Separate facts from fiction..... 


There are many misconceptions about search engine optimization (SEO), and some have actually become established myths. Below are the top SEO myths that can lead business owners astray if it is not a part of the early discussions when starting an SEO program for your company's Website.


Myth: In-House Optimization is Cheaper
Fact: It is unrealistic to expect someone with many other job functions to do a credible job of SEO. Much of the skills are acquired through experience, and it is also not usually desirable to have someone "experimenting" with the company Website (especially considering that certain techniques can get sites penalized on search engines or banned outright). When deciding whether to outsource SEO or do it in house, it is important to consider the actual costs involved.


Myth: It is a One-Shot Deal with Submission Software
Fact: Submission software promises the world, but how can software get the same kind of results reputable vendors provide for a fraction of the cost? There is no way software can identify proper keywords automatically or optimize and modify your Website content and HTML coding. All the search engines have specific submission guidelines that change like clockwork. It is not a one-size-fits-all, and no software program can customize and update to the degree required for maintaining top listings. This belief is still widespread today, even among many respected industry professionals.


Myth: SEO Leads are Inferior to Traditional Media Leads
Fact: This is the opposite of reality. SEO leads are the most qualified leads you can get because people searching for products and services on search engines are in "action" mode ready to buy - either from you… or your competitor. Search engine traffic is qualified because visitors initiate the search with a purpose, making these leads targeted and more valuable than those from the "broadcast advertising" methods used by traditional media. In many ways, it is more effective.


Myth: SEO Traffic is not High Quality
Fact: Ideally, it'd be nice to have an integrated marketing campaign with TV ads, direct mail, email newsletters, radio, and search engine marketing, but not everyone can afford this. When your marketing budget is limited, the place to start is with SEO. A properly optimized site can produce targeted leads and sales within a short time period. Studies have shown that search engine traffic is equal to or better than traffic from more expensive traditional advertising sources.


Myth: Guaranteed Top Rankings or Your Money Back
Fact: Money-back guarantees are worthless in search engine optimization because results and outcomes are always unpredictable and ever-changing. New submissions are always being added to databases, changing rankings continuously. The bottom line is technicians simply cannot control the search engines.


Myth: You Need Listings in Thousands of Search Engines
Fact: Submission software and emails claiming to "Submit your Website to 5000 (or 10,000) directories and search engines" will get you listed in many FFA (Free For All) engines. FFA listings are not only worthless, but are seen as unethical in the eyes of the search engines, and don't begin to compare to directories and engines like Yahoo! and Google. A likelier result is your name will get put on email spam lists. The top 10 search engines account for the vast majority of search traffic (studies vary from between 85 and 98 percent). In addition, engines do not like submissions done by computer programs (because of the excessive use of resources and the general low quality of the pages they usually receive in this manner), and many of the most popular search engines have taken steps to make automated submissions impossible.


Myth: Once You Achieve Good Rankings, You Are All Set
Fact: Search engine optimization requires trial and error and regular maintenance every week, every month, and success is short-lived. Today's top rankings will change tomorrow; sometimes, rankings change on an hourly basis. Maintaining keyword positioning requires constant monitoring and tweaking. It cannot be guaranteed, and results are not permanent once achieved.


Myth: SEO Doesn't Give a Good ROI
Fact: This is actually a falsehood. The ROI for SEO is excellent compared to other traditional advertising and marketing methods. Marketing Sherpa case studies also illustrate this by comparing the results of banner ads, direct mail and SEO. With SEO, you get better conversion rates, lower cost-per-click, a greater targeted prospect reach, and lower acquisition costs.


Myth: Professional SEO is Too Expensive
Fact: SEO has proven more cost-effective compared to TV and radio commercials, direct mail, email marketing, and newspaper and magazine advertising. For instance, SEO deliverables are half the cost of keyword banner ad campaigns, and SEO provides a specific, measurable return on investment.


Myth: All SEO Services are Alike
Fact: Services and pricing vary widely, but so does the level of expertise, experience, ethics, and certification. SEO is striving for ethics and standards, although there will always be a some questionable SEO providers. Ask your provider to define all online marketing services, pricing, contracts, maintenance, and reporting methods. Verify the provider's experience and proficiency by interviewing past and current customers, asking for keyword ranking reports of customers and reviewing these popular SEO myths with them. In addition, find out what, if any, unethical or illegal tactics they may use while performing SEO on your Website.


Myth: You Can Save Money with Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Programs
Fact: A PPC campaign can be expensive without effective cost management, basic PPC know-how, and ROI verification. Some visitors avoid sponsored listings because they consider them irrelevant and tainted. In the short term, it is true you can save money with PPC. In the long term, this is false. Why, you ask? Organic SEO is preferred by searchers over 5 to 1 to PPC. People trust organic searches to return more targeted, relevant results. People also know that the ads to the right of the page are sponsored ads. They have long ago figured out that anyone can bid on any term they want, as many often do, without even a hint of relevancy.


Myth: All Web development companies know how to do SEO, and should already be doing SEO on Your Website Alongside Web Design
Fact: Actually, many Web development firms (while they may offer SEO as a service) are clueless on how to properly set up and maintain SEO for their clients. Unfortunately, many of these well established companies use business owners' ignorance and lack of SEO knowledge to lure them into thinking the firm knows what they're doing. Months later, clients end up losing out, with no increase in traffic or keyword rankings, no reports or knowledge of what has been going on, and having lost hundreds to thousands of dollars on a misguided SEO campaign. Look for Web development firms who partner with other more reputable SEO companies that specialize in the field.

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