SEO myths, missteps and magic

As tempting as it sounds, SEO will not deliver instant results. No keyword tricks or tweaks will boost your ranking overnight. SEO takes time.

“You can’t just wave a magic wand and make rankings appear. There’s a lot more to it,” said Adam Levine, Senior Manager, SEO, Appian Corporation, speaking at the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit SEO panel headed by Capitol Communicator Maryland editor Jeffrey Davis of Baltimore PR firm JD/PR.

More than tech and keywords: “There’s a common misconception that a technologically sound site that is optimized for keywords is more than enough to get you to rank well in search,” according to Bari Friedman, Associate SEO Director with REQ.

Just set it and forget it? One myth Mather Group’s Josh Green hears is that you just create content and you’ll magically see those rankings and traffic. “That’s the start of all the abandoned company blogs that we see today. It doesn’t really work that way.”

Ironmark’s Lynne Kingsley summed up SEO this way: You can’t *just* do the tech part of SEO in isolation. It’s like a garden, you have to cultivate it. If something worked a few months ago it isn’t necessarily going to work today.

Tips from the MAMS panel:

SEO missteps to avoid: Not deleting (or at least updating) old, outdated content; going for quantity over quality when writing site content; only writing for the bottom of the funnel. Don’t obsess over algorithm updates.

How about some do’s? Create intent-first and people-first content. “Content that is made for people, by people,” Friedman said. Human experts must write the content, not an AI bot. What topics should they cover? Ask your sales team what questions the prospects are asking. Then write content that answers those questions and solves a searcher’s intent.

SEO tools the experts use and recommend: Follow Google’s E-A-T recommendations (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness). Is meeting a searcher’s intent outweighing E-A-T in ranking factors? One panelist’s research says yes, so intent is where your content focus should be. Use Semrush to check keywords and intent, analyze backlink profiles and for technical SEO audits.

A deeper dive: Interlink pillar pages and topic clusters to create a semantic architecture. Leverage Google Trends and historical keyword data over time to inform messaging and what to pursue next. Warning: AI-generated content will likely harm your ranking.

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