Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process of making your website more attractive to search engines, like Google, so that when people are looking for something related to what you offer, your website appears at or near the top of their search results. It involves optimizing various aspects of your website — like content, keywords, and links — to improve its visibility and rank higher in search engine results. In Episodes 072, 073, and 074 we share a 3-part series called The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization — a comprehensive, step-by-step review of Search Engine Optimization in, on, and beyond your website. Today, though, I’m excited to share 10 misconceptions about Search Engine Optimization, which will help you to approach your SEO with greater purpose and confidence.

Misconceptions About Search Engine Optimization - Brand It Build It Podcast by Kelly Zugay of With Grace and Gold - 2

Misconceptions About Search Engine Optimization

Welcome to Episode 204 of The Brand It, Build It Podcast. I’m your host, Kelly Zugay. Whether you create your own web design, or hire a professional web designer, you’re likely thinking about Search Engine Optimization — how you can ensure your website can be easily discovered by prospective clients via search engines like Google. For many business owners, word of mouth, social media marketing, and referrals from past clients are common ways for your website to be visited… but when it comes to reaching new audiences and having your business exposed to a broader population of prospective clients, Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is key.

In my opinion, best of all, SEO is something you can implement and know is working on behalf of your business — even when you’re not working. It’s something going on behind-the-scenes that can help you grow your business and create longevity. So, even if business is booming today, I think of SEO as a safety net or tool that helps you to foster growth in the months and years to come.

For a comprehensive review of Search Engine Optimization, I recommend episodes 072, 073, and 074, our Small Business Owner’s Guide to SEO. Today, though, I’m excited to share 10 misconceptions about SEO, so you can ensure you’re approaching SEO with purpose and understanding SEO with confidence.

  1. My Search Results Tell Me My Ranking: Contrary to popular belief, Google searching for your business name isn’t the best way to determine your search engine ranking. Not only are our Google search results personalized and tailored to the websites we commonly visit, but ranking for your business name isn’t always the key. Instead, ranking for keywords related to your business like “wedding photographer in Seattle” is what equips you to connect with prospective clients seeking what your business has to offer. Connecting your website to Google Analytics and then Google Search Console will help you to see and understand where your visitors are coming from, how many visitors are viewing your website, and which keywords visitors search for in order to come upon your business.
  2. Keywords Are the Only Focus: While using keywords in your content is crucial, it’s a mistake to overuse keywords in your website’s content. Instead, quality content, user experience, and relevance matter. What does this mean? Having an engaging, user-friendly website that serves, guides, and educates your visitors is beneficial. When your website keeps visitors engaged — something we discuss in Episode 067: 5 Ways to Keep Visitors on Your Website — this communicates to search engines that your website is a reliable, trustworthy resource that should be recommended to others in search results.
  3. Quantity Over Quality Backlinks: Backlinks are links from other websites that lead to your website. Here, it’s quality over quantity; it’s most important that any backlinks that lead to your website come from reputable places — credible business directory websites, or credible fellow vendor websites.
  4. SEO is Only About Google: While Google is the most commonly used search engine, Bing and Yahoo are ranked #2 and #3. According to Hubspot, Yahoo Search has over 600 million total monthly users. Therefore, considering how your website ranks on other search engines can mean creating more opportunities for your business to be discovered.
  5. Local SEO Doesn’t Matter: For small businesses, local SEO is actually a game-changer. Ensure your business is accurately listed on Google My Business, and optimize your content for local keywords to attract nearby customers. For businesses that are location-bound or serve clients in a specific region, this can be extremely beneficial.
  6. My Web Design Doesn’t Matter: The truth is, Google loves and values websites that users love. Therefore, a positive user experience, including mobile responsiveness and fast loading times, is crucial for SEO.
  7. Duplicate Content Isn’t a Big Deal: Duplicate content can actually harm your SEO efforts. So, creating several pages with the same content in hopes of helping your SEO can actually harm your SEO. Ensure that each page on your website offers unique, valuable content to avoid being penalized by search engines.
  8. SEO Results Happen Overnight: Patience is key in the world of SEO. I like to think of it as a seed you plant and need to water consistently. Once your web design is complete, submit your Sitemap to Google via Google Search Console. Continue blogging consistently, marketing your business and website in various places, and bringing high-quality visitors to your website.
  9. Quantity Over Quantity Website Traffic: Although Google sees visits to your website as a sign of your website’s quality and dependability, it’s actually more important that your website brings in high-quality visitors — visitors who will stay on your website, remain engaged with your content, and even share your content. Taking a peek at your bounce rate — the number of visitors who leave after viewing a single page of your website — can be helpful. If your bounce rate is high, consider the ways your web design could change in order to create a more engaging experience for your visitors.
  10. Analytics Aren’t Important: If you’re not tracking your website’s performance through analytics, you’re unable to see which keywords you rank for or are competitive for — and therefore, you’re unable to know what adjustments should be made in order to improve your rankings. Regularly check your analytics to understand what’s working, what needs improvement, and how you can refine your SEO strategy.

Today, we discussed 10 misconceptions about Search Engine Optimization or SEO. Whether you create your own web design, or hire a professional web designer, I’m hopeful exploring today’s misconceptions will equip you to successfully approach your website and SEO with confidence.

Brand It, Build It Podcast, Hosted by Kelly Zugay

Hosted by Kelly Zugay, co-founder of With Grace and Gold, The Brand It, Build It Podcast is the best small business marketing podcast for small business owners, creatives, and founders. Weekly, brief, actionable episodes will equip you to build a successful, sustainable small business. Since 2014, With Grace and Gold has provided award-winning custom brand and Showit web design and completely customizable Showit website templates for small businesses worldwide.

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