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5 Common Misconceptions of SEO

More and more companies are using their web sites to attract new customers and encourage existing customers to make repeat purchases. Consequently, the topic of search engine optimization has sparked interest and excitement for many business owners. The SEO industry, however, suffers from some common misconceptions and myths. By clarifying these misconceptions, you will be able to make more informed decisions with your company’s web site.

Misconception #1: A good web designer is a good SEO expert. This is not necessarily true. As it turns out, building a beautiful web site and getting your site to the top of search engines are two very different skills. Believing a good web designer is automatically good at getting the website to the top of Google is akin to saying a plastic surgeon is automatically a good dentist. The overall field may be related, but these are two very different specialties.

Misconception #2: Most of the SEO work takes place on your web site. Many people may claim that they can improve your search engine ranking by optimizing your meta phrases, keywords, and other elements on your web site. While these techniques help, most of the SEO work actually takes place outside of your web site. The most important component of your ranking score is link building. In other words, how many quality web sites like your site, and decide to provide a link to your site to their customers on their web site? Getting quality web sites to recommend your site is often the toughest job, which is what your SEO experts should be concentrating the majority of their efforts on. If SEO were that easy and you can control everything on your site by playing around with keywords and meta phrases, then everyone would be doing the same thing.

Misconception #3: Every keyword has equal value. Imagine you talk to 2 SEO companies… Company A will optimize 100 keywords for you, and Company B will optimize 1 keyword for you. Both companies will charge you the same price. Which company should you go with? As you may have guessed, this is a trick question. The answer is that it depends on what the keywords are. Some keywords get a lot more traffic than others. Company A may optimize 100 useless keywords for you while Company B may optimize 1 keyword that gets 500,000 searches per month, in which case Company B is the better choice. Don’t be fooled by the number of keywords a SEO company offers to optimize for you. Look at how much traffic each keyword gets, know that the high-traffic keywords are a lot more desirable (and therefore more competitive and difficult to optimize), and pick the company that has a track record of optimizing highly competitive keywords.

Misconception #4: Good SEO can always be done cheaply. This myth is related to the previous one because many companies may offer to optimize a lot of keywords for you at a fairly cheap price. The problem is: how valuable are these keywords? There are a lot of relatively useless keywords that have no competition and don’t bring in any traffic. For instance, suppose you own an auto repair shop called AA Auto. How useful is it to be number one in the search results when people type “AA Auto” into Google? Well, if potential customers are looking for an auto repair shop, they don’t know your company name. Chances are they will type in “auto repair Redmond” or “Redmond auto shop”, not your company name. That’s why some keywords are more desirable than others, and not everything can be done cheaply. If you want to be at the top of Google for highly competitive, nationwide keywords, you should be mentally prepared to get what you pay for.

Misconception #5: SEO stops when your website ranking is high. If you have a low traffic keyword such as the name of your company where no one is competing with you to optimize the same keyword, you can probably stay at the top of Google for a while. However, if you are at the top for a highly desirable keyword, chances are there are 9 other people trying to optimize the same keyword. If you stop SEO once you are at the top and everyone else is advancing but you, your ranking will start to drop. That is why you should maintain your high ranking once you get to the top.

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