If you have been in the SEO industry long enough, you are probably familiar with the long list of myths and misconceptions on the subject. If you are not, this article will cover the top ones based on years of direct observation and engagement with business owners and marketers.
Myth #1 - SEO is complicated
Let's be fair; SEO is complex and challenging. The perception of how difficult SEO is, however, does keep many people from reaching the results their business could be enjoying. As a methodology, SEO is influenced by many factors and entails understanding various disciplines ranging from content to website architecture and public relations.
The Google algorithm is also in constant movement, and this is another fear trigger for many people.
While the above is true, it is also essential to understand that, despite playing a game of around 300 moving pieces, there are much fewer factors that have the most substantial impact on SEO results than most people imagine.
Looking at multiple projects across multiple markets, industries, and niches with varying levels of competition, you would be surprised to learn that most of the SEO work throughout a campaign is focused on a handful of fundamental principles and methods. The challenge undeniably is knowing which these methods are.
Furthermore, despite the Google algorithm changing every day (yes, that's right, sometimes more than once a day), the overall direction has always remained the same, and the goal of the search engine has also not shifted. If you can focus on creating value for your users, maintaining solid technical foundations, and slowly and surely building authority for your domain, your results will only improve over time.
It is essential to put your trust in people that know what they are doing. SEO is not the easiest, but many have turned it into a repeatable process that can be applied to any business, regardless of industry and market.
Myth #2 - SEO is too risky
The reason why SEO is considered risky is twofold. Without any doubt, no one knows the full detail of how Google algorithms work, not even the engineers working at Google (they only know the parts required to do their work). For this reason, no one can predict results, and SEO remains a bit of a black box.
Secondly, many SEO service providers know more theory than practice. This makes them good at selling SEO but less so in delivering it.
What happens then is that most clients tend to get the short end of the stick and feel like SEO was not such an excellent investment.
Furthermore, many SEOs need help to project what kind of results they can bring, and some also need help to measure the direct effects and connect them to business value. All this together makes SEO riskier because the investment cannot be thoroughly evaluated, and the rewards balanced against it.
The reality is that with enough experience, SEO strategy becomes a game of numbers. An experienced SEO could provide a tangible picture of opportunities available and existing competition, all based on numbers that indicate the time and resources needed to get to a projected ballpark figure in terms of results. This will never be 100% (ever), but it is more than enough for you to make a very well-informed decision.
You should also be able to estimate what the same traffic would cost if you had to buy it directly from AdWords and which is the best option.
If the SEO agency could then deliver that result and your site converts, and your products sell, the risk should be manageable.
Let's face it, SEO does involve gaming the algorithm a little bit. Those who never do, have a very long and expensive road to travel before getting good results, especially in competitive markets. Strictly speaking, any attempt to do SEO that goes beyond following Google guidelines or letting it happen alone is gaming the system since you are manipulating results.
While it is true that there can be risks attached to doing SEO, these are minimal when you know what you are doing. A good SEO approach focuses primarily on doing things right from a Google point of view to minimise risk and enjoy the rewards that the search engine gives to those offering what it is after. After all, as SEOs, we want to provide Google with what it is looking for, and in doing so, we help our sites get placed in the top spots – and stay there long-term.
There are, however, some tricks of the trade when doing SEO, and these can ensure quicker and cheaper results when done right, at very minimal risk. For most clients, these would not even be required, but others that operate in challenging niches or want to punch above their weight can mean the difference between success and failure.
Each client will have a risk appetite, which needs to be explained well and respected. A good SEO company can work with different approaches, depending on the scenario.
SEO traffic is directly impactful on your website sales
Another thing we hear often is that SEO is hard to measure. Many business owners avoid this marketing channel because they need to be more precise in measuring the results of their efforts and investment.
Sales and revenue are always great metrics for measuring your SEO results, but these are not always the best measures since they depend on other things apart from SEO or website traffic. Sales and revenues depend on the conversion rate between visitors and customers, which is influenced by a host of other variables ranging from the product offering to brand perception, sales techniques applied to the website and seasonality.
For this reason, your SEO campaigns might be doing perfectly well, attracting good traffic volumes for reasonable prices, but other factors might impede your sales. This would require you to correct these hurdles to drive better returns instead of changing your traffic generation strategy or tactics.
Therefore, better metrics are directly derived from SEO activities and impactful on the end goal, revenue. One excellent metric is traffic generated from well-selected search terms (those showing a solid intention of interest and relevant to your products from a topical point of view). This traffic is directly impactful on your website sales, and the higher it is, the higher your results.
To ensure that this traffic is of high enough quality, you can compare the conversion rate (rate of sales generated from your overall traffic) to the rate of your overall site traffic obtained from all channels. This only serves as an indication since different forms of traffic will have different conversion rates, but SEO should be one of the best for your site.
No one can guarantee a position for a keyword or set of keywords on Search Engine Results (SERPs). While a good SEO understands what gets good results and applies the principles so well that these results are repeatable and scalable across markets, languages and industries, the exact result is still unpredictable. In the same way, an investor can never predict with certainty the outcome of a stock over time; a marketer can never guarantee or forecast a specific position because, finally, only Google can decide on the exact results that will be ranked.
That said, seasoned SEOs can indicate significant results for your niche over an approximate period. At Websuccess, we have done this with 100% accuracy over the past few years, correctly predicting that a website can see significant improvements in traffic in as little as 2 to 3 months.