January 12

Podcast 127 – Myths About SEO

There is a lot of information about Search Engine Optimization out there, and most businesses are inundated with unsolicited emails and phone calls proposing to get the business on page one of the search results. We’ll discuss some of the common myths about SEO to help educate our audience so they can make smart decisions on investing in SEO.

Ken Tucker: Hey everybody. Welcome to this episode of The Marketing Guides for Small Businesses Podcast. I’m Ken Tucker of Changescape Web and I’m joined by Paul Barthel of Changescape Web and also today, Ian Cantle live from Outsourced Marketing. Jen Kelly is going to join us via video today. We’re looking forward to that. So today we’re gonna talk about a topic that I think is so confusing to so many businesses. There’s so much crap out there. They’re inundated with unsolicited emails saying, we can get you on the first page of Google. We can do it for 150 bucks a month. We can do a one-time fee. We can do this, we can do that. 

I thought it would be good for us to talk about some of the common SEO myths that are out there, so that our listeners and viewers can help get educated a little bit more on understanding what SEO is and trying to really dispel some of the myths. Really just to arm you guys to help you make better decisions when you’re investing in SEO. Because we all believe search engine optimization or SEO is critical for almost every business that wants to grow and be found online. 

So with that, Paul, let’s start with this myth. Businesses don’t need SEO because they’re Google My Business Profile is enough. Is that fact or fiction and can you elaborate on why?

Paul Barthel: That’s pure fiction. Because all you have to do is look at the recent debacle with the Google Business Profiles. Profiles got suspended, they made major changes and it took three, four weeks to get it reinstated because so many of these Google Business Profiles got suspended for absolutely no reason.

Some businesses didn’t even make any changes to their business profile and they got suspended. And if you’re depending on that and your business profile gets suspended for three weeks, and we saw with a couple of our clients, they took a major hit in their business in phone calls. So SEO obviously, search engine optimization is the process of optimizing your website and your content for search engines to be able crawl your website, understand what your business is about.

There’s a couple different things. There’s what’s called on page SEO, which is optimizing your website and your content. There’s off page SEO, which people call those directories, which also needs to be optimized because over time, these directories they crawl the website, gather information, and your website if you’ve been in business for a long time, you could have had different addresses, different phone numbers and all this information. A lot of it can be wrong. That sends a signal to Google that Google isn’t sure what’s correct, which address is correct, what phone number is correct, so that needs to be optimized.

Then there’s technical SEO, which is things like structured data that needs to be done. All these things, your directories, your website, your Google Business Profile, your address needs to be the same. Your phone number needs to be the same. So yes, you absolutely do need SEO, but it is a long-term play.

If you wait until your business isn’t showing up on search the way you want it to. You wait until your rankings start to tank. It can take six, seven months for SEO to become effective. A lot of times people, they’ll call a marketing agency and say, rankings have really started to go down and I need SEO.

It’s you should have done that nine months ago. Yes, you do need SEO. Google My Business or Google Business Profile is not enough. You don’t control that. Google controls that, and that’s the one thing to remember. I know we’ve talked about this a lot in the past, that the only online property you own is your website.

You don’t own Google Business Profile. And the other thing, it’s free. So Google doesn’t put a lot of resources into that because they’re not making money, which I don’t understand why they don’t have a paid version of that, they should. But if you don’t control it, you shouldn’t depend on that one source.

That’s my feelings on that. 

Ken Tucker: Yeah. So just to touch base though on a couple of things that you talked about, you talked a lot about SEO and why it’s important. SEO is also, there’s a symbiotic relationship between the SEO efforts that you put under your website and how that is going to help elevate your Google My Business Profile as well, right?

Paul Barthel: Oh, yeah. Yeah, it definitely will. Especially if your business information is consistent across the web, which goes back to the directories and there’s ways marketing agencies can help you with that. Yes. If your business profile, I didn’t want to go too deep into the weeds here, but there’s also interlinking that can be done between Google Business Profile and your website, which sends ranking factors to Google. But yes, they do help. They do work together. 

Ken Tucker: Yeah, we can go super deep into the whole Google Business Profile website, SEO integration strategies and maybe we’ll do that here in an upcoming episode. I did want to get to some of the other common myths. So don’t just rely on your Google Business Profile because it could be taken away. Google can mess with the algorithms. You don’t control it. You may not even have access to it, as Paul mentioned. So with Jen, I wanted to know from Jen what her thoughts are about another common myth, and that is SEO’s a one time thing. So with that I’m gonna play Jen’s response to that. 

Jen Kelly: The common myth, SEO is a one-time thing, that is a myth.

Some of us wish it was true though, because SEO is a lot of work for sure. So it’s a myth because, so SEO, search engine optimization, it just is an ongoing process and it’s because as you enter into a market for your product or your service. It’s a living thing, meaning that the market is living and changing and there’s competition and there’s different competitors and folks are coming in and going outta business and having sales and changing the market for your product or service no matter what it is that you sell.

So that’s an ongoing, lively thing that’s happening. The companies that set the rules. The search engines, so let’s just talk about Google. They’re constantly changing the rules as well. So you’re entering into a dynamic market here and things are changing, so that’s the reason for it. The way to get around that is to, first of all, understand that when you’re going out to do SEO, and making it part of your marketing strategy and really taking the time to research. What are the words, what are the phrases that are most applicable to your business and most able to have your business win in the, either the region the industry, the area that you wanna win in? And it’s a consistent thing that you have to do. So it’s consistently producing content that is properly set up to be SEO’d. And, it’s not only about the content that you’re putting out there, so it’s not only about having the keywords in the blog or the article or whatnot, you can’t forget the backend. So the metadata and making sure that’s all set up correctly as well.

Unfortunately, that myth is wrong. SEO is not a one-time thing. 

Ken Tucker: It’s so frustrating to me because I think too many people think, oh I’ll just have a new website built. I’m paying a company to do SEO and they’re just paying ’em literally to build a website, maybe host it, and they think they’re all good.

And the reality is maybe it is good, maybe it was enough, probably not. It’s really rare when that happens. But even if it was, your competitors are gonna come along, they’re gonna make investments, they’re gonna do things to try to leapfrog you, to show up higher in the search results. As Jen mentioned, the search engines are gonna change the algorithms.

They’re gonna change the rules from time to time, and you just need to keep after it and it’s a constant thing. Ian, I know you, Paul and I talk about this stuff a lot. So I wanna get into a topic, Ian, that I know you and I periodically disagree a little bit on. I’m always gonna say local SEO is a critically important. I think it just ultimately comes down to what fits within the budget of a business. But I want to hear your thoughts. What is your response when you hear somebody say local SEO is just not worth it, or it’s just too expensive? 

Ian Cantle: First of all, I would say I disagree a hundred percent with that statement. Yes, there are circumstances where budgets might not allow for it and that’s certainly part of the equation that we all, as business people have to figure out. But, could it be effective for a business that doesn’t have the budget? Absolutely there is no business that would not benefit from ranking higher on Google or on Maps or anywhere where people are searching for their product, their service, their, you name it.

Is it worth it? Absolutely. The reason why it’s worth it, and we have orbited this thought, but we haven’t really faced it head on, is why is SEO worth it? And the reason SEO’s worth it is because that’s people’s behavior. The only reason Google is so successful as a search engine is because people search.

The only reason why Google is the search engine of choice is because Google offers up really great search results. That’s what they thrive on, whether it’s organic search results or paid search results, that is the core of their search business. So, I think it’s really important to understand as a business, would you look at the universe of what you’re able to attract as far as customers and just lop off 70% of it. No, it’s ridiculous to even think that, except that’s what people do because they have preconceptions that SEO doesn’t work. Bob tried it, it didn’t work for him. He put money in the people screwed him.

Unfortunately that does happen. You need to be very choosy about who you work with in SEO and some of the things that you guys talked about and what Jen talked about too, is that SEO is not a one-time thing. But it permeates through everything you do online as a business. In fact, it can be a source of feeding the engine of the marketing and the customer acquisition and retention that you do.

And the reason why that’s true is because Google is looking for behavior. So, the Google algorithm is constantly changing. Meaning if a new website pops up and it has relevant information, Google will feed that out. It will see what people do once they go to that website. First of all, is the website real or is it a broken link? Do they go there? How long do they [00:11:00] spend on it? Do they look at multiple pages? Do they convert? Meaning, do they click on a form or a call button? All of that kind of stuff. So it’s very sophisticated from a backend. But from a front end, if you’re as a business doing the right things in order to attract and nurture prospective customers and patients. Whatever it is, or whoever they are, and then you’re doing the right things to engage and retain those people. You’re going to do well in SEO with the right help. So I think it’s just a paradigm shift that some business owners need to make. Is that we might already have content that could be highly leveraged to help us show up on search engines, but we’re not leveraging it properly. Or we need new content or better content. Because remember, it’s the people that Google is catering to. People in general want the most up to date, the most thorough and the most valuable information. And that’s what Google’s trying to curate to those people through search engines. 

Ken Tucker: Yeah. I came across a statistic from, I think it was from Moz, was the ultimate source about search and what’s happening in the world of search.

And Google owns the top three searched properties. And it accounts for 93% of all searches. And that’s regular Google Search. Google Image Search and YouTube, when you combine those three, that’s 93% of all searches done on the web. That’s just crazy . And if you’re gonna expect to show up in those search results, you gotta do it. And most businesses tend to be local businesses. As Paul’s mentioned, and I’m sure you’ve talked about it before too, it’s a different algorithm that’s triggered when you’re dealing with local businesses based on the search behaviors and the search phrase that somebody types in. So yeah, it’s absolutely huge.

Ian Cantle: And can I just add one thing? I meant to include this, but I rambled on. The one thing I want to impress upon people, is that when we’re working with clients, regardless of where they are in search engines at the beginning of working with us. But when we introduce a systematic approach to marketing in their business, that has a very strong SEO focus that feeds everything else we’re doing for them. The power of that from a visitor standpoint to their website. And a growth standpoint from conversions that result in more patients, more customers, more clients, is astounding. And regardless of if we’re spending money on ads for that client. Organic always outpaces ads, not only from a volume standpoint. Meaning, we attract way more people through organic over time because it takes time to grow this beautiful SEO tree.

But when it starts to bear fruit, man, that fruit is way bigger than your ad spend because most people can’t spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads. So it displaces your spend, which is  beautiful. It essentially becomes free traffic from your investment you’ve already put into your marketing. It becomes the number one source of traffic conversions.

The beautiful thing too is that the return on marketing spend, so your return on your overall marketing spend for SEO will be so much smaller than it will be for your ad spend. When we report for clients, they want to know their return on ad spend because that’s something they can leaver up or leaver down very easily by spending more money.

But we also show, Hey, here’s your, once we take your return on ad spend and then we add in the organic to that and show you your overall return on marketing. It is incredible to see how that cost per shrinks so much more. 

Ken Tucker: And an SEO strategy truly is an investment if it’s done right. 

Because everything you do to address SEO, if you’re following SEO best practices, you’re not doing any black hat type of crap out there. It’s an investment that is just going to build and amplify over time. I’ve gotta get that word in. What else? What might it do for you? 

Ian Cantle: It’s a, wait wait. What’s your awesome term? A force multiplier! 

Ken Tucker: There you go.

Alright. Paul, I don’t know if this is a myth per se, but I think it’s clearly a big point of confusion and that is that SEO and rankings are the same thing. Dig into that and unpack that a little bit for us and talk to us about whether they are or aren’t the same thing.

Paul Barthel: That goes back to something Ian said.

Bob tried SEO and it didn’t work. Maybe that’s because Bob hooked up with somebody from India with the free Gmail address that says, Guaranteed SEO ranking first page $50 a month! First of all, anytime there’s a guarantees first page on Google. That should be a red flag because you really can’t guarantee that.

But it goes back to intent. Yeah, they’ll get you on the first page, but they’ll get you on the first page for something nobody’s searches for it. So, if nobody’s searching for it, obviously think that search term’s gonna show up first page. The other thing, I don’t know, should I go into search intent and explain what that is a little bit?

Ken Tucker: Sure. 

Paul Barthel: There’s four types of search intent. First one is informational intent. That’s obvious. People are just looking for information. They’re probably not gonna convert, at least not on that search. They might down the road, but they’re looking for information on a product or service. Maybe they’re looking for information on different companies, different businesses, what they do. Maybe they’re looking for reviews to see if people trust this business. 

The second one would be navigational intent, and that’s usually they’re looking for a website or a specific product or service, and they’re probably not gonna convert either, at least not on that visit. 

The third one would be transactional intent. They’re looking to buy, this is that bottom of the marketing funnel as we talk about. They’ve done their research and they’re looking to buy. Those are the ones that are gonna convert. 

And then there’s commercial intent. Again, this is where they’re probably in the middle of the funnel. They’ve done some research and they’re not quite ready to buy, but they’re narrowing down their options, so to speak.

Your SEO, your website, your content, it has to fit all these different phases. And the reason I went into that is because, like Ken said, it may or may not be a myth, but content on your website has to be relevant to the search. Because there’s these four different types of intent, you need content for each stage of that. And that guides them from the top of the funnel to the bottom to where they convert. It’s definitely a myth in the sense, because we’ve all got these emails about we’re gonna get you on the first page, guaranteed and it, and we can do it for $50 a month. No, they can’t. And like I said, yeah, they’ll get you on the first page, but they’ll get you on the first page for something nobody searches for which doesn’t help you. 

Ken Tucker: Here’s another tip, Paul, you mentioned it at the very beginning of your discussion there. If you get an email, look at every sender that sends you an email, and if that sender is using a Gmail address, representing themselves as a business, don’t do business with them.

Paul Barthel: Or any free site I’ve seen ’em come from. Yahoo. 

Ken Tucker: If it’s not coming from a domain based email, that’s a big signal for you right there, that it’s a very one-dimensional or pretty contrived service that is probably not worth investing in. That’s an easy way to quickly tell. Open up the email, look at the sender, see what this email address is that they’re sending from. That’s a huge clue right there. 

Ian Cantle: Can I jump in, Ken? Just with regard to the connection between SEO and rankings, I like to think in analogies or word pictures. And, I always think it’s the equivalent of an apple tree. An apple tree farmer is doing all of the work. He buys the seeds, he plants the seed. He waters the seed, he fertilizes the seed. He attaches a rod to hold up the seedling as it’s growing. He protects it from the environment. But then as it gets to fruition, that tree gives you fruit, right? And so to me, all of the work that goes into growing that tree is similar to search engine optimization.

It’s all the work that goes into it. But then the fruit is the ranking, and then the eating of the fruit is the conversions. You get more customers and clients. It’s an imperfect analogy, but I always try to think what’s the simplest way to explain this to somebody because they’re tied together. 

You’re not gonna get the rankings without the optimization, but it’s hard for people to understand sometimes. 

Ken Tucker: But at the same time, you can get rankings without a whole lot of optimization. If you pick an obscure, never searched for phrase that you optimize around, it’s just not gonna do you any good.

So technically you can rank number one for a phrase. But is it the right phrase? So, to your point Ian and also Paul, as you talked about, it’s all about the buyer intent and the relevancy of what’s going on.

Ian Cantle: Industry, right? There was a time where certain industries were so far behind, right?

In SEO that there were powerhouses because they just happened to have a website before anybody else, and that was the one that Google looked at. But then once their competition started to invest, they lost their position, right? So there’s very few of those. In fact, I can’t even think of one industry that’s left like that.

Maybe there’s a very obscure geographic location where you could have a business and you have no competition and you might not need to invest much. But I bet the people surrounding that location even miles and miles, a hundred miles away would out rank you sometimes because you haven’t put the effort in.

Ken Tucker: I went back to the old early days of SEO. And I hope to God this still isn’t a prominent thing, but I know it is cuz we hear it from time to time. And that is, you really need to use your keyword phrases often on each and every page. And if you don’t do it six or seven or eight or more times, you don’t have a chance to rank.

So I asked Jen if she could talk about that. So here’s what she had to say. 

Jen Kelly: So using your keyword phrase often on the page. So what’s often? So you can use it a couple of times. I think in the, some of the research I pulled up was 1% to 2% per page per document that you have written out there. If you’re doing anything more than that, it’s considered keyword stuffing. And it’s the type of thing that Google can pick up on. It’s also the type of thing that a human can pick up on. You have to remember your, you’re writing and producing your content for a human to get to know and trust your business, your company, your product, and bringing them willing down the funnel to try and then eventually buy and hopefully repeat, buy and then refer your business.

So in order to do that, you need to be writing and producing and creating your content for a human not for an algorithm. And humans certainly know when a phrase is repeated more than once, more than twice in a way that upsets the flow of the written document. You’re gonna lose people. Not gonna sound very sophisticated.

It’s not gonna be a pleasure to read. It’s not worth doing, and you can get caught for it. So, use your keyword phrase one to two times. You could use it in the headline, you could use it throughout the body, you could use it in a subhead. If you need any kind of help with that. There is one tool that we use, Yoast, rhymes with toast. And it can scan your page or your blog and see how many uses of your keyword there is and make sure that you’re not overdoing it. And then if you’ve actually underdone it or not done it enough, it will help you. Give you hints a little bit. It goes if you haven’t used it before it goes [00:23:00] basically like a traffic signal. Like red is a problem, yellow is all right, but getting there green, get the green lights and you’re good to go. So, if that helps you to get started or to use it all the time so you understand how you’re doing with your keywords on content, I’d suggest you pick up a tool like that and there is a free version and of course a paid version for a more support as well.

So give that a try and I have to bust the myth. You should not use your keyword super often on your page or your documents. 

Ken Tucker: First of all, Yoast is a plugin for WordPress. So if you’re using another website platform, you’re gonna have to find another tool that’s similar to Yoast. But it is a great tool. It gives you a great guide, gives you instant feedback. It really can be a beneficial tool. I like the fact that Jen is always really good at articulating, really always two audiences for every webpage that you write. The humans and the machines or Google. You have to write for the humans. It used to be that 10 years ago, before the search engines became really sophisticated with their algorithms, you did have to give a lot of clues to say, use this keyword word, use this keyword. Here’s the keyword, here’s the keyword. That hasn’t been the case for a very long time. We all come across websites that were written 10, 12 years ago. They probably were written in that style.

Paul Barthel: Or two years ago.

Ken Tucker: Or that could be too, I hope that’s not as prevalent. But one thing that I do also want to just clarify when Jen was talking. I think she was talking about the usage within the body.

The body of the copy that is written on the page, you do need to have consistency in the page title and in the meta description, maybe the H one or similar phrases in other header tags for that, the keyword that you’re really caring about trying to get that page to optimize for. But within the body copy itself, you don’t wanna force it and overuse your keywords.

That’s where you’re gonna get into trouble, both from losing readers, because they’re gonna be like, what? What? That doesn’t even make sense. And they’re gonna get distracted. You’ve lost them, and they may just go somewhere else and the search engines are gonna look at that and say yeah, no.

Paul Barthel: Another thing is Google’s algorithm gets more and more sophisticated that can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it. But, the concept of keywords as a standalone thing is going away because they’re really looking at themes and concepts, and Google can figure out what a page or a blog post is about from the context.

I’m not saying that keywords don’t matter. They do matter to help you structure your content. But like I said, Google is really looking at themes and concepts more than keywords as a standalone thing. 

Ken Tucker: So Ian, that’s a good segue to you. Paul’s basically saying that we don’t need to use keywords anymore. No, that extreme. But that is a common thing that I think a lot of people float around out there anymore. Do you go along with the idea? Do you agree with what Paul’s talking about? 

Ian Cantle: No. I actually totally disagree with Paul and I totally disagree with Jen on some level. I read all the articles. I listen to what Google’s pros are talking about as far as how they say keywords don’t hold as much weight, and I actually think that’s misrepresenting the truth and here’s why. It’s true you should not keyword stuff. Idea stuff, and I’m not talking about unnaturally stuffing ideas into your copy, but what Paul said is true, but I think it’s also misleading and here’s why.

Google’s algorithm is getting much smarter and it is looking at topical ideas and what a blog post or a webpage is talking about. But here’s the truth. If you’re an accountant and you want people to find your accounting page, you’re gonna have to use the word accountant, accounting, different words that represent accounting within your copy.

 And, the reason why I’m so passionate about this. I kind of rail against this idea because I, and why I say it’s misrepresenting is because I’ve actually seen on client’s businesses where once we get into their website, we see what they were trying to rank for, and there was no content on that page related to that keyword, that topic, the idea.

And of course, if I were to rephrase, because I don’t think we actually are that far apart, the four of us, right? Is that the content on your page has to represent the idea, the higher idea of that keyword. So Google looks at synonyms, they look at topics, they look at ideas, but if you don’t introduce that into the page using the words that people are searching for, then you won’t get found.

It’s as simple as that. That’s my soapbox. But no, I think keywords are vital. I think they’ve just transitioned into, you take your keywords, you build them into a bigger idea and make it natural. I think that’s the biggest change that Google has done. Is it’s gone from searching for keywords to searching for the universe or the topical universe of that idea, the thing that people are searching for.

So to me, it’s still the same thing. It’s you just have to do it naturally, which you should have always been doing. Keyword stuffing was a fool’s play at. Win a game that was easily shut down by Google. 

Ken Tucker: Paul, I’ll give you an opportunity to respond here. 

Paul Barthel: I think Ian just said the same thing I did in a different way.

Ian Cantle: I just want to be really clear though, because I hear it all the time, Paul, in the industry. Oh, keywords don’t matter. Oh, here’s another blog article. Here’s another news item. Keywords don’t matter. Google says keywords don’t matter. It’s not true. 

Paul Barthel: I’m not saying keywords don’t matter, and I don’t think Google’s saying that. 

If you write an article about, okay, you used accountants, how are you gonna write an article about that topic without using that word? . 

Ian Cantle: And yet I’ve seen people do it because they do it so short and they don’t think about what is the search intent of the people looking for it. 

Paul Barthel: I agree with. But, that also goes back to thin content.

If you write a hundred word article, yeah, you can probably try to write about something and not use any of those keywords. I’m not saying keywords don’t matter at all, and that you shouldn’t use ’em. I’m saying that Google looks at more than that. 

Ian Cantle: I agree. 

Paul Barthel: Ken said 10 years ago, keyword stuffing actually worked.

Ken Tucker: Yeah. 

Ian Cantle: Yep. 

Paul Barthel: It actually did. Now it can get you penalized. Ian, I actually agree with you more than you probably think. But, like I said, I’m just saying that Google looks at a lot more than just keywords. Now they’re looking at topics and content and relevance. So I don’t wanna into the weeds about internal linking here, but they’re also looking at relevance between the different articles on your website as well.

Ian Cantle: Sure. 

Ken Tucker: Yeah, it’s all about relevance. 

Ian Cantle: Here’s where I still battle against the thought of keyword. I know we’ve gotten away from that a little bit, but keywords don’t matter. I think we’ve, we all agree that they do, but here’s the thing. How do you do keyword research? How do you research what people are interested in and find out the volume of searches?

It’s by keywords. Because people enter words into Google to find things. So to me, industry semantics about a term. It drives me nuts because I like words to mean something. 

Ken Tucker: I think it’s just the legacy of the use of the word keyword throughout the history of SEO. 

Paul Barthel: So voice search throws a whole other wrench into the works.

Ken Tucker: Yeah. 

Ian Cantle: Words that are spoken that are converted into digits, right? Like it’s, to me it’s still the same thing. It’s just nuances of the same thing. 

Ken Tucker: It used to be a very literal thing. And a keyword was one of the pieces of metadata that you put into your page on the back end to help tell Google this page is about this.

Ian Cantle: And you still do.

Ken Tucker: Well. Yeah, but most people think that Google doesn’t look specifically at that piece of metadata anymore in the same way that it used to. 

Ian, I absolutely agree with you. The keyword is the organizing concept about what you are writing about. And if you are writing about something, you ought to be using the words about which you’re writing.

I hope I used proper English on that. You can’t avoid it. As you guys both mentioned, you gotta look at semantically similar keywords. The search engines are smart. They figured out you don’t wanna just repeat and say the same phrase over and over again because that reads really robotically.

Dentist and Branford, Ontario. 

Ian Cantle: Oh, what? It’s Bradford. There is a Branford Ontario as well

Ken Tucker: Alright, alright. I wasn’t necessarily talking about your location. But if you read that in the middle of a sentence, if you’re looking for a dentist in Bradford, Ontario. Then the next paragraph down, it’s when you’re ready to schedule your visit with the dentist in Bradford, Ontario, it’s really artificial and really obnoxious.

So, that’s what I think we’re all trying to talk about is you don’t write that way anymore. You don’t have to force it that way anymore. People who do that, or if you haven’t touched a copy on your website for 5 or 10 years or longer. You probably have a lot of that and it’s probably not helping you and it may even be hurting you.

So, it’s thematically relevance that’s the critical thing. And in order to do that, you’ve gotta use the words that make up the keyword. 

Ian Cantle: Remember the day when people would build websites and they’d keyword stuff at the bottom of the page. There’d be like a white bar, and it was actually, you’d highlight it and there would be white text on a white background with the keywords. 

Ken Tucker: Right. Yeah. All of the keywords for the entire site.

Ian Cantle: That’s right. That’s right. Yeah. 

Paul Barthel: And Google will penalize you for that. They can actually pick up on that. 

Ken Tucker: Yeah. Paul, here’s another myth that we come across a lot. And this one really just breaks my heart because people are paying good money for this stuff and they’re thinking they’re getting SEO benefit and they’re not.

And that is syndicated content. They think that syndicated content helps with SEO. And by syndicated content, I mean there are these people who produce the same blog post article and share it out to dozens of websites. And it’s either automated and syndicated using automation, or there are companies who literally take the same article, copy it, and paste it and post it on the website, and they don’t change a damn thing, except maybe they do change like the location or something like that, but everything else is exactly the same.

So talk about this idea of syndicated content. 

Paul Barthel: Like you said, content syndication it’s republishing a piece of content. If done correctly, it doesn’t hurt you. It’s not gonna help your SEO, because there’s something Google refers to as the canonical source or the original source. If you’re republishing a piece of content, you’re not the original source.

From a search engine perspective, you’re not going to get credit for that. Keep in mind that content syndication is not the same thing as guest blogging. I think there’s some confusion there. Some people think they’re the same thing and they’re not. So if you share a piece of content or republish a piece of content and you give credit back to the original source, Google won’t penalize you for that. It’s just not really gonna help you from an SEO perspective because Google wants to give credit to the original source of the content. I’m not saying don’t do it. I’m saying don’t depend on it for, from an SEO perspective. 

Ken Tucker: And I would even say a lot of businesses that we talk to, and it seems like accounting firms or attorneys or industries where this happens all the time. It’s not helping you with SEO. Flat out not helping you with SEO as Paul explained.

Paul Barthel: It’s not helping you with SEO, but it can be beneficial to your client. If you’re an accountant or a tax attorney and there’s a piece of content out there that talks about something important to your clients and you republish that on your website. It’s beneficial to your client. But again, it’s not gonna help you from an SEO perspective. 

Ken Tucker: Right. Those are pretty technical fields. Medical would be another, and maybe even legally, or due to statute or laws that are on the books, there are only certain ways that you can say certain things. So sure, you’ve gotta do some of that from time to time. Just look at your analytics and see how many people are actually going and reading that content.

And as Paul said, it could be that it provides value to your website visitors. Just don’t expect it to help you get people on your website in the first place and make your website more findable. It has its place for sure, but justify the investment you’re making by looking to see, does anybody ever go visit those pages?

Paul Barthel: It might be one of those things that you would be better off putting that into an email newsletter and getting it to your customers or your clients. 

Ken Tucker: Yeah, absolutely. 

Ian Cantle: And the other option is there’s no reason why you can’t take great blog articles like syndicated blog articles and rewrite them. And why I say that is, Ken, you were talking about how in some industries you might even have trademarked things like in the dental industry you have Invisalign, right?

Which is one of the top clear align. And so a lot of dentists in the same geographic area will have Invisalign on their website and they’ll all be saying similar things. But if you do it in a natural way in which it’s fresh copy, that kind of stuff can help you. And you can certainly also take really great blog articles and rewrite them, have a writer rewrite them, and those can be extremely powerful.

Because the ideas are all there. It’s just you’re reshaping the ideas into powerful SEO. 

Ken Tucker: Yeah. The sad thing to me is a lot of people think they’re getting SEO when they sign up and they get this content fed to their website and they think they’re free and. And it’s oh cool, I’m writing a check for hundreds of bucks a month, but I’m getting this content on my website.

And if you think you’re getting it for the SEO value, It’s not.

Ian Cantle: I agree with you a hundred percent. 

Ken Tucker: It’s not happening. Yeah. Unfortunately, that’s the number one reason why people tell me that they pay for that stuff, and that’s not giving you SEO value. So, I think there are a lot of myths around, and that’s regarding social media.

So I asked Jen a couple of questions. One is that social media just flat out doesn’t help with SEO, but the other question I wanted her to address also was a common myth that you can just do social media and not do any SEO. So I wanted to get her thoughts. So here’s what she had to say. 

Jen Kelly: So another common myth about SEO, social media doesn’t help SEO, just do social media instead of SEO.

Before getting into the nitty gritty on that, that comes down to the age old warning about building your castle on rented land. As much as the social media channels, social media networks are helpful to connect, can expose your product or service to many different people, many different industries, a larger audience than you currently have.

At any one time, those platforms can go through changes that you may not agree with. That really impact your ability to promote that don’t fit well with your strategy. And they can do that because they are owned by somebody else. So even if you are a paid user on it, so for example, even if you’re doing social media advertising, you’re paying for access or to run ads on it, and you fancy yourself a customer there. Unfortunately, and they have proven time and time again that the folks on those social media channels are in charge and they will do what they want. With that for sure. Use social media as part of your marketing strategy and part of your marketing execution. What you always wanna be keeping in the back of your mind is, how do I get these people that I am meeting or exposing, how do I get them to come closer to me, back to my own areas? So how do I get them back onto my email list? How do I get them back onto my website so they get to know more about my company on my terms? That kind of thing. That’s why you would not want to use one over the other. With that social media can be great for a lot of different things, for sure, but just know that it is rented land and use it as such.

Ken Tucker: I think it’s interesting every time I go, and I haven’t done this for a couple of years because the whole covid situation, but when you get into a room with maybe a couple dozen people. Somebody in there is saying, man, I’m just killing it on social media. That’s how I get all my business, yada yada. And they’re like, yeah, you don’t need to be paying for SEO you need to do this. You don’t need to do that. We’ve all come across those people. If you network in any events, you’re gonna run across people. That is absolutely the exception rather than the norm. It is, as Jen said, it’s your building your house on rented land.

So if that was your strategy on Facebook two years ago, or four years ago, you were probably getting really good results. Today you may not be getting those same results because Google doesn’t give priority to the pages content. And if you’re doing it as an individual, it’s really not in the spirit of what you’re supposed to be doing on Facebook.

You’re not supposed to be selling through your personal profile on Facebook, and I know people do it. You might get some benefit. Obviously you wanna, you want to amplify what you’re doing through your personal profile because you’ve got a lot of completely different connections. But I think social is seen as absolutely an alternative to doing search engine optimization.

We’re all huge fans of Omnichannel. And we all know, we see this all the time, the importance of getting people off of social and onto your website. And there is an SEO benefit to that, and you have to do that by design. You’ve got dwell times. If you’re getting people to come read a blog post and they’re spending time on your website and they’re clicking through to other pages because you caught ’em while they were on social media and that’s how you got their attention, then it is important and has a lot of interplay with SEO.

I think social and SEO should be intertwined. 

Paul Barthel: Yeah. I TikTok, all you need is TikTok. 

Ian Cantle: The one thing I do see that does work on social, it not to replace SEO at all. In fact, the people that I see doing it are usually people already investing in SEO. Is generating enough goodwill with people that they’re getting referrals through social media. The social media channels. 

So part of that is your overall marketing strategy. Part of it is sharing content of value, which is an SEO strategy anyways, because usually the content you share is SEO optimized content from your website. Yeah, I think they can go hand in hand, but I would never see social replacing SEO because one is a qualified searcher buyer.

Which is SEO, because they’re searching for you. They came to your webpage because you ranked for that, and the other is very interruptive. You have no control really over what’s happening there unless you do paid ads. And then now we’re getting into the paid discussion rather than organic social. 

Ken Tucker: And actually it’s a hell of a lot of work. You have to do networking. You have to join local groups, you have to be parts of conversations. You gotta be posting interesting share worthy content and comment worthy content. That just doesn’t happen. It takes a lot of work and there are people who I think are just natively really good at social media. But it still takes a lot of work, even if a lot of people make it. Not a lot of people, but some of the people make it look pretty easy and seamless. 

So Ian, that does kinda lead to another question here that I wanted to ask you. Another myth that I’m starting to hear a lot from a lot of marketing companies and that’s that SEO’s just not as important as it used to be.

You got TikTok that’s come onto the scene and is now the site that’s people spend the most time on. Google is doing things to where you can’t even see the organic search results. Because it’s putting ads at the top and then it’s putting Google Maps at the top, which is fed by your Google Business Profile. And then you have to scroll to even be able to see organic.

And then when you see the organic, you got an article from some industry related aggregator. Could be Yelp. It could be a specific industry player like avo.com or Angie or something like that, where they write a top 10 list. So a lot of people have be their flippant answer is SEO’s just not important as it used to be?

What are your thoughts on that? 

Ian Cantle: Lies. Let me be clear people, that is a lie. And here’s why I know that. We have enough clients that we’re looking at the data. Every day, every week, every month we’re reporting on it just to lump them into two easy buckets for people to understand. Paid advertising is getting more and more expensive.

It’s really well documented. In fact, after Covid, a lot of people jumped on the digital marketing bandwagon, and the quickest, easiest way to do that is to pay for advertising. A lot of industries are now seeing cost per clicks going up pretty dramatically. We see it with our clients. Does it still work? Of course, it still works. 

On the organic bucket. I like to make it very simple for people to understand it. An SEO is intertwined with everything organic, so meaning your Google My Business, your directory profiles. I would even say some of your social media organic is related to SEO. If you’re using the content you produce for search engine optimization within those channels. 

To me the proof is in the data and the data is showing the lion share of good quality traffic and conversions, and the cost per conversion being much lower than paid options goes to organic. So if you can get search engine optimization running well for your business. You rank better on search engines. You show up more on Google My Business. You’re in directories. You’re using the content well throughout your different channels. The Omnichannels, you are going to see much better return on investment and ultimately that’s what it’s all about. You’re in business to get more customers, clients, and patients.

The cost per acquisition. You need to have your finger on the pulse of that, and it needs to be getting lower, not higher. So I think that’s where SEO works when done properly, when you hire legit good quality people, agencies to support you and who are providing real reporting on the results of what’s happening.

And I stress that, because I can’t tell you the number of clients I’ve taken over the accounts for. Where they show me the reports they were getting from their past agencies and they were horrible. They were what you guys were talking about earlier where they were ranking number one in Google for keywords that didn’t matter to anybody.

The search volume was so low, or the intent to buy was so low they didn’t matter. So SEO is absolutely important, and I think it’s growing in importance because the cost for other things are growing as well. 

Ken Tucker: We all approach SEO, it’s just simply a part of an integrated marketing strategy. Like you said, it’s Omnichannel, it’s consistency across messaging and platforms. All driven by good solid content, thought out. Organized, planned, monitored, optimized.

Ian Cantle: Your keyword, research driven. 

Ken Tucker: Yeah. Yeah. It doesn’t just happen by chance. And hopefully this has been helpful for everybody. I know we talked about a lot of different things. You guys have, any other points you wanna make?

Ian Cantle: I feel better. Thanks for letting me get it off my chest here. 

Ken Tucker: You’re welcome. Paul, you good? 

Paul Barthel: Yeah. I guess the only other thing I’d say is that a lot of the SEO myths. Grounded in things that used to be true. Like keyword stuffing. It used to work. It doesn’t work anymore. 10 years ago, Google had a problem if you had an accordion worth tagged content. Google had a problem picking up on that, that now they don’t. I think a lot of these myths come from outdated knowledge. 

Ken Tucker: And hopefully we’ve talked about this enough throughout this broadcast. SEO is not this one dimensional thing. It’s not just doing on page SEO. It’s integrating into the entire ecosystem of the web. And doing that with the highest relevancy that’s aligned with the searcher’s intent. When you can do that and execute on that, you’re gonna see really strong results. 

Ian Cantle: Give the people what they want, people.

Ken Tucker: All right, Ian, take us out. 

Ian Cantle: All right, thank you for joining us today. Like us, share us and then of course, keep calm and market on.


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