10 Things You Know About SEO — That Are Wrong

It’s easy to get the wrong idea about SEO, because half of what’s written about it contradicts the other half. The Straight North blog strives to be a source of accurate information, because you’ll never have a successful SEO campaign without it. Here are 10 of the most popular misconceptions.

  1. SEO is all smoke and mirrors. SEO is complicated and often technical, but done properly it is based on data and systematic research.
  2. SEO is a magic bullet. The opposite misconception is also wrong. SEO takes time and usually a significant investment. For many companies, SEO is the primary and dominant form of Internet marketing, but seldom the only one.
  3. All SEO companies are the same. SEO companies vary widely in expertise, market focus, campaign focus (e.g., e-commerce or lead generation), organizational stability and experience. An SEO partner must be carefully vetted.
  4. It’s all about keywords. Keywords alone won’t cut the mustard. Content quality matters, and Google is trying hard to make quality matter even more.
  5. Keywords don’t matter. Nope, that’s not right, either. Based on the data, keywords still matter quite a bit. They cannot be ignored, though the use of keywords isn’t as precise and mechanical as it was in the early days of SEO.
  6. The more inbound links, the better. The sheer number of inbound links is less important than the quantity and quality of those links. Links from irrelevant or shady websites will hurt you rather than help you.
  7. SEO gets in the way of presenting our brand. Actually, the opposite should be true. Well-executed SEO-driven content and SEO-informed website structure should bring clarity to your communication and ease of navigation to your site visitors.
  8. Higher rankings are the highest priority goal. No. Obsession with rankings can take you far off track. What good is ranking highly on a term nobody searches for, or is not relevant to what you sell? Keyword targeting is a much more complicated affair. Learn more.
  9. More organic traffic is the highest priority goal. No, again. Having more organic traffic is good (from an SEO perspective) only if it generates sales leads.
  10. More conversions from organic traffic is the highest priority goal. While this is true for e-commerce websites, when it comes to lead generation websites, more conversions (phone calls and form submissions) doesn’t necessarily mean more sales leads. Many of these conversions can be triggered by inquiries for customer service, job applicants, sales reps trying to sell you services/products, spam or miscellaneous requests. Make sure you are measuring campaign conversions using qualified sales leads from your CRM software.

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