Search Engine Optimization, can provide the best ROI for your internet marketing budget. Because it is widely misunderstood and just as commonly misused and abused, there are plenty of misconceptions about SEO that can derail your marketing efforts.
Here are some commonly held beliefs that need some clarification:
“I don’t need on site SEO, just 100 more links”
There is just too much misinformation about SEO out there for you to assume your on site optimization has been done right. Many times we will have a new client tell us it is all taken care of, then we discover their pages are keyword stuffed, title tags are too long or duplicated, no meta descriptions exist, all the internal links say “click here”, content is duplicated elsewhere in the site or stolen from another site, or pages are cloaked or hidden in an attempt to trick the search engines.
Another variation of this is the idea that some webmasters have that on site optimization is not necessary and all you need is lots and lots of backlinks. You have figured out how many links your competitor has, and it is only a matter of getting more than them, right? Nope – if it was that easy, anybody with some time could make a totally crappy site rank #1 for everything and nobody would ever use search engines.
While inbound links to your site are one of the most important things that will help your website rank better, quality is becoming increasingly important to Google, links are becoming less important and social signals (Likes, +1′s, Tweets, etc) are becoming more important. Make sure you are creating good quality content, your site is well optimized, and make it easy for readers to like your site.
“My web designer already optimized my website”
Web designers and developers often don’t know or don’t care what is important to search engines. If the site looks good and all the buttons work, then it is all good as far as they are concerned. There are many web designers who know SEO, but they are kind of rare. Unfortunately, most web design classes teach the software and visual design skills, but don’t bother with optimization best practices. I recently had a web design instructor tell me that he doesn’t teach SEO because it “has nothing to do with web development and it doesn’t work”! Um, yeah. Right. Think about that when you hire a web designer who just finished school.
Here are some things that are so basic to search engine optimization that you just can’t call a site optimized if they have not been dealt with properly. These things really should not even be considered as separate from web design since they should be part of any web developer’s best practices when building a website.