The following are some common misconceptions I’ve noticed that non-technical people tend to have about search engines, and the process of gaining search engine exposure for their business. Clearing these up prior to any project is essential in order to realistically set expectations.
1. Misconception: Getting on Page One of the search results is a matter of having my website built by someone who knows SEO.
Reality: Even if a website is properly optimized for the correct search terms, it will always take some amount of initial and ongoing promotion to rank and bring in traffic. The primary effort in search engine promotion occurs in off page activities such as link building, and social networking.
2. Misconception:The secret of getting on top of the search engine results is knowing the SEO tricks.
Reality: There is certainly a lot you need to know in order to effectively market a website, however like any endeavor; results are achieved as a result of a lot of hard work. The conception that ”it is easy if you know how” is an idea nurtured by scam artists to turn a quick buck.
3. Misconception: Once my website is published to the internet, it should show up in the rankings right away.
Reality: It can take from 2 to 4 weeks for your site to show up in the search engine index, and another 4 to 8 weeks for it to be completely crawled and included in a way that you will achieve optimum results. If you are looking to compete with established websites, it could take months or even years before your ultimate ranking goals are achieved. This is because search engines “trust” established websites and “mistrust” new websites as potential sources of spam.
4. Misconception:Getting my website on Page One of Google will gain my website traffic and increase sales.
Reality: Getting on Page One of Google for an obscure search term like “Used car with red paint in Hayward California” is easy, but will not gain you any traffic or make you any money. On the other end of the spectrum, getting on Page One for the term “Car” is just not going to happen for a small or even medium size business. All “SERPs” (search engine results pages) are not created equal. The first step of any search engine promotion program is keyword analysis; finding the SERPs that are not only valuable, and also achievable given your marketing budget.
5. Misconception:If I’m on top of the search results for the terms I have chosen, I’ll be getting traffic and making money.
Reality:Many business owners choose keywords they think are valuable based on a feeling, perceived status, or some other superficial factor. As previously mentioned, keyword analysis as the first step of any search engine marketing campaign is essential, and will ensure that effort spent is the subsequent steps will be efficiently focused.Secondly, getting on Page One for the right search will not get you anywhere if your website doesn’t convert. Optimizing traffic conversion on an ongoing basis is an often overlooked task in maintaining search engine promotion campaigns.
The common thread in all of these misconceptions is the idea that there is a “magic pill” or a “free lunch” (or free search engine traffic). The reality is that it takes not only knowledge, but a considerable amount of hard word and patient effort to gain valuable internet traffic. So get to work!