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What is SEO in Digital Marketing? Debunking the 5 Biggest Myths 

What is SEO in digital marketing man using laptop for online search

So you’ve poured your heart and soul into crafting the perfect website.

It’s visually stunning, informative, and perfectly captures your brand.. 

But there’s a nagging problem – all you’re getting is crickets… 

Tumbleweeds…

And zero website traffic.

These days, a fancy website isn’t enough.

You need a way to stand out.

A way to attract the right kind of visitors – potential customers actively searching for what you offer.

And that’s where SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, comes in.

It helps people find your website by making it easier to find in online searches.

ahrefs says that 96.55% of pages get zero traffic from google.

What is SEO in digital marketing? Why should you care?

Put simply, SEO is the art and science of making your website more attractive to search engines like Google.

Here’s the breakdown: 

  • Search engines are like giant libraries with tonnes of information
  • People use them to search for what they need
  • SEO helps your website rank higher in search results
  • The higher you rank, the more likely people are to find your website

This means more organic traffic (visitors who find you naturally through search) and ultimately, more potential customers. 

But hold on a sec. 

Every Tom, Dick, and Harry seems to have their own SEO advice out there.

Some say “SEO is dead… here’s what you should do instead”, kind of BS.

And others in the past have said things like how keyword stuffing is the “holy grail” strategy? (Spoiler alert: it’s not.) 

Buckle up, because we’re debunking the 5 biggest SEO myths you’ve likely heard of. 

The 5 biggest SEO myths – busted

What worked a few years ago might land you in search engine jail today.

Here’s five of them in no particular order:

Myth #1 — SEO is a one-time fix 

What’s with everyone wanting a quick-fix, silver bullet, or magic solution to all their problems?

You see it everywhere. 

Diets. 

Get-rich-quick schemes.

Well, SEO isn’t like that. 

I’ll admit, I wish SEO had more predictability. 

Like you could add one dollar in and get three back. 

And when an “SEO guru” comes to you and says “here’s 100 high quality backlinks for $20”, everything you know about SEO goes out the window and you’re tempted to buy that golden ticket.

But it doesn’t exist.

SEO takes time. 

It’s more like building a strong reputation – it takes consistent effort over time.

SEO requires ongoing TLC

Search engine algorithms are constantly evolving, and so should your SEO strategy. 

Think of it like your phone; it needs updates to stay on top of its game.

SEO is similar. 

To keep your website on top, always tweak and adapt. 

Watch trends and adjust your strategy as needed.

Stay curious

New updates pop up all the time. 

The good news? There are free and paid resources to help you stay ahead of the curve and get updates as they happen.

The more you learn, the cooler tricks you can use to make your website actually profitable for your business.

Track and adapt

Don’t be afraid to peek under the hood of your website. 

Use the right tools to look for things that will help you see what’s working (more visitors) and what might need fixing (people keep bouncing off that page?). 

Use this info to find areas to improve. Then, adjust your SEO for better results.

Content is king (and queen)

Focus on creating informative and engaging content that helps your audience. 

Think about the problems they face and create content that solves them. 

This kind of valuable stuff not only attracts visitors, but keeps them coming back for more.

Myth #2 — the more keywords, the better

Remember websites from the early days of the internet, packed with keywords like a backpack bursting at the seams? 

Yeah, those days are over. 

Back then, cramming your content with many relevant keywords was a common SEO tactic. 

But search engines have gotten much smarter.

Keyword stuffing is now a major SEO turn-off.

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It’s all about User Experience (UX) now

While keywords are important, they’re no longer the sole ruler of the search engine kingdom.

Now, search engines care way more about user experience (UX). 

Google now considers how user-friendly your website is (think fast loading and easy clicking) when deciding your search ranking.

Think like your audience, not a keyword robot

Tools like Google Keyword Planner can help you find relevant searches. 

But don’t stop there. Think critically.

Instead of chasing keywords, I always begin by asking myself: 

What questions would my ideal customer have?

Pump those into ChatGPT to come up with more ideas around the topic and then do your research with your preferred keyword research tool.

It’s amazing how this simple exercise helps me focus on what my audience actually needs.

Make your keywords blend in

Once you’ve found some valuable keywords, sprinkle them throughout your website content. 

Do this in a natural way. 

Readers can sniff out forced keywords a mile away. 

And guess what, search engines aren’t any different.

Focus on giving value to your visitors

Remember, your website should be a resource for your target audience.

The goal is to have them coming back to the site the next time another question pops up.

Valuable content doesn’t just keep visitors coming back for more. 

It also tells search engines you’re a trusted authority (as you build your topical authority).

There’s so much hype around killer content and social media domination lately. 

It’s easy to be caught up by new trends. 

You might think that classic tactics, like backlinking, are outdated.

But don’t fall for it. 

Backlinks are still a must-have for climbing the search engine ladder.

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Backlinks still matter

Think of backlinks like online votes of confidence – the more you get, the more popular you become.

When a reputable website links to yours, it tells search engines, “Hey, this website legit.” 

This translates to a higher SEO ranking for you.

Churn out link-worthy content

Create high-quality, informative content that other websites would be happy to link to. 

What are the things that you yourself would be excited to share? 

In-depth guides, interesting reports, helpful calculators, even eye-catching infographics – all these can be link magnets for your site.

Build your network

Sure, “sliding into DMs” might get a chuckle, but in SEO, it’s practically encouraged. 

Connect with other website owners. Join industry groups. 

Send friendly emails like, “Hey, I’d loved your article on X and I was thinking of doing something similar. Did you ever consider X?”  

Making these connections can lead to natural backlinks. 

They also create opportunities for collabs that will help in the long run.

That’s why relationships are so important for SEO.

Guest blog like a pro

Offer to write informative articles for websites in your field. 

This makes you look like an expert, helps you reach new people, and gets you a valuable link.

Myth #4 – You need to be a tech whiz to do it right

Okay, confession time. 

Early in my SEO career, I thought I needed to speak fluent algorithm mumbo jumbo to get anywhere in life. 

I thought it was this whole thing about learning some crazy code language to talk to search engines.

To trick them or something to outrank everyone.

Turns out, you don’t need a computer science degree to master SEO. 

Don’t get me wrong. 

Having knowledge of the technical stuff is important. 

But that’s not all there is to it.

SEO can be for everyone

If I can do it, you can, too (you just might need a helping hand at the beginning). 

There are tonnes of resources that can help you optimise your website without needing to write a single line of code.  

SEO has become more about playing a strategy game – and there are steps that you can take to win.

Use the right (free) tools for your audits 

There are awesome free online audit tools like Screaming Frog, that can help you do your website check-ups. 

Are you using your keywords correctly? 

Does your site play nice with phones? 

These tools can help scan your website and tell you what needs a tune-up.

Learn your way, in your own time

Got five minutes to learn something new? Let’s be honest. We all do. 

A quick search can help you find  beginner-friendly tutorials (or even in-depth courses, if you’re feeling ambitious) that will help you discover little changes that you can do to improve your strategy. 

See our YouTube channel for free courses.

Don’t be afraid of technical jargon

Again, many essential SEO tasks, like keyword research and content optimisation, don’t need coding (but they sometimes just sound like they do). 

Most tools are easy to use. And, there’s lots of info online to help you understand even the trickiest terms.  

If you want to learn, you can master the basics – and use them to your advantage.

In my experience, most people just throw jargon at you to sound smart. Most of the time it’s simpler than you think.

Myth #5 – SEO is expensive

Let’s face it, budgets aren’t always bottomless. 

And if you’re a business owner, there’s real pressure to put your money where it counts.

Here’s the good news. 
While there are advanced SEO strategies that involve paid tools or agencies, you can still get great results with a budget-friendly approach.

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Cost-effective strategies can deliver long-term gains

Just like in everyday life, ask yourself what matters most and prioritise ruthlessly.

Invest your SEO budget wisely, and you’ll see results that keep on growing, month after month.  

You don’t need a bottomless money pit. 

Just smart planning and smart execution.

Create content yourself 

Roll up your sleeves and get to work. 

After all, you’re an expert in your niche. 

Share what you know and package them through content that will attract the right people to your product or service. 

There’s no shame in using ChatGPT to help you here.

Think “freemium” when you build your toolbox

Free versions can pack a serious punch. 

Start with those, explore their features, and see which ones become your BFFs.

As your website grows and your goals get bigger, you can always consider upgrading to paid plans.

I recommend using tools like Screaming Frog, Ahrefs Free tools, and others you find to do most of the work for you.

Keep hustling – ditch the myths and continue learning

We busted some of those myths to shed some light on what really matters for SEO. 

But here’s the thing…

SEO is more like a spontaneous road trip than a one-time destination. 

Search engines love surprises. 

New tricks and shortcuts pop up all the time.  

So staying curious and learning new things is huge if you want to keep up.  

Find the right strategy, pump out killer content people actually love, and keep going until you see results.

Marketing is never guaranteed. 

Test new stuff, learn from the results, and double down on what works.

Josiah is a multi-award-winning digital marketing consultant and former journalist for the Australia Times. He now helps 6-7-figure brands as a Fractional CMO to generate predictable leads and sales growth.​

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