Here’s the deal. You’re a busy entrepreneur. You’ve got a lot on your plate. You’ve got deals in the pipeline. You’ve got things to do.
And then you’ve got SEO. And, since you don’t have much of a budget yet, you probably have to do it yourself.
It can be stressful. Why? Because all around you in the digital marketing world are people screaming “This is important!!” “Oh, and this is important, too!” “You’ve got to do this!” “Make sure you understand the algorithm changes!” “Watch this video!” “Read this article!”
Who has time for that? Not you. Your goal is to get your website up, get it ranking for the right keywords, and work to build your business, right? If that’s your jam, then there are a few things you can finally stop worrying about.
1. Stop Worrying About Number One Ranking
You want to rank number one, right? Of course you do. Everyone does.
SEOs have aggressively pushed the ranking issue for a long time. As it turns out, the issue is more complicated than just ranking.
First, you need to figure out what keywords you want to rank for. You’re not going to rank for head terms like “phone” or “computer.” Instead, you’re going to rank for longtail keywords.
Out of all the different keywords that people search for online, longtail keywords constitute the greatest percentage.
You want to be targeting keywords that are within that 70%. Why? Because when you do, you’re going to get the most targeted traffic — i.e., the users who are most interested in your product or service. You don’t have to have number one ranking to have a successful business. There are more sources of traffic and conversions than just visitors who access your site because it’s number one on Google.
Besides, ranking isn’t something that you can directly manipulate. Anyone who tells you that they can get you the number one result on Google is misleading you.
There are better things to focus on.
2. Stop Worrying About Link Building
Many SEOs finally recognize that link building is not the future of SEO. In the past, link building would directly benefit your site. Today, most “link building” practices are risky.
Building links is still possible, but doing so is inextricably connected with content marketing.
The practice of link building — safely and legitimately — takes enormous amounts of time and effort.
Link earning, however, takes no time and effort. Instead, it is a side effect of your other marketing activities — social media, blogging, producing great content, etc.
Most content marketers know that content produces links — relevant, high-quality links. That’s why they use the number of high-quality links as a KPI of their content marketing efforts.
But please understand: Link building is a result of content marketing. You don’t need to worry about link building. You should worry about content marketing.
3. Stop Worrying About a Cute TLD Name
The Internet has become awash in new Top Level Domains (TLDs.) like these:
There are hundreds of TLDs, and a huge percentage of them have been released just recently in 2015.
It’s tempting to spring for a unique URL with a cute TLD. However, doing so may not be the smartest move. Some have mistakenly thought that the new TLDs will somehow rank higher in Google.
According to Google’s John Mueller, Google’s algorithm treats all TLDs the same. You won’t get a ranking uptick in Google just because you’re using a TLD with .brand, or because the TLD somehow includes a portion of your brand name.
Most websites still use the traditional .com TLD, and that’s good enough.
4. Stop Worrying About Algorithm Updates
It used to be the only way to stay on top of SEO was to stay aware of all the algorithm changes.
If you were an SEO-savvy entrepreneur in 2012, you probably spent a lot of time chasing algorithm updates.
Recently, however, the algorithm changes have not had the same level of game-changing impact.
For example, the most recent update was Panda 4.2. The Panda update was a “data refresh” not a massive change. Besides, the data refresh takes months to roll out. The impact is not huge, and may hardly even be measurable based on the uncertainty of the roll out timeline.
There’s something more significant than search algorithm updates, and that is the updates to user experience. Google’s emphasis on user experience is what drives every recent algorithmic update.
Panda itself is a symptom of this emphasis on user experience since Panda is designed to reward sites with lots of high-quality content. The biggest recent algo shake-up — “Mobilegeddon” — was Google’s push for mobile-friendly search results.
Once Google released their mobile friendly update, the SERPs didn’t fluctuate wildly. Instead, there was a slight percentage increase in the SERPs for sites with mobile-friendly results.
If you stayed blissfully unaware of all of Google’s algo updates, you’d be just fine. Obviously, there’s no virtue in trying to be ignorant. But trying to stay current on every single algo change is probably a waste of your already limited time.
5. Stop Worrying About Keyword Targeting
SEOs love to talk about the virtues of keyword targeting, as if it were the holy grail of SEO.
That used to be the case.
Today’s algorithm is weighted towards features other than exact match keyword relevance. Take a look at the most recent Search Engine Ranking factors survey from Moz.
Is keyword targeting a ranking factor? Yes, more or less.
But here’s the thing about keywords. Keyword relevance happens naturally. It doesn’t need to be forced.
Besides, there’s more to a keyword than just that exact term. There are related terms. Here’s how Moz’s 2015 ranking report stated the issue:
We continue to see lower correlations between on-page keyword use and rankings. This could likely be because Google is smarter about what pages mean (through related keyword, synonyms, close variants and entities) without relying on exact keyword phrases. We believe matching user intent is of utmost importance.
You don’t have to give up on keyword research or anything. But you should be aware that keyword targeting and correlation is less important than it used to be.
6. Stop Worrying About Keyword Repetition
On the subject of keyword usage, the issue of stuffing should also be addressed.
Keyword stuffing was a big tactic back in 2012. You’d think we were done discussing it. However, very recently (August 2015), the issue has come to the foreground once again.
Now, the topic isn’t keyword stuffing, but keyword repetition. The question is “How much keyword use and repetition is optimal?”
A recent Whiteboard Friday video produced a helpful rule of thumb to answer this question:
95% of pages should have the following levels of keyword repetition:
- Once in title
- Once in headline
- Two/three times in content
- Once in meta description
The good thing is, keywords tend to take care of themselves. If you’re creating long form, relevant, high-quality content, it just happens.
Even though there are plenty of things you shouldn’t worry about, you’ve still got to keep your game high. SEO demands action, and unless you’re doing the right things, your efforts will yield few results.
Stressing out in the weeds of SEO can be a complete waste of time. Focus on making the best website you can, producing killer content, and engaging with your audience in the most appropriate ways.
What time-wasting SEO activities should a busy entrepreneur avoid?