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Popular SEO Misconceptions

     -     May 24th, 2013   -     Accounting Marketing, Accounting Websites, Search Engine Optimization   -     0 Comments

As website marketing has become more popular in accounting marketing there are a number of misconceptions that accountants and accounting marketing professionals have about SEO. The good news is that most firms now understand the value of website marketing. Let’s face it the days of having a static website that speaks only to a firm’s service capabilities are gone. Executives and other decision makers have changed their purchasing process and rely on the web like never before to learn about and identify vendors. They want to see if the firm has thought leaders, is involved in the community (professional and otherwise) and are making intellectual contributions to the industry. In short, they are looking for information on why they should make a connection.  Unfortunately, while most firms are embracing website marketing and SEO there are a number of popular misconceptions running rampant that are preventing firms from reaching full potential.

 

Dispelling the Myths

Below is a brief list of misconceptions that I commonly encounter. Like all misconceptions if followed they  will result in less than optimal results for your website marketing efforts.

  • SEO is Just Keywords – A popular misconception I encounter on a regular basis is the belief that SEO is just about keywords. You might be surprised by the number of people that believe just selecting keywords and uploading them to the website is all you need to do to generate leads from your website. Actually this is simply not true (at best it’s a partial truth). There are several components to website marketing of which keyword selection (while important) is only one. I try to explain it in the following manner. When a store opens for the first time they invest in advertising and promotion to attract customers to the store. Radio advertisements, newspapers ads, and maybe even a local flyer.  These actions are needed to attract people to the store to “check out” the products and make a purchase. Keywords work in the same way for website. They are advertisements that allow users’ online find your website. However, the sales process doesn’t end with the initial advertising. There needs to be something for the user when they get to your website. Engaging content and information that speaks to a situation they are facing. So it’s essential for success to understand that keywords are part of the initial “advertising process” and not the all in all of website marketing.

 

  • SEO is a One Time Process – Many firms think that conducting SEO when they launch a new site is the only time they need to invest in the service. Often times when I speak with accounting marketers and partners that are perplexed why their website is not generating more leads. After some initial questioning it turns out there was some SEO conducted when the site was launched but nothing has been done since. The truth is that SEO is an ongoing process and not just a one-time service. Of course it is possible to have initial success with the SEO strategy outlined above, but long term success is a result of a continuous ongoing SEO program. Let’s face it a firm without ongoing SEO is not going to be able to implement a link building program, develop geographically focused landing pages, and will likely not have many effective conversion strategies. The point here is that SEO is not what the Ronco Rotisserie sales people used to say when selling their high powered oven “set it and forget it”. That’s the worst thing you can do for effectiveness.

 

  • Focus on SEO After the Website is Built – Often times when firms are redesigning their website they are aware they need to make it SEO ready. The reality is that a web design firm that is worth anything should be able to produce a SEO ready website. But what does this mean? SEO ready? Unfortunately, most firms really don’t understand SEO ready and have expectations that are not realistic or cannot be met. For example, we work with a firm that recently had their site redesigned. The web designer told them the site was SEO ready. However, when the client retained us to develop and implement a SEO strategy they found out the site didn’t have the flexibility to allow them to implement the program. While the site was SEO ready, meaning meta tag information could be added to each page, there was a lot of needed functionality that was never built. Why? Mainly because the firm didn’t know to ask for it and as a result the web designer didn’t create it. For example, the homepage is the most important page on your website. Theoretically this is where your best content should appear, may be updates, breaking news, etc. If the site is not designed to allow you to make changes to the content on this page then there is a serious problem. How will you be able to change content to highlight the latest news. The firm will either need to hire the designer to make changes or have them add the functionality. In either case the result is an unneeded expense. Another example is what is called a  SEO footer. Firm websites should have an editable footer that appears on the bottom of every page where keyword rich information can be added (and edited) on a regular basis. Again, if this isn’t built into the site the result is an added expense. When speaking with new clients I give the following example. Not considering SEO in the design phase of web development is like building a house only to install the plumbing once it’s complete. In order to have an effective website you need to consider the SEO functionality you will need beyond just meta-tags. So this means really understand the essential elements and functionality the firm will need long term to properly manage a SEO program. There are many good articles on the web about this topic and I encourage you to read them if you are considering a web redesign.

For some reason it seems that overnight a whole breed of SEO “experts” emerged on the web. While not all are giving ineffective advice, I think it’s important to closely examine the advice you are taking. I have searched several technical topics and received two contradictory opinions from two so called “experts”. So I understand it can be confusing. At a minimum, understand that the three items mentioned above are not truths. They are at best partial truths and at worst completely false. When contemplating a SEO program for your firm please be sure to avoid these common misconceptions.


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