It seems like most people I talk to now “know SEO.”

Sometimes people want to pay me to do a SEO task for them, but I have a problem taking their money because I know it won’t make the difference.

Quite often people who have experienced success with SEO in the past, now want to do the same things that worked before. The assumptions go like this:

  • “Search engines have not changed that much since the last time we did this”
  • “We know how much it costs to do SEO today,” or
  • “We don’t have time to fact check the proper SEO strategy for today so we’re just going to do what we’ve done before and see where that gets us”

If you are living in Google’s past, rather than the reality of today’s Google, you could be in for a disappointment. To help you better get the differences between Google today and yesterday, here are four faulty assumptions about SEO:

  • “We can outsource link building”
  • “The opinions of our site users doesn’t impact search rank”
  • “Content with our keywords is more important than engaging our users”
  • “Gaining a top ranking is our priority”

“We can outsource link building”

If you are a small business and you want to gain more links to your site that will improve your search rank, outsourcing link building is a quick way to lose whatever good rankings you have. For a small business website, link building is in the past for the most part due to Google’s algo changes like the Penguin update. Your link profile can no longer be filled with questionable approaches and sites that violate G’s quality guidelines.

The idea of building links to your site needs to be replaced by the concept of attracting links by creating content that is in demand, doing good online marketing like a contest, product launch or an engaging blog that gets your users interested and motivated to tell their friends about your site.

Certainly you can outsource some of these projects to gain lots of natural links to your site, but the point is you’ve got to be involved so that your audience not only loves it but will truly do what you ask them to do. Gone are the days when you could pay someone to do link building and assume they know what Google is looking for today.

“The opinions of our site users doesn’t impact search rank”

People who think things like this haven’t checked out their web analytics in a while. There you will find visitor averages like time on site, number of pages per visit, bounce rate and others which tell an analyst whether the opinions of the site’s users are favorable or deplorable.

Now I know I don’t have to tell you how this impacts search rank, but I will for those of you who don’t follow my blog, whitepapers and interviews.

Google measures overall site engagement and that measurement is factored into their algo. So are your users opinions favorable or deplorable?

Ok, now follow my blog by subscribing in the box at the top right.

“Content with our keywords is more important than engaging our users”

Another way of saying the same thing is “just make sure to include our keywords in the content.” My reaction: incorporating one or two keywords in the content is normal but what is the real intent of the people using these keywords? Why would they use this keyword rather than another? Are you concerned about hitting your prospect’s mental triggers when they are making a decision about this: credibility, authority, trust, likeable, social proof, etc.?

Are you beginning to see the power of engaging content? You have got to go from creating content to get ranked to content that engages users and gets a decision about your offer.

“Gaining a top ranking is our priority”

Really? What about product sales, phone calls, generating good leads, increasing subscribers?

Now that you agree with me, consider that rankings vary depending on a user’s location, search history, whether the user is logged in to Google or not and whether using a mobile device or not.

While search rank is important, there are far better ways to measure the success of SEO today. You’ve got to go from gauging SEO success by rankings to measuring key performance indicators that directly impact the bottom line. Otherwise, the law of diminishing returns will take over and your budget could evaporate.

In addition to these faulty assumptions about SEO, there are hundreds of “SEO providers” out there, an obviously daunting job to find a provider who can be trusted to do what they say they do. Unfortunately, many small businesses throw their hands up in frustration and give up… and settle for status quo search rank.

Here’s my message to you: Don’t give up…

Hiring a SEO provider may not be the best fit for your organization, especially if you have a marketing team in place who simply need some guidance. In that case you might benefit from a SEO strategy that takes into account your organizations strengths and weaknesses, then your marketing team will know exactly what to do to execute the strategy based on today’s Google.

Tom Shivers
Tom Shivers

I'm a ecommerce SEO consultant and President of Capture Commerce. I've managed digital marketing campaigns for scores of clients since 2000 and found that every business is unique with its own challenges and opportunities. When I see that I have contributed to the success of a business by helping them grow, it makes me feel awesome! That’s the coolest thing and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to do this.

    2 replies to "4 Assumptions That Will Kill Your Google Rank"

    • Cendrine Marrouat

      Excellent article, Tom! I absolutely agree with everything you said, especially with your conclusion regarding a SEO strategy.

      Too many businesses forget to plan when social media is involved. It’s like they have suddenly forgotten the basics!

    • Tom Shivers

      Hi Cendrine, yep no one plans to fail, but without a plan that’s exactly what happens.

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