Top SEO Beliefs That Make Sense on Paper but Can Ruin Your Business

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a maze that looks insurmountable from the outside.  It is not surprising, therefore, that the average business owner with limited knowledge of the workings of SEO will believe assumptions that sound reasonable, like someone lost in a maze. In some cases, they act on these assumptions, to devastating effects.  What are they?

Doubling Traffic Leads to Doubling Conversions

There is no denying the fact that many businesses have doubled conversions in the past by seeking more traffic but seeing traffic as the sole enhancement for conversions is dangerous. It could lead to focusing on traffic-growth campaigns while ignoring other important aspects of conversions. By the time you recover from this, you may have lost ground to the competition massively. Increase in conversions is the result of an integrated approach to business growth. Increasing traffic by 100% may not yield any results if the traffic is irrelevant/low quality or if your website is in dire need of a user experience shake up. When there is a spike in irrelevant traffic, there will be a spike in your bounce rate, a blow to your current rankings.

You Need To Outrank the Competition

There is a common statement in SEO circles: “match and exceed the competition”. Many business owners take this too literally as they bombard their SEO desk with requests to “take over the competition on this keyword on page one.”  Unfortunately, diverting your resources into bettering the competition on ONE keyword or search term has never worked for anyone and it won’t work for you. “Instead of focusing on usurping that competition on that one search term, why don’t you keep resources spread evenly amongst the dozens of other valuable search terms?” asks Ben Smith at City Wide SEO.   “Keep in mind, page 1 rankings don’t equate to more click-through and conversions. In fact, the topsy-turvy nature of algorithmic changes means you will be better served ranking for 200 phrases that bring in 10 visitors a day on different pages on the SERPs than ranking for one phrase on page one that brings in 2000 visitors a day. One change to the dynamics and you could lose your page one status and all your efforts and investments.”

Monthly Search Numbers for a Phrase Determines Quality

When people are starting out on keyword research, they fire up keyword research tools like Moz’s Keyword Explorer or Google’s Keyword Planner and focus on terms searched tens of thousands of times. Does this sound like you? You are not entirely wrong but if you are basing your keyword research on volume alone, you may be missing the point.

Brendan Wilde, SEO Director at FreeParking, one of the biggest tech companies in New Zealand, says “Your analysis should not discount important elements like competition and click through rates. You may be better served focusing on a phrase with volume set at 10,000 per month and 50 websites as competition than a phrase with volume set at 500,000 per month and 1000 websites as competition; especially as you a start out”.

Secondly, even when you finally make your way to the first page, CTR will vary between 3% (for position 10) and 30% (for position one) according to Wordstream. So you should probably start toning down your forecasts to more realistic levels and keep focus on targeting as many high value keywords as possible to increasing your chances of ranking and collectively decent CTR numbers.  

Focusing on search volume numbers can also lead to poor calculation of ROI. Imagine thinking that you would get 10,000 hits for a term and basing your calculations on that and ending up with 900 hits. What will it do to your projections?

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