from the top of search results that do this. There is an art to copywriting for web, it combines creating relevant, useful, informative content with supporting media. Including relevant links to sources of information or complementary articles on other websites can help too. Using too many links, repetitive links, repetitive words, duplicate content or stuffing the web pages with all the targeted keywords might work short term, but you are likely to be penalised by search engines after a short amount of time. Most importantly, you will be providing a poor website experience to visitors and they are unlikely to return.
Myth 5: Only Google matters
Google is the most widely used search engine across the world with over 90% of searches in many western countries. Yet countries like Australia have a large number of web users who use Yahoo and Bing search engines more than Google. In a rapidly changing online world, the second most used search engine is now YouTube, and third is Facebook. Thus, it is important to invest in search engine marketing services and when doing so, take into consideration the popularity of sites such as Youtube and Facebook. Whilst they fall into the social media category, paid search and achieving high positions on their own search engines cannot be ignored.
Myth 6: It’s all about getting to the top
The art of SEM is not only to perform well on search engines, (SEO) but to attract the right visitors to your site. If you’re a small Bristol based business looking to increase visitors to your shop, appearing to a predominantly American audience will be of no value. Before working on your SEO campaign, you should look at your SEM targets and plan to attract relevant visitors that you can convert to real paying customers.
Myth 7: Publish and wait
Search Engine Marketing is not a one-time process. As we have already mentioned, search engines in 2015 are looking to reward sites that are constantly updated with new informative articles (blogs), creative content (video, visual and audio) and interaction from visitors through social shares and comments. The search marketers need to continuously work on optimising the website on the search engines to get long-term benefits and maintain a regular following of visitors that the search engines take into account.
Myth 8: All SEM services are alike
No two businesses will ever have the same strategies, and that goes for online marketing as well. Every business has it’s own strengths and weaknesses, and whilst many small businesses in the same sector will employ similar strategies and tactics, they will still need to be uniquely adapted to have the best chance of success. A specialist SEM or online marketing agency will be able to help you determine the best search engine marketing strategy for your business. It is often worth putting a plan in place before approaching an SEO specialist to enact the plan. The best plans come with the best understanding of your situation. Finding a partner agency that knows your market, audience and most importantly, understands your business and how to bring out the best from the skills available will give you the best chance of success from your online marketing, search engine marketing and search engine optimisation.