SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a topic that is often clouded in mystery. Part of the reason for this is the SEO industry itself with its over-reliance on jargon and unclear explanations. This, understandably, leads to business owners wondering if SEO is real or whether it is a myth. So, is SEO really worth the investment?
Let’s start answering this by looking at what Google says. Firstly, it doesn’t tell anyone how its search algorithm works, and it doesn’t give specific advice on SEO. Google does, however, give regular pointers on what it regards as important. Here are some examples:
- Google hates spam. In fact, it has a whole department whose job it is to ensure websites don’t get to the top of search results pages using spamming techniques. Over the years, Google has punished websites that are thin on content, that use link farms (a method of faking interest in your website), or that deceive the user by pretending to Google it has one thing on the page but then presenting something different to the user.
- Recently, Google has been very vocal about the importance it places on mobile-friendly websites. In fact, it now has a public policy of mobile first indexing where it prioritises the mobile version of your website.
- Speed has always been important to Google and it repeatedly emphasizes that the pages on your website should load fast. It even provides a tool which checks the speed of your website and highlights areas for improvement.
- Another thing Google often promotes is website structure and the importance of using recognised industry standards. This helps its algorithm – the computer programme behind Google search – understand what your website is about.
- The most important thing that Google wants you to do with your website, however, is to maximise the user experience. In other words, it wants website owners to concentrate almost exclusively on delivering exactly what visitors want. When you do this, Google will recognise it so will know to rank your website highly.
So, what does all the above tell you? Even though it only represents a small portion of the information that Google makes available, it still demonstrates the necessity of SEO. Therefore, SEO is certainly not a myth.
Is SEO a Must-Have That’s Worth the Investment, Though?
While SEO is not a myth, whether it is a must have and whether it is worth the investment are two completely different questions. Let’s look at the first one initially – is SEO a must-have?
That depends on whether you want to get traffic from Google. After all, there are lots of other sources of traffic to your website. If those sources give you enough visitors, leads, and sales, then maybe you don’t need SEO.
If you want people to find you on Google, if you want to get more traffic from Google, and if you want better-targeted traffic from Google, SEO is a must-have.
Now for the second question – is it worth the investment? This comes down to who you use as your SEO consultant. Most importantly, you need a team who understand how Google works and who have a track record of success.
So long as you have this, you will get positive results that will be long-lasting. That means your website appearing on more search results pages and/or appearing higher up the ranking. When this happens, SEO is worth the investment so is something you should consider doing.