When you use words like PPC and SEO, to some people, you may as well be talking speaking in Egyptian hieroglyphics. Most people don't understand what they mean, and, quite frankly, many people just don't care. They don't want to know "why" something works, as long as it "does" work. For that reason, there is a ton of misinformation out there regarding SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising. While we don't have the space to touch on all of them, here are some of the most commonly misunderstood myths, and where they go wrong.
1. Google Will Eventually Rank Your Site For You
For some reason, there are a lot of very naive and idyllic webmasters out there that believe SEO is simply a matter of time and chance (and a whole lot of luck). They mistakenly believe that by simply uploading a whole bunch of links to Google's system, it will inevitably crawl their site for them and reward them with solid SEO juice. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Google strives to perform its search functions in the exact same way a human would; if a living, breathing person would click on this link, then Google wants to show it to them. By simply putting a few pages on the web and praying to the Google gods to find them, webmasters are wasting their time down an endless hallway of futility.
2. The First Position On Every Page Will Always Return the Most Revenue
Don't get me wrong, every single person on the planet that has a business online wants to be in the number one slot: it's where most of the traffic comes from, and ergo, most of the potential customers. Don't believe me? A 2013 study by Google found out that the average top position of results garnered 33% of the clicks, while the second result dropped to a measly 17% (source: https://searchenginewatch.com/sew/study/2276184/no-1-position-in-google-gets-33-of-search-traffic-study). But what you also get with all that extra traffic is a whole bunch of tire-kickers - people that are interested in information, but not necessarily ready to buy. While the traffic is nice, targeted traffic is far better, and paid ads are one of the best ways to generate it.
3. SEO is a One-Time Thing
The internet is an ever-evolving, developing ecosystem that is constantly changing, which means, if your business is going to thrive, it has to evolve as well. Gone are the days when you could simply upload an article and hit autopilot, now you have to constantly be checking, rechecking, and checking again to make sure that your content is still relevant. Even in the most simple of websites, such as local retail outlets, a semi-regular SEO checkup still needs to be in order, if for nothing else to make sure that your links are still active. By the way, this also applies to PPC advertising as well. If you're not monitoring your campaigns, you are absolutely losing money. No two ways about it.
4. Quantity Over Quality
Some PPC experts will tell you all day long that one of the best things you can do is dump a whole truckload of keywords into your campaigns, and then let them ride as long as possible. While this isn't a completely terrible strategy at the first, it's only efficient if you monitor which ones are performing, and getting rid of the ones that aren't. Keywords that are not returning a profitable return on investment may be destroying your bottom line. One alternative suggestion is not just to get rid of low-performing keywords, but to turn those into negative keywords, or keywords that do not show your site when people search for them. Follow this link to get started with negative keywords: https://blog.kissmetrics.com/using-negative-keywords/.
5. The "Silver Bullet" Keyword
Call it the idealist in us, but most of us believe that if we can simply rank for one magic keyword, then all of our hopes and dreams will magically become true. An online tire outlet, for instance, would love to rank for the word "tire," but with all the competition out there, it's probably not going to happen. There are two key problems with this mentality: (1) it overemphasizes the amount of return you'll get from one keyword, and (2) it causes you to ignore the hundreds or thousands of other phrases you can rank for to generate traffic. Instead of one magic keyword, focus on generating a high amount of quality traffic from long-tail keywords, which generally return more targeted traffic in the first place.
6. You Should Copy Your Competitor's Ads
No kidding, I have actually heard this phrase come out of a so-called "guru's" mouth: "Just look at what your competitors are running, and take some of their phrases. If it works for them, it'll work for you!" Not necessarily there, sport. Just because a particular copy is working for your competitor does not mean that it'll work for you, nor should you expect it to. They probably have a different audience, and copying their work will only make you look like everyone else, instead of making you stand out. Moreover, you don't really have any idea if that ad is working for them anyway. Most companies have dozens of ads (if not more) at any one time, and the one you saw may be a complete dud. Instead you should take the advice of Falcon Digital Marketing and make sure you are putting the right advertising message in front of the right audience at the right time. (source: https://falcondigitalmarketing.com/ppc-management-services/) This strategy is unique to every customer and can't simply be copied.
7. SEO is Not as Effective Anymore
There is a partial truth to this myth, though the repercussions of believing it can be catastrophic. What Google hates is keyword stuffing that creates nonsensical and garbled pages that serve no purpose and reward their readers with absolutely nothing. That type of SEO is long-gone, but relevant, targeted SEO is still very much alive and well. One of the strawmen that SEO "experts" point to as proof that search optimization is over is found in Google's Answers box. If you've been online recently, you've most likely seen the box at the top of every search query that gives you an automatic answer to whatever search it was that you started. Readers don't have to actually go to those sites anymore, they claim, since they have their answer right there in front of them. This is just simply not true. A recent report by MozCast calculated that only 4.9% of all searches deliver an answer box anyways (source: http://mozcast.com/features), and nearly 3/4 of all answer boxes had a link inside them anyway, which users often clicked on to find out more information. So don't believe the people that try to tell you that intentional SEO is dead; SEO is still very much alive and well.
8. All SEO is Black-Hat
Many people equate SEO tactics on-par with sorcery; after all, the only way you could rank on the first page is by selling your soul to the devil, right? Wrong. Sure, there are some unscrupulous beings out there who are trying to game the system through bad links that are stuffed with keywords, but the successful ones are few and far between on this. In fact according to a study done by SEOJet, only 3% of links pointing to top ranked sites are exact match keyword anchors (source: https://seojet.net/blog/build-backlinks). Most successful website operators focus on rewarding readers with relevant information that they need. They optimize their content for social shares. They increase accessibility by improving site speeds. They deliver content to the right audiences, and let their loyal followers take it from there. That's how you rank at the top: by being relevant and solving problems.
9. Google is the Only Ad Platform Worth Utilizing
First off, a lot of digital marketers would argue that, in this area, Facebook is king. Although you could make a decent case with that line of reasoning, it's still much better to utilize both to their maximum capacity in order to reach a broader group of people. But where some people go off the rails here is by crying out that platforms like Yahoo and Bing either don't have the tools you need to reach your audience, or that their search engines don't return a very positive return on investment. To argue either point is to ignore the monumental strides Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines have taken to shore up their infrastructure. In some cases, not only are Yahoo and Bing right on par with Google, but can even be better. Use them all.
10. Social Networks Don't Help SEO
While it is true that shares on Facebook or followers on Twitter do not actively help SEO rankings, that's a far cry from assuming that either network is totally useless when it comes to SEO. For instance, Social activity helps greatly with discovery and indexing your site for future searches, and, most immediately, it also helps with distributing your content to a wider range of relevant readers. This person reads your content, likes it, and then shares it with other people who like it as well. A solid social media campaign not only can help get your content seen, but discovered by the type of people that could end up becoming your loyal customers.