There are so many SEO myths out there. It doesn't help that search engines are constantly changing their SEO recipe. We're going to shed some light on some common myths and help you understand if there is any truth behind them.
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Glyna: Good morning, how are you?
Rob: Good, yourself?
Glyna: I am doing great. Doing great. All right we are kind of shaking it up today. Sarah is on a well-deserved few days off. So, Rob and I are going to take the reins today and see what we can do with it. All right, so let's go ahead and get started. Have you ever heard any of these phrases?
Rob: Don't go outside with your hair wet when it's cold.
Glyna: Wonder why? What will that cause you to do?
Rob: I guess it's going to freeze. I don't know.
Glyna: All right. What about you always tell kids or people not to swallow their gum because it's going to take seven years to digest that gum?
Rob: Yep. Or the one that our parents always told us was, you can't go swimming if you've eaten for 30 minutes after you've eaten.
Glyna: I still think that must be true somewhat because it sticks in my mind. I'm not even sure. It's like, you can get cramps, you may drown, I don't know. What do all of these have in common? These are actual myths that people have talked about for years and years and years and today we are going to talk about another area that has more myths than truth most of the time. That's something that Rob and I do all the time for businesses and it's called SEO. Search Engine Optimization. So, we're going to separate fact from fiction and get you the real 411 on how SEO works. Sound good?
Glyna: All right, I love that intro song. Already dancing this early in the morning. I saw you dancing over there. Just because the camera was off of you. I'm kidding. All right, so welcome to Marketing Mix everybody, each week we are going to talk about different segments of digital marketing. We like to mix it up, maybe do some Q&A's, talk about some trends and today we're going to do debunking. I like that word.
Rob: You stole my word.
Glyna: What, debunking?
Glyna: Well, there's a lot of debunking in SEO for sure. So before we get started, I'm going to go ahead and show you where you can find all of our broadcasts real quick. All right, make sure you subscribe where our YouTube channel is, but you can find us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and as I mentioned, YouTube, Twitter, and don't forget about our podcast Marketing and a Mic. All right, Rob, I know you're dying to get started on this.
Rob: Oh yes. So, digital marketing of course is a huge piece of any businesses out there of their overall marketing plan, and just like everything else, SEO has been around for a while and everybody claims they're experts in this and half of them are not telling you the real information that makes you rank and not rank. So, today what we want to do is we want to debunk, since you stole my word, debunk the five top myths that we think that are out there in SEO.
Glyna: Yes, and as you say, there's always people, Rob's favorite saying is, "Every kid down in their parents' basement with a computer thinks they can do SEO." I want people to know that we were doing SEO before SEO was cool, right? We started when SEO started. Now that can either tell how old we are, or how long we've been doing this. But we've been at it since the beginning.
Rob: We've been doing SEO so long, we started it when most people couldn't spell it.
Glyna: That's exactly right. All right, let's get started here. All right, so myth number one, and we love this one. One of our favorites: Results Are Instant. Let me tell you, results are not instant. The cool thing about SEO is that it's like, you got to think about it as kind of like building up equity in your business. It takes time. It's a little bit slow, but what you're going to get in the end is going to be awesome and going to be kind of like a profit center for you. However, if you've ever looked for SEO for your business, there are still those people out there that are going to be calling you all day long telling you that they can get you on page one, the first spot for, I don't know, what's always the...
Glyna: Yeah. It's always $99. I don't know why that is, but $99 and this is really one of the most dangerous myths and why SEO companies sometimes get a bad rap, because there's people out there doing this all day long. I mean, we've seen it. We've worked with companies that were working with a previous SEO company. They're paying them month, after month, after month, after month, getting nothing. When they'd promised them this first place, and not saying that it can't be done, but usually those companies are kind of fly by night. They may be using what we call Black Hat, which means it's totally bends all the rules that the search engines want you to follow, and it can cause a lot of damage to your business once they find out, because you get blackballed on the search engines and you're in big trouble, it's really hard to recoup anything if that happens.
Rob: Well, the one thing I was going to say too, is how can you trust anybody that comes in and wants to give you a guarantee when they haven't even looked at your business? They haven't even looked at what your website's like. They haven't looked at what you've done in your directories or on your social media. So, it'd be the same thing as another service company walking in the door and saying, "I can guarantee you this," if they haven't even analyzed my situation yet. You have to be aware of that. Most of those emails come in here, and if you ever notice, it says 'first name', they don't even have your name. Have somebody take a look at it. You wouldn't just walk in and hand your car over to a mechanic and say, "Here, you're going to fix my car for $99." You'd want somebody at least to look at it before they gave you a quote and digital marketing is no different than that.
Glyna: Exactly right. And I tell people, "Run. Quickly. If someone is promising you that." Because it does take time, and like Rob said, you have to do some investigation and a little bit of research to even know what you're up against. We don't even know how to come up with a plan until we really look at all of those things. Again, it's not instant and don't let somebody promise you that. All right, let's move to number two. Myth number two: Ranking Number One Should Be Your Number One Goal. You know what? Yeah, we're laughing because we deal with this every day. When we first started SEO years and years and years ago, it was easy. We could rank somebody, it seemed like, in 20 minutes, something like that. But after doing this for 10 years, there's so much more competition, and there's so much more that the search engines are wanting these days besides you just ranking number one. They are wanting you to make it a user experience. There's a lot more things that factor in to people finding you than just ranking number one. And if you're sitting there driving all over town, you always talk about this, have your phone out, Googling yourself, "I'm not number one over here. I'm not number one over here." You're going to drive yourself and us crazy.
Rob: Well, being number five years ago was totally different than being number one today. Five years ago, people weren't getting reviews. Everybody had two reviews. Today, if I'm number one and I have 100 one-star reviews, and I'm number two, and I've got 20 five star reviews, guess who that customer is going to call? They're not going to call the guy in the number one spot, they're going to call the person with the reviews that actually has it. Like I've always said, and I keep harping on this, is there's two pieces of digital marketing SEO. One is the ranking piece, the technical piece of how I get you seen by your clients or your customers and number two is the customer experience. So, if I go to the person in number two and they have all their information filled out, their hours filled out, all that kind of stuff, I'm going to call them versus call somebody that doesn't have a listing that's totally completed, or has bad reviews.
Glyna: Yep. We talk about first impressions all the time. Just like you only get one chance to make a first impression, and users right now are looking for that first impression. Again, you only get one chance to make it. They're not just looking at that first spot, as you said. They're going to look at your reviews, obviously. If you have bad ones, you're already tanking yourself right there, but they also go snoop around. Right now, there's so much information available at people's fingertips. They want to go check out your social media. They want to check out your website. If they go to your website and you've got nothing on it, again that's that first impression. So, being number one can be a good thing, and it can be a bad thing if you don't have your stuff together.
Rob: I go your social media page and you haven't posted since 2018, that just tells me you don't have that attention to detail. So, why would I call you to give me attention to what I was trying to do?
That's exactly right. People just don't realize what they're putting out there into the world. All right, so we talked about that one as far as ranking number one. All right, let's see what we have here for myth number three: You Only Need to Do SEO Once. Yeah, I love this. This is a biggie. When I talk to people about doing SEO, they're like "That's per month?" It's like, "Yeah, that's per month." It's not a one and done, for sure. So, this is a huge SEO myth. If people tell you that, then again, go somewhere else. You can't just optimize your website once and you can't just start doing your SEO once and why is that Rob?
Rob: Well, I mean, I call it the, "The Spot in the Carpet theory". If you've got a wrong phone number or an address change or anything like that, it's like cleaning that carpet and then waiting a month later and all of a sudden the spot's back. The same thing will happen with your digital marketing. Plus, you should be updating your website, you should be updating your directories with new photos and stuff like that. That's what people want to see out there and that's what the search engines want to see, is the you're active, that you haven't done this five years ago and you haven't come back and done anything with it since.
Glyna: Well yeah, and the fact that a lot of those directories, and we've run into this before, even though we're on it every day, every month, they'll drop you off. So, you get out there on all the directories and the search engines, and if you don't revisit them and keep refreshing that information, they think it's old and they will just drop you. And you don't even know it. I mean, we put people in what, over 300 different directories and every search engine there is, and we have to go revisit those places to make sure they're still there.
Rob: So yeah, a lot of those directories self-clean themselves of old information, will actually drop you out every year. So, every 12 months you're no longer in their directory. The other thing is, you have a couple of aggregators out there and what aggregators are, where you keep your information and other directories come to them to get information for their directories. And again, if you don't keep those active and ongoing, then they remove you. Then these other directories don't have anywhere to go get your information.
Glyna: Yeah. So it's ongoing. It's ongoing. Plus the fact that SEO changes, Rob and his team really stay on top of the new things for SEO, because it is constantly changing. So, if you're not going back and applying the new stuff along with the tried and true, again, you're going to be losing out, right?
Rob: Yep. So I mean, we get emails every single day of, "This is changing." Or, "This ranking's changing." We track 18,000 keywords and we have one that tells us that the SEO is sunny or it's stormy, or we have others that give us numbers. There's a ton of people out there that are tracking changes, but it happens every single day. If you're not on top of it, you're just going to be drowning trying to keep up with it.
Glyna: Yeah. Google alone, last year how many changes did they have to their algorithm? Just Google.
Rob: They had more changes than there were days in a year. So, sometimes they changed it twice in the same day.
Glyna: Just to be really fun.
Rob: Yeah, just to keep you on your toes.
Glyna: So, there you go. You can't just do SEO once. I ran into a real life, you're talking about cleanup, besides the SEO part, you've got to keep the cleanup and make sure everything's the same on all the directories and search engines. I ran into a company that wanted to optimize their location, but they also had doctors that had come from other places. So, they had so much mixed up information all over the search engines. It was a mess and it was going to take a ton of cleanup and they had tried it themselves. It's kind of the moral of the story, they tried it themselves for a few months, kept going back in, changing all their stuff, and it just kept coming back. Just like you said, that spot on the carpet that you could never get cleaned up. It just kept coming back and they're like, "We don't know what to do." It's because you can't stop it after just once or twice. So anyway, that's our specialty. It's not the most fun thing trying to get out there and clean up all that mess, but it can be done. Alrighty, let's see. Number four, keywords, keywords, keywords. Myth number 4: You Only Need to Target Keywords. People think keywords is a keyword. That is a buzz word, isn't it? Keywords. Well, SEO is not just about keyword targeting. If it was that simple, it would be pretty cool. You have to think about your content. There's so much coming in to keywords. You have to optimize for your keywords. You have to write your content for your keywords, but at the same time you have to deliver what we've talked about a few times already, a user experience that doesn't look weird.
Rob: Yep. I mean, I say this all the time. Google is getting smarter and smarter, all the search engines are getting smarter and smarter. I mean, keywords is one of the first steps that you need to do. But if I'm writing about kitchen remodeling, then Google is going to expect me to be talking about kitchen cabinets, countertops, new appliances, new flooring. Those are all things that go with that keyword of "kitchen remodeling". So, I always tell people, "Just write naturally, if you remodel kitchens, those keywords and those other supportive keywords will just come natural. So, don't try to overstuff it by saying "I do kitchen remodeling in Vestavia, Birmingham, Homewood, Hoover." I mean, plus again, that goes right back to the customer experiences. That doesn't look good and no one wants to read that crap.
Glyna: Yep, exactly. I always love when we go to a website, exactly what you said, and their whole thing that they've written up is, "We do heating and air in Chelsea. We do heating and air in Vestavia. We do heating and air..." That's all it is, is listing all the little towns and stuff. That's old school, that's old stuff. I mean, it used to work, right?
Rob: Yep. That's SEO in the basement. My summer project was I did SEO for a heating and air company.
Glyna: Oh my gosh. We've seen all kinds of things though, haven't we? We’re talking about myths and things that we've seen throughout the years. Some of the stuff when SEO, okay we're going to date ourselves, while we might not if nobody knows about this stuff. But when SEO, when we first started doing SEO for companies, it was a big deal to put as many keywords on your website as possible. They called it "keyword stuffing". Now it was one thing to write the keywords in your content, but people got creative. Remember this? They would make white websites, in other words, all the background would be white and they would come in and code the keywords in that white space and make the words white. So you couldn't see them, but the search engines could see them and we would come in and look at that code and go, "Oh my gosh, this is so ridiculous." And when Google found that stuff out, they started taking down websites, and it was a mess. But anyway, we still find people doing that today.
Rob: Or sites that were done five years ago, they haven't updated their website and they didn't even know that the former company did that.
Glyna: Yes, yes.
Rob: And what people don't understand is Google is actually penalizing those websites today.
Glyna: Oh, well, yeah. I mean, again, you guys there's rules. There's all this stuff. Keywords, like Rob said, it's changed. It's completely changed. Anyway, your user experience has to be up there these days. We're in a feel-good world right now. You have to make people feel good about what you're doing. Or I think you're shooting yourself in the foot. I was trying to think of some other examples. We've had other examples of stuff people have done, but right now I can't think. All right, so let's go to... and this one is yours, so let's save it for you. Myth number five: Your Mobile Site Doesn't Impact SEO.
Rob: This is my pet peeve. Where people continue to say that mobile websites don't impact SEO. I mean, how about this, Google search console actually will tell you what day that they started tracking your site and ranking it based on the mobile version. It's right at the bottom. You log in, it tells you, "Hey, August 18th of 2020, this was the day we started ranking you for mobile." So, when Google is actually telling you the day they started ranking you, why would anybody out there keep telling you that your mobile website doesn't matter? I mean, it even tells you, it will give you an email and said, "Hey, this user experience for mobile doesn't meet our standards, and your fonts on the homepage are too small. Your buttons are too close together." So they're giving you feedback on this stuff and they even say, "This stuff needs to be fixed within the next 30 days." So yeah, your mobile website, everything's mobile since 2020, they're saying now over 65% of all visits to websites are mobile.
Glyna: What's the Google Console, for people who don't know what that is? That's a really good tip that they can go look at.
Rob: So, just like any of the other Google tools that are out there, this is something that you can actually put out there. It's just strictly for your website, and for the most part is it's like going to somebody and saying, "Hey, would you give me your opinion on my website? Here's all my pages, take a look at my website, let me know how it goes." Then they'll report back any errors that they had while they were trying to crawl it. They will give you feedback on your design, they'll give you feedback on, "Hey, this is loading way too slow for a mobile version." There's a ton of stuff. I mean, that's another whole series if you want to get on that. But no, it is, you're asking Google for their opinion of your website.
Glyna: Yeah. Again, I'm sure everybody has done this, you've gone with your phone, you're looking something up and you've got to, if you have to go to that website and move it around and make it bigger and all that. Even being able to use the website, that is not mobile friendly and that's something that's going to impact. So that's a huge thing and even now when we create websites, we always have started with the desktop version and then the mobile follows. We're looking more now at mobile when we do our designs. Because that's the first thing people do. When we say, "Okay, hey, your website's up." They go look at the mobile version first. The desktop version can be as pretty as you can make it, but if you can't use it on your mobile phone, that it's pretty worthless, right?
Rob: Yep. Then a lot of people need to understand, there are different pieces that you have on a desktop version that's not available on your mobile version.
Glyna: Like for instance?
Rob: So, when you hover over and you have pop-ups, okay? You don't have that ability on a mobile. So, that's why I always tell people, let's look at it when it's on a mobile and look at this to see what the experience is. The other thing I tell people too is, user experience, I've said it 20 times today, but if I've got a thousand word home page, guess what? On mobile, that's about four or five scrolls and you're not going to get a new user to read any of that.
Rob: So, those are different things to think about. The other thing too, and this will be coming out, this will be a major ranking factor coming in May and it's called web vitals. Okay? Google is putting it out and it's all based on your mobile website. How long does it take to load? How long does your fonts take to load? How long does your pictures take to load? All this stuff. That's going to be one of the major ranking factors that's out there. It's brand new. Everybody's having to go back and look at their old websites and consider it, and all their new websites that are being built. So, if you haven't heard it, stay tuned because we'll be talking about it here shortly.
Glyna: If you look at your website, how far back are we saying? If you did it X amount of years ago, when should you review it? You should review it all the time, I guess, and make sure that it's up to specs, I guess.
Rob: With people that host with us, we review them every month.
Rob: I mean, we have those reports coming back to us from Google on a daily basis. You have tools that can do that, but also the human eye needs to look at your website at least once a month to say, "Hey, wait a minute, what happened here? Is it broken? What happened to my form? My form is not working." I mean, all those things you need to look at. So yeah, it's not years, it's months.
Perfect. That's exactly what I was trying to spit out. All right. So we've done the myths. Again, that's the only five of them. There's a whole bunch, especially with the people who think they're SEO gurus. We could probably go on and on and on, and maybe we'll do another one. But let's talk about a quick checklist of things you should do. Let's turn it the other way. Things that you should pay attention to. There is a list of way too many, but we'll run the top. It looks like we have the top nine here. So this is the kiss of death is when your website loads really slow. Speed of website is key.
Rob: Yep. Again, this goes back to the user experience. The gratification has to be now. So, if I'm sitting there loading a website and it's taken me over 30 seconds to load a website, I'm gone.
Glyna: Yeah. 30, yeah, that's probably a lot, huh?
Rob: I'm saying people that have got a lot of time on their hands.
Glyna: All right, so we need to write for humans, not for search engines. I think we covered that enough. Reviews, we touched on reviews. Let's see, you got to have reviews, keep them current. They need to be good ones, you need to respond to them. All kinds of stuff about reviews.
Rob: I'll actually give them one more myth. I'll bust another myth. So, for reviews, this has come out. Google's even said this is true. But if you have somebody that leaves you a review and puts your keywords in your review, they give you credit for that. That is a ranking factor. So, if I leave a review for a heating and air company, and I said, "They're great, they came out, they repaired my AC, or they replaced my AC. They're the best in Birmingham, blah, blah, blah." Those keywords will show up and help you rank.
Rob: The myth buster is, we have all these people, the owners going out there thinking, "Oh, if reviews count, then I'll go out and I'll stuff a response back to them." Thinking that's going to help. No, it's only a one-way street. So you're going to get as much, if I go out and stuff everything in my response, to the same as, "Thank you."
Glyna: That's huge to know. That's very huge. So, it works one way, like you said, but not the other. So, don't waste your time doing it, but you should respond if you can. I know it's kind of hard to keep track of all that. Then my last point before you give your points, is tracking. We base what we do in SEO on how much business we can bring you. We track it all to make sure that we're on the right track every month. Google analytics, tracking numbers, all that good stuff, you need to have available. Those are things we can help you with if you want more info. So, what are some tips you've got?
Rob: Well, we talked about it earlier, first of all, just be natural. Everything that you do needs to be natural. The whole thing is, in digital marketing you have two pieces. You have the technical piece of how I'm going to get in front of your potential clients or customers. And then you have the conversion. So, if you try to overdo the technical piece, you're going to turn off the customers and you're not going to convert them. That's number one. Number two that I talk about, is use your social media to actually get engagement and to convert these people. If you're sitting there telling me about a service that you have, and you don't give me a link to go check it out even more, then you're doing yourself a dysfunction. Because the last thing they're going to do is go to the website, search for you, go to your homepage, now try to find out the service that you were talking about on your social media. It's not going to happen. So, those are the two big ones that I always have that that people need to be aware of.
Glyna: Cool. And content, we talk about content all day long. Again, make your content, have a lot of it, be very informative. People these days, like I said, are nosy. They want to snoop, they want to look at all your stuff. So we've covered a lot, we love SEO. It's one of our favorite things to do because we can literally see a company when we first start and then five or six months down the road, we can see how much of a difference that we're making in their business as far as bringing in more money, more customers. It's one of our favorite things.
Glyna: You have any last-minute comments?
Glyna: All right. Well, we really thank all of you for joining today, and as always, again, like I said, SEO is one of our very favorite things to do, and if you have no idea where to start, that's something that we would love to talk to you about. Free consultation, and we can kind of see where you're at and some of the things that we need to do. We love it. Just get in touch with us, we'll help you out. As always, we'll be back next Friday morning at eight o'clock for our next Marketing Mix. So, until then I hope y'all have a great week.