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SEO Myths: Let’s Bust ‘Em Now!

By Snap Agency April 10, 2014

Matt Cutts, search engine guru and head of Google’s Webspam team, posted a video addressing some big SEO myths that surround search engine optimization strategies. With the peculiar nature of search engine marketing (SEM), it’s not surprising the amount of lore that surrounds the practice. Let’s go through some of the details of Matt’s video and clear up a few more of those questionable tactics so you can focus on getting your website to the top of any search engine results page (SERP).

SEO Myth 1: Ad Buying and SERP Rank Correlation

“One of the biggest SEO myths, that we always hear,” he says, “is if you buy ads, you’ll rank higher on Google, and then there’s an opposing conspiracy theory, which is, if you don’t buy ads, you’ll rank better on Google.”

This is one of those SEO myths that is most likely a product of the overzealous nature of the Internet, and we’re very grateful that Matt decided to address this contradictory myth. The first thing that should come to mind when debunking this myth, is that Google is itself a business. It needs to offer a service that works well without being overly spammy so consumers will return.

Matt continues by explaining the philosophy of Google’s search quality:

“We want to return really good search results to users so that they’re happy, so that they’ll keep coming back. That’s basically it. Happy users are loyal users.”

You can see that Google only wants to create the best experience for the end user. When the user has a great experience, the next time they have are searching for knowledge or information, Google will be the online search engine they’ll use. He says that, of course if someone clicks on an PPC (pay-per-click) ad that’s great. But…

“We’re not gonna make an algorithmic change to try to drive people to buy ads. If you buy ads, it’s not going to algorithmically help your ranking in any way, and likewise it’s not going to hurt your ranking if you buy ads.”

PPC campaigns are inherently going to drive more traffic, but they don’t affect your overall SEO score or ranking in SERPs.

Now that that’s cleared up, let’s run through some ways you can make your PPC campaigns more effective.

How to Improve your PPC Campaigns

PPC campaigns, or paid online advertising on Google, is a fantastic way to get large amount of consumers to your site in a short amount of time. You will see social media and website impressions skyrocket, and conversions following close behind.

With all of these numbers soon to be flying at you, however, you need to make sure you have a system in place to measure every element of your site. With a tool like Google Analytics, you can compare page performance rates against each other, find your best referral sources and uncover the perfect way to write a CTA (call-to-action). Once that’s set up, here are some easy tips you can follow to boost your paid online campaigns.

Develop and target landing pages toward individual campaigns
When a consumer lands on your site, make the conversion path clear for them with smart Web development. You don’t want to let them just wander around your site alone. If they aren’t directed with clear instructions, the chances are pretty low that they will stay around long enough to make a purchase. A landing page is a perfect solution to this. If you’re developing a PPC campaign, build a landing page specifically for that campaign. This allows you to focus solely on the message, giving the visitor simple options toward the action you want them to take.

Keep the Visitor at the Forefront
When you’re communicating a message in a paid marketing campaign, the worst thing that can possibly happen is disconnect. If you’re advertising “SEO Tips for Bloggers,” make sure your coinciding landing page communicates the exact same message. Also, ensure that the there is clear navigation and Web design best practices are being employed.

Use happy customers to your advantage
If you have happy customers, why not make sure everyone knows how pleased they are with your business? With the growth of Yelp, Google Reviews and Feefo, it’s now easy to find out whether or not a business is worth getting invested in. These sites provide authentic user feedback about a product, service or company. And now that well over half of global consumers do research online prior to making a purchase, if people are saying bad things about your brand, you’ll see your profits take a dip.

Another thing you can do on your website is promote customer testimonials. These will quickly build trust between your brand and the visitor, making them more likely to make a purchase. Include urgent CTAs to push them in the right direction.

Follow these tips to run a polished and professional paid Google campaign. Remember, that although there are best practices, it never hurts to stir the pot. That brings us to Matt’s next myth.

SEO Myth 2: Avoid “Group Think”

“[When it comes to] the various black hat forums and webmaster discussion boards, never be afraid to think for yourself.”

What Matt is talking about is the influence of SEO “experts,” filling the field with irrelevant or harmful practices, while promoting them as successful strategies. And it makes sense, as Matt says,

“I heard of someone selling an automated white-hat SEO tool, which to me sounds like buying a gun and using it as a hammer.”

Matt isn’t too happy about this, but what’s more important is his point that Internet salesman use black-hat techniques under the label of white-hat SEO, and it’s more often than not, bad news. Just as you’re trying to market something online and make a few bucks, so is everyone else involved in ecommerce. Matt continues to verify this, saying:

“Be aware that a lot of these tools have the potential to get you into a hole. Just because someone says they made a lot of money online, doesn’t mean they made a lot of money online.”

So, when you’re conducting your SEO and putting an SEO strategy in place, have a little faith in yourself. If you’re following all of the best practices, such as blogging, implementing meta information and putting UX at the forefront, then don’t be afraid to branch out. Come up with some content that will really speak to your audience and see how receptive they are.

Take a stab at busting these SEO myths. I bet you’ll be surprised at what you come up with.

How to Create Content that Stuns
First of all, we need to define content marketing. Content marketing refers to the preparation, building, distribution and management of any piece of content your company promotes online.

It requires a strategy, and a detailed document of brainstorming sessions, brand mandatories and relevant subjects. The goal is to better the steps in your funnel so that you may generate more sales leads and convert more consumers.

The Easy Way to Create Content
There is an easy way to create content. And with content quantity being an important aspect of your SEO score, you’re going to want to pay attention so you don’t drown.

Repurposing is one of the best things you can do for your organization to cut down on time spent creating content. If you follow Snap’s rule of formal stacking, then you’ll never be left without a channel to repurpose your content toward.

Formal stacking involves the modification of a bland text document, such as a white paper, ebook or blog post, and turns it into something that speaks to an entire different audience. If you think there are opportunities on YouTube, where the target demographic is 18-30, and your whitepaper generates interest among senior citizen, then simply repackage it. Take all of your information from the whitepaper and make a fun video or interview with an expert.

Now, instead of trying to make a young generation read a bunch of pieces of paper, you’ve digitally changed your content to gain the attention of a prominent video-loving group.

And it’s really easy. Make a piece of content that you think a member of your audience would enjoy. If you have an audience that likes whitepapers – go ahead and make it for that audience. From there, it’s all up to you.

Take that whitepaper and change it into an ebook, newsletter, blog, slideshow, podcast or video. Or really however you see fit.

Make sure to avoid duplicate content if you’re going to do another text-oriented article and post it on the Web. That’s a big no-no when it comes to SEO.

Other than that, make sure you are utilizing SEO best practices and employ this technique and you’ll make your company visible to an entirely new audience.