When many small business owners hear the term “SEO” – there’s a lot of question marks that bounce around in their heads. While facets of search engine optimization are very technical, you need to know the basics to help your website perform well – without falling victim to a predatory SEO agency.

So what is search engine optimization (SEO)? Simply put, search engine optimization is the process of getting free (or “organic”) search results for your website on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

While there are many components of an effective SEO strategy, there are several misconceptions that plague small business owners and their websites. I’d like to set a few straight.

SEO Myth #1: Content Marketing Has Replaced SEO.

You’d think as a content marketer, I’d be all about this myth: but – no. Content marketing hasn’t replaced SEO. Nor will it anytime soon.

In fact, content marketing and SEO are actually two sides of the same coin. They should be used in tandem. Content is important to help you rank higher on the search engines, but SEO is needed to drive traffic. One will not be successful without the other.

SEO Myth #2: SEO Is a Quick Fix.

Google is on to you, digital marketers!

In the past, it was possible for businesses to achieve high rankings in days by “gaming” the search engines. However, today’s SEO practices require long-term investments – in time, money, or both. A successful SEO strategy will have frequently published content, and will require actively and continually promoting the content.

SEO Myth #3: I’m A Start-Up, and Can’t Afford SEO. Therefore, I Shouldn’t Bother.

Nope.

In today’s information age, you have no excuse not to be making the investment in your digital marketing. If you cannot hire an expert to do your SEO, you do have some tools at your disposal to get you started. I highly recommend Yoast and their tools to help you boost your SEO on a tight budget.

SEO Myth #4: My Exact Match Domain Will Make Me Rank Higher.

Not so much.

In the past, direct match domains worked well for SEO. For example, if you were selling chairs in Milwaukee, you would purchase the domain: www.sellingchairsinmilwaukee.com. That way, when someone searched for someone who was “selling chairs in Milwaukee” – you’d pop up first.

This is not the case anymore. Spammers took advantage of this, and started using domain names for ads. As a result, the algorithms were rewritten to no longer be solely based on domain names.

SEO Myth #5: Keyword Stuffing Still Works.

Does keyword stuffing still work? Keyword stuffing still works. Keyword stuffing is the best. Keyword stuffing.

It’s obnoxious, isn’t it? It also doesn’t work anymore.

In fact, Google’s RankBrain allows the search engine to crawl through sites verifying that you are not simply posting content to push keywords. The new SEO is all about that relevant content.

Don’t get me wrong – keywords still matter. You need to be adept with your keywords, and expertly craft them into audience-centric content. Essentially, the user should never know that the keywords are doing their job.

Well, there you have it. Five SEO myths – busted!

Tune in to Wright Stuff Radio every Saturday at 12pm in Boise, or on the website for the latest and greatest on marketing practices to grow your business.

Contributor: Erika Heeren is the founder of Heeren Content & Strategy and serves as Project Manager for Wright Stuff Radio. A 14-year marketing and public relations veteran, she has a professional focus on integrated media spanning 16 different industries. She works with small businesses and non-profit organizations to provide affordable, professional-quality content development, marketing, and public relations services. Her clients include local small business owners, marketing agencies, public universities, media outlets, Huffington Post-published authors, IT firms, and non-profit organizations.

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