Misconceptions, myths and self-serving misinformation are common when it comes to Google’s Algorithm or search criteria for ranking websites. New marketers can easily become overwhelmed and confused by conflicting information, half-truths and pure myths about SEO and Google’s ranking policies.
Google claims the top spot among search engines since it wrested control from Yahoo and Webcrawler. The company processes most Internet searches, and entire industries develop on the basis of misinformation, fraud and myths that are designed to convince website owners that they need expert assistance to rank for Google searches.
Well, actually that last part is true. Searches, web design and digital marketing have grown complex and continually evolve, so restaurant owners can certainly benefit from professional marketing services. However, if a company perpetuates myths about Google’s Algorithm or ranking guarantees, you can be pretty sure the company’s not professional.
Top Five Google Myths
- You’ve Gotta Pay to Play
The biggest myth about Google’s search criteria is that you’ve got buy paid advertising to rank in generic searches. This idea is completely false and has discouraged many restaurateurs from trying to build websites or forced them into buying nonproductive advertising campaigns. Google, as the industry leader, has too much to lose by failing to provide even-handed and fair policies in its generic searches. Paid advertising, however, is the only way that you can be sure to get your name high on the lists, but these ads always appear in the shaded sections and not among the generic results.
- Google Has a Monopoly on Searches
Google surpasses Microsoft in searches, and another vendor could easily supplant Google. People’s habits change, and many customers are now conducting searches from their favorite shopping sites like Amazon, Facebook and eBay. Google’s biggest threat is the online shopping website where customers can search a vast database of products and services. For restaurant owners, this trend might mean that they need to be listed in the major restaurant-review sites and local directories.
- SEO Doesn’t Work Anymore
Pundits and so-called marketing experts have been broadcasting the death of SEO for more than a decade, but like Mark Twain once retorted, the rumors of his (its) death are greatly exaggerated. SEO changes constantly to keep up with technology, higher standards and providing searches that better understand the meaning of words and phrases. Some restaurants stop posting any kind of content because they think that the Panda and Penguin updates made content obsolete as ranking factors. In fact, high-quality content ranks better than ever. Changes in the Google Algorithm were designed to discourage poor writing, repetitive posts and using the same keywords in ridiculously high numbers in ways that made content unreadable.
- Link-Building Doesn’t Provide Real Value
Link-building remains an integral part of SEO strategy and building your company’s reputation. Website owners were confused about Google’s policies of weeding out broken links and links that websites associated with purely for SEO purposes. Google’s efforts always concentrate on finding websites that have real relationships with high-quality websites. Google weeds out the spam, unnatural links and wildly inappropriate links so that it can rank companies more fairly. Restaurants can always benefit by linking to authoritative sites that their customers appreciate like florists, wedding services, major hotels and entertainment companies.
- Guest Blogging Wastes Time and Resources
At one time, blogging exploded across the Internet and became one of the most popular ways for restaurateurs and other website owners to build links. However, many of these posts were published on multiple websites and became repetitive, and many posts were poorly written and provided little or no informational or practical value. Matt Cutts at Google started a campaign to target poor-quality and repetitive guest blogs that were just rewrites of existing Internet blog posts. Restaurants stand to gain good value from well-researched and well-written blogs about topics that interest their customers like sustainability trends, charitable and community causes, food trends and biographical information about cooking celebrities and restaurant staff members. If you write a unique and informative blog, customers will come, they’ll be happy and Google will use the post favorably in its ranking criteria.
Myths about Google will continue to develop, but professional restaurant owners don’t need to panic or worry about arcane practices and secret-society ways to get powerful SEO results. Google works hard to develop formulas that can determine the semantic meaning of keyword phrases and identify a browser’s true goals from his or her search history and other clues.
If you keep your website’s content fresh, responsive to all types of computing devices and linked to high-quality websites and content on the Internet, you won’t have to worry about myths. Google wants to empower well-designed and useful websites that fulfill their customers’ needs, so concentrate on those tasks, and you’ll get consistent marketing results. One thing’s definitely not a myth — Google favors websites that give searchers what they want.