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Recently I seem to be coming across a lot of popular misconceptions being churned out, both by business owners who have unfortunately been told or have read incorrect information, or even, and more worryingly; people who write about digital marketing or SEO in the mainstream or industry press. Below is a collection of my favourite online marketing myths, feel free to add your own in the comments.
Content is king
Yes, it is correct that all websites need good content, and ideally need good content being added on a regular basis. However the “content is king” mantra seems to have misled people into thinking that ALL you need to do for your marketing effort is to add what you consider to be good content. Content needs to be optimised, content needs to be linkable, content needs to be publicised, content needs to be linked to. Lots of great content remains ignored and unranked as it is passed over for more mediocre but better publicised and linked-to alternatives.
Build Multiple Sites
You have one website that’s doing very well, if you add another you’ll double that success. Add 10 new sites and you’ll be retiring in the next 12 months right? Wrong. Ten more sites will mean 10 times the marketing effort and budget, and ten times the cost. Having one site with 1000 pages of content on it with 1000 links will perform far better than the same content and links divided between two sites.
By consolidating content and links onto one domain you will increase that domains trust and authority, which will mean it’ll rank far higher than it would if the resources were split across two properties.
The only time I would advocate building more than one site is for strategic business reasons such as a planned sell-off. If you are running several sites for no particular reason, other than it seemed like a good idea I would certainly look at consolodating them.
E-Mail Marketing Is Spam
Spam is bad mmmkay? Don’t do it. EMail Marketing to an opt-in list that you have built as part of your brand will deliver a massive return on investment. Every company should be building, collating, segmenting and marketing to your customer data, it is a tremendously valuable resource. Avoid emailing people too often, and for heavens sake keep it interesting, useful and punchy.
All Sites Are Equal
Certainly in an SEO sense this isn’t the case. You’ll find that bigger brands can get away with a lot more than tiny start-ups. Older, more trusted domains with a higher authority can get away with using far more spammy tactics that would get smaller sites penalised. Google hasn’t exactly levelled the playing field with the Google brand update, which is rumoured to give big brands a rankings boost for certain commercial keywords.
Social Media Is A Fad
The rocket-like growth of social media sites has taken many people by surprise, online marketers, brands and PR agencies included. People react to change in different ways, some labelling the growth as a fad, something to be ignored. Others learn and adapt and have made millions in the process.
Social media is a fundamental shift in the way people communicate, used correctly it is a cost effective way of reaching brand advocates, consumers and influencers. Just because you haven’t worked out the best way of using, tracking, measuring and monetising social media for your brand doesn’t mean it’s not worth the time.
Rankings And Traffic Are Your Most Important Metrics
Checking your sites rankings is fine, and it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your traffic numbers, but are these your most important metrics? Probably not. SEOs and online marketers in my opinion spend far too long obsessing over rankings and traffic numbers, and less time learning about conversion rates, segmenting visitor sources, looking at link acquisition rates, keyword £ values and ultimately sales volumes. Not many clients will tell you they value visitor numbers over money in their pocket.
Search Engine Submission
No, just no. If anyone tells you that you need to submit your site to a search engine give them a sharp poke in the eye. Search engines have gone far beyond having to be told where sites are located and are quite capable of finding them themselves through links. It’s been this way since the 1990’s but the myth just won’t go away.
Magic Page Keyword Density
I keep hearing the same question asked time and time again about what the optimum page keyword density is. There certainly isn’t a magic mathematical formula for keyword % that will give you any kind of boost over your competitors.
It’s far more important to write for your visitors and intelligently use your keywords in certain places on the page – sure it’s logical that they should be present in the body text, but search engines will attribute a far higher weight to words mentioned in places like the page titles, image alt tags, headings, bold and italic text etc.
So is now the time to rush-off and convert your site to flash because it looks so lovely? Probably not. There are still many fundamental reasons why flash sites don’t perform as well in search engines as their HTML cousins. Problems with page mark-up, content not being on unique URLs, and doubts over crawlability all don’t lend flash sites to ranking well in search engines.