One of the most important questions many online marketers have, or business owners looking to increase their online marketing efforts, is whether or not they need to invest in SEO services to promote their website.
While this seems like a pretty straightforward answer, the reality is that it can be difficult to get a full glimpse of where, when, and why you would want to invest in SEO, since most people that talk about it have very strong, often stark opinions on the matter.
In this post I hope to shed some light on what it is and why it will or won’t work for you business.
What Is SEO?
Firstly, it’s important to understand what, exactly, SEO is. Many people new to internet marketing (and even some who have been around for years) don’t have a good grasp of what it means to “do SEO,” and they’ll often equate it with a small subset of the task, such as “build backlinks,” or “optimize” their website.
These are techniques, but they don’t get at the heart of the matter. One of my favorite explanations of what SEO is came from Kyle Greenfield, from http://richmondseo.org. He writes that SEO is really about making sure that Google:
- Understands your website, and
- Trusts your website.
Ultimately, this comes down to making sure your website is relevant to the terms you want to rank for and can be read properly by all of the search algorithms. That’s what we generally call “onsite optimization.” “Offsite” work is all about building trust and authority, so that Google and the other guys come to believe in what you’re doing, and understand that you’re a good result to show to users.
Bluehost also has a great video explanation of what, exactly, search engine optimization is:
Misconceptions About SEO
Now that we have a good understanding of the basics behind what SEO actually is, you need to understand a few common misconceptions about the industry, before you can decide if investing in an SEO strategy is right for you.
SEO, like it or not, is neither the golden egg of online marketing nor the blackhat devil so many make it out to be.
It’s not right for everyone, and it’s not supposed to be the single be all and end all of your marketing strategy, but for many businesses it should form a part of that strategy.
In general, SEO gets its bad name because there are always people who are trying to spam the system to get their websites ranked. This leads to the constant battle between Google and the website owners, and ultimately these websites are penalized and disappear with the next round of algorithm updates.
Done correctly, however, SEO follows the guidelines set by the search engine companies, and can be a long lasting tool you use to make sure you keep increasing your authority and presence online.
It often fits in to your other content marketing strategies, and when used there, can be a great investment for increasing the organic traffic that comes to your website, and ultimately drives you new customers for your business.