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5 Things Most People Get Wrong About SEO

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When most people are first introduced to SEO, the idea of boosting your position on the internet often amazes them. However, many people have an oversimplified vision of how SEO works. In most cases, these ideas are based on outdated techniques and notions that are not only inefficient for modern digital marketing; these could also be disastrous for your website’s rankings. 

Whether you’re focusing on SEO for dentists, real estate developers or other industries, relying on hearsay and guesswork is NOT an option. 

If you want your SEO strategy to work, follow two rules. Rule number one is staying on top of the most recent SEO developments. Rule number two is not believing in misconceptions. 

In terms of the second rule, here are the five things people commonly get wrong about SEO.

1. SEO is a Scheme or Gimmick

The way most people talk about search engine optimization, it’s natural to think that it’s some sort of trick. Some “newbies” in the field may have been presented with the idea that SEO is a sequence of tricks designed to get your website to rank high on the search engine results pages (SERPs). 

This, however, is only partially true. 

White-hat search optimizers and local SEO services are not actively trying to deceive Google’s search algorithms. Instead, they’re figuring out which website content and features are more valuable to users and search engines. Most of the time, the results are well-intentioned and organic website improvements — not hacks, short-term tricks or spam. 

2. It’s All About Rankings

Many people will automatically think that rising in the search engine ranks is a sign of SEO success. But this upward movement will be in vain if your visitors do not convert into leads and buyers. 

With SEO, it’s not always about the rankings; other metrics will help you gauge your success. For instance, if you want to rank for the most expensive Starbucks drink, refrain from focusing on what rank your website is; what are the metrics surrounding it?

Focus on the factors that deliver organic search traffic growth: which pages people engage with, which keywords bring people in and which pages need more work. But more importantly, track conversions and determine the most efficient keywords. 

3. Google Penalties Will be the Death of Your Campaign

The way some people write about Google’s penalties, you’d think they were handed speeding tickets. On the contrary, the most severe penalties are due to manual actions; that is, Google responds to serious SEO sins that all webmasters stay away from. Temporary ranking drops often happen, but they aren’t always severe.  

If you follow the best SEO practices, you need not worry about Google penalties. 

4. It’s All About Links and Keywords

Keywords do play an important role when it comes to SEO. Also, links are important search engine ranking factors. But the approach to keyword research, as well as how search engines use them, has evolved over the years. So if you hear anyone talking about keyword spamming or keyword density today, then chances are they are outdated with their techniques. 

Search algorithms have evolved to read keywords and website context. This means they can detect manipulation, even when it’s subtle. If you’re creating your strategy or working with an SEO company, keyword research should be part of your strategy or packages. 

Content strategy is also important. It should go beyond aiming for keywords. A good content strategy focuses on reader engagement, as well as how to stay within a theme that promotes organic keyword insertion. 

5. SEO is Too Complex or Too Easy

Some newcomers think that SEO is too technically complex. It’s true that SEO has many technical components. To a first-timer, things like canonical tags and robots.txt file are intimidating. But even without a coding experience, you can still learn the SEO basics within a few hours. SEO is highly learnable, as long as you’re patient enough to master it. 

On the other hand, SEO isn’t too easy. You can’t do SEO without experience. You can learn many SEO concepts in an afternoon, but there are so many strategic directions and variables to remember. It can take years of practice before you earn the SEO master rank. You’ll need to keep up with the latest industry changes if you want to remain relevant.

Other Common Misconceptions Concerning SEO

Since SEO is a broad topic, it’s common for people to get other aspects of the optimization wrong. Consider the following.

The Less You Spend on SEO, the Better

SEO is a cost-effective strategy that guarantees a high return on your investment. 

Many SEO newcomers think the best approach to optimization is to spend as little as possible to maximize long-term returns and avoid risks. Low budgets, however, come with minimal strategic execution and amateur work. In most cases, it’s better to spend on high-quality services. 

Link Building is Spamming

Link building can be a spammy activity — if you execute it without strategic planning. Capable link builders know the tactic doesn’t focus on stamping as many links as you can. It’s all about creating valuable and relevant content that people would want to read. The content should include natural and informative links within the content to boost your search relevance.

In addition to creating compelling content, understanding the landscape of digital marketing tactics is crucial. For instance, strategies like improving online visibility through innovative marketing techniques, when executed correctly, can elevate a website’s authority and relevance in a crowded digital space. This approach, when combined with ethical link-building, ensures a balanced and effective SEO strategy.

The Process is Always the Same

One of the biggest SEO misconceptions is people think that SEO uses the same process repeatedly. Some people expect their SEO agencies to use a standard procedure and get the same results for all clients, within the same timeframe. 

The truth is that is impossible. SEO is an art and a science. Different clients require different execution methods, targeting strategies and investment levels to get comparable results. 

It Takes a Long Time to Get Any Results

Depending on the competition and research, you can get results quickly. Some articles can rank keywords within minutes. If you want your website to maximize the perks of SEO, get indexed by Google first. This means different indexing programs, such as spiders or crawlers, follow all links that lead to your website. 

Your website, pages and content are indexed and analyzed based on different criteria and algorithms set by different search engines, giving your website its ranking. Top SEO experts have techniques and tools that simplify the process and guarantee immediate results. 

SEO is Too Expensive

If you optimize your website, there will be a significant change in the number of visits to your website. If you can increase the amount of web traffic from people that are searching for your service or product — how would that benefit you? How many visitors can you convert into customers? What is their lifetime value? 

Keep in mind that making your website easier to find makes a huge difference in your company’s success. Organic traffic reduces your overall marketing costs. So scrimping on your SEO budget isn’t always the wisest decision. 

Level Up Your SEO Game

Instead of listening to misconceptions, it’s best to practice SEO according to recent trends with users and search engines. Also, a proper mindset of SEO protects you from getting SEO wrong. Remember, search engine optimization is optimizing for people in all the places your content and brand could possibly appear. 

SEO goes beyond nuts and bolts; it requires marketers and businesses to create brand experiences, using the search results to establish relevance. 

Contemporary SEO strategies require creativity to gain visibility:

  • Consider news and social content. Google News and social content are areas where you can improve your content’s visibility. In order to rank in these areas, gain a good understanding of your space, as well as how Google responds to a query. Not every query will show social content or news, so understand how keywords react in different ways. 
  • Consider what “People Also Ask.” The People Also Ask For is a search feature that involves content directly pulled with the search results. These are queries people use to search. Content from websites are also pulled into these results. Use this search feature to identify content optimization opportunities to target the audience you want to reach. 
  • Apply SEO to different platforms. Apart from optimizing for different parts of search results, apply different SEO methodologies to any platform that people use to search on. Some optimization opportunities could be:
    • Social media optimization
    • App store optimization
    • YouTube video and channel optimization
    • Vertical search engines and third-party sites 

In SEO, you have to be visible as much as you can. Use each part of the results to create better search experiences for users. Finally, assume that SEO swims in a much larger pool. Don’t just focus on search engine optimization; go for search experience optimization. 

It’s OK to make mistakes during your SEO journey. The key is to identify and learn from those mistakes. Then determine the best SEO practices to solidify your success in optimization.

About the author


Itamar Gero

Itamar Gero is the founder and CEO of SEOReseller.com, a white label SEO digital marketing solutions provider that empowers agencies—and their local business clientele—all over the world. When he isn’t working, he’s traveling the world, meditating, or dreaming (in code).