WHAT IS SEO? POPULAR MYTHS ABOUT SEO
If we got 1 hryvnia every time we hear "SEO is a dark magic/quackery/fraud/self-deception” (choose one that you like the most) we would not have to work anymore. Lack of understanding of the benefits of this marketing channel, what a quality SEO process should be, and when the results appear, often lead to a negative attitude to both the industry itself and the professionals who work in it.
So, SEO-people are sly people, they calmly arbitrate and build-and-sell PBN’s, and in between, they hold consultations that are similar to business training. But those who are engaged in the so-called "white SEO" and are trying to help clients, have to suffer and feel negativity and skepticism. In this article, we will try to shed light on "what is SEO" and dispel the most popular myths related to it.
What is SEO?
According to Wikipedia,
"Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine. SEO refers to the improvement of unpaid results (known as "natural" or "organic" results) and excludes direct traffic/visitors and the purchase of paid placement. SEO may target different kinds of searches, including image search, video search, academic search, news search, and industry-specific vertical search engines".
Simply put, it's about working with a site to make it user-friendly and understandable to search engine robots (let's call it a general rule). How to achieve this? Here are some basic aspects:
- complete internal site optimization;
- useful and interesting content;
- correct external optimization.
Let's look at these aspects in more detail.
Have you ever thought about how long are you ready to wait for the page to load? Or for a movie to load? Or how much time does the page need to show all the content that you are interested in? Maybe, some fans are ready to wait 10-15 seconds for their favorite website to load, but usually, if the site is not that important, people will not be that patient. And what if you click on a product or category that interests you, and you see a page missing? What is the likelihood that you will come back and keep looking? Spoiler: practically zero.
In today’s competitive environment, it's easy to find hundreds of sites that offer the same thing, but make finding and ordering process much easier. Therefore, internal site optimization is required to satisfy customers and not stand in their way of making a purchase, It consists of 2 stages:
- Technical Optimization is a set of actions done to exclude duplicate pages, links to pages 404, provide page load optimization, and more.
- Commercial optimization is a set of actions that are aimed at complementing all the necessary commercial elements of the site (cost, filters, buttons of purchase, description of goods, terms of delivery, guarantees, repairs, etc.).
How do these intersect with the main rule? If a user can go to the site, quickly and easily find, order and get the product/service they need, then that site will be ranked higher. However, for search engines to initially publish it, they must understand that the site is capable of such. It is very easy to understand the latter with modern possibilities. So if your site has been in existence for two years but is not ranked anywhere, it means that the site has problems that need to be found and fixed.
"Is everything so simple?", you ask. Yes and no. The tricky part is that a large number of SEO specialists are eager to make their site only system-friendly, immersing themselves in the technicalities and forgetting about the end-user. This is the first criterion for choosing a contractor who will provide SEO services.
Okay, you have a cool website from a technical point of view: with all the commercial elements you need, it's fast, simple, easy to understand. What’s next? At this stage, the second "whale" - content optimization - comes into play. To understand its importance, we propose to make a small excursion into the not so ancient history.
The year is 1995. Two Stanford University graduate students Larry Page and Sergey Brin get to know each other for the first time. Engaged in solving the problem of finding the information they need in a huge array of data, they first created a Backrub search engine that identified relevant resources based on "backlinks." Remember this moment, we'll come back to it later.
Later, as they refine the search algorithm, they come across the works of Karen Spark Jones and Stephen Robertson, from whom they learn about the ranking function of Okapi BM25. This function is used in the library of the City University of London for a convenient search of materials on students’ requests. This algorithm, somewhat modified, is added to an existing Backrub. And the first version of what we now know as Google's search engine is born. A small spoiler: Okapi BM25 is also used by search engines that existed before Google, such as Yahoo.
All the importance of this formula is that, based on all the existing sites in it with the use of certain keywords, it analyzes and selects the most relevant document for the query. Yes, the formula had some drawbacks. For example, it did not take into account the relationship between keywords, distance, and logic. But over time, the modification of the Google Knowledge Base has been so refined that it has almost unmistakably identified user needs for current requests.
From now on, we gain an understanding of the importance of content on the site itself. Unless you fill in a good description of a page on a site, the formula simply does not select a page from millions of pages with the same subject just because there is no description.
However, it should be understood that the usual filling of keywords in modern conditions is no longer working. Based on a whole bunch of semantic analysis, the work of a large number of linguists, along with programmers, search engines have learned how to find interesting and informative content. So here you need to be careful and go back to the main rule: you create content for users of your site. Imagine that you are a user seeking information. What information do you need to find, know and understand? If you can give comprehensive information to your users, being on top of the search results will come to you.
Well, you have created a beautiful, technically correct site, filled with interesting, high-quality, "right" content, and there is still no traffic. Why?
You may have guessed why you should remember about Backrub? Right. After all, it is the "third whale" of SEO. It is one of Paige and Breen's first designs, it was at the heart of Google's search engine, and continues to be its foundation. Yes, since its inception it has undergone many changes, filters and so on. However, links were, are, and remain an important element of ranking. Today, the approach to link building is fundamentally different from 2006-2008, when you could just create sites on ucoz.ru, buy $ 1000 on Sapa and be at the top, getting money from the sale of the same links, advertising and more.
What are the aspects of proper external optimization? There aren't many of them:
- Links from relevant sources with good traffic
Imagine that you have an online make-up store, and each link is an ad on external resources. How useful will this advertisement be, for example, in the biker forum? Of course, you can expect that beautiful lady-bikers will be interested in your product, and men, choosing a gift for their loved one, will remember about you. But in general, the probability is very low. And if the link is placed in forums for women, the likelihood of attracting users to this link will be much higher. And of course, the more traffic to a site, the more useful this link is to the site. To put it bluntly, this is exactly what modern search engine algorithms are all about when evaluating how useful a link is.
- Beautiful anchor list
Anchor links are the text of the link itself. If all the links that link to your site will be with the words "buy make-up", "make-up Kyiv", etc. (for example, the theme of the site is make-up), search engines will understand that these are all purchased links, installed exclusively for robots. There are a lot of guides about anchor lists, the most understandable and simple one, in our opinion, is this post by Serpstat. No unexpected link increments. Just don't try to trick search engines. They know exactly what you are doing. Don’t think that you can outsmart them. Just do not break their rules, and if you do, then do it in adequate amounts.
Of course, professional SEO-goers will say that this is all very superficial, brief, too generalized. But if you apply this to small and medium-sized businesses, then everything will work. It might not work as well as it would work if a professional handled the SEO, but it will work.
Now let's take a closer look at the main SEO myths:
1. SEO died
True. From the very beginning, SEO worked with a simple formula: more keys in the text, a bunch of landing pages, more links of any quality equals profit. Modern SEO is full-fledged marketing with an analysis of the market, competitors, user needs and an endless set of factors. Don't believe it? Contact us, we'll show you how it works.
2. Content is a KING (only quality content can promote the site)
Partly true. Only if it is a low competitive niche with a low query rate. When it comes to lucrative niches with high demand, it is simply not possible to find sites that are not using external links
3. Only positions are important
The most popular myth. That’s a lie. A position is a tool for getting traffic. If you take the top positions in low-frequency queries, you will get clients at times less than your traffic-oriented competitors. At MediaHead, we insist on the pay-per-traffic scheme. It is fairer.
4. Links don't work
That’s a lie. If you still believe in this myth, read our explanation about external optimization.
5. Advertising affects the position in the search engine results
That’s a lie. A large number of experiments have shown that it does not affect it in any way. It influences brand awareness, increases brand traffic, but in no way affects the position in the search engine results.
6. You should wait a long time for the results of a promotion
Another popular myth. That’s a lie. Results of the promotion are visible from the second or third month of the promotion, provided that all corrections were addressed on time. If you have any doubts, feel free to contact us, we guarantee to dispel them.
7. I’m already at the top of the list, I don’t need SEO anymore
SEO is a constant process of improving the site. Of course, you can stop developing it, but as soon as more advanced competitors emerge, your site risks disappearing.
We hope that you found this article interesting and helpful! And, for advertising rights, if you are looking for quality helpers in this difficult SEO-world, contact MediaHead, we are always happy to help you!