Leading four SEO misconceptions debunked: Director’s cut

  • 30-second summary: SEO is rife with myths and it is difficult to separate reality from fiction.
  • SEO and SEM, while complementary, are not the same thing and can not be approached the exact same way.
  • SEO is not a temporary or one-time adjustment– far from it.
  • Your SEO company, while rockstars are not superhuman. They can refrain from doing everything for you.
  • SEO outcomes are not instant.

Myths, what are they? To Joseph Campbell, “misconceptions are the world’s dreams. They are archetypal dreams and handle terrific human issues.” Ultimately, they serve as an avenue to understanding. While true for a lot of myths, this meaning breaks down when it concerns the concept of SEO misconceptions.

You’ve run into the fact that it is a fractured area if you’ve been in digital marketing for any length of time. Between full-service agencies, vertical-specific boutique shops, independent specialists, and more, separating misconception from reality when it comes to authoritative SEO guidance is a substantial obstacle.

While the variety of SEO myths out there are innumerable, I will nail down the 4 that I come across usually.

SEO myth # 1: SEO and SEM can be approached in the very same method

“If all you have is a hammer, whatever appears like a nail.”

There are many beneficial principles that can be taken from SEM and applied to SEO, looking at each channel as the same is an error. To start, consider this: an effective idea in the management of Google Ads is to enhance your use of negative keywords– keywords that you do not wish to show up for.

Since of how right away transactional and noticeable SEM is– you set a budget, produce an advertisement, and press go– it is common for people to carry that mindset over to SEO. Rather than thinking about what keywords are practical, those being available in with an SEM “predisposition” can bring a perspective that’s largely concentrated on what isn’t feasible. This is accompanied by the belief that as long as you continue to construct out what doesn’t work, what does work will increase to the top.

Sadly, this can stymie discussions around a project’s keyword research– the launch pad for all other SEO activities– and as you’ll see below, there isn’t a requirement to contextualize your keyword research study within what doesn’t work so long as you approach that research study from a sound SEO framework.

Keyword variations and match types

It is not unusual for Google Ads campaigns to target thousands of keyword variations across a handful of match types. This is done to ensure that you’re able to get in touch with your audience despite small variations in the ways that they may type and try to find a certain inquiry.

While an essential practice in SEM, this is not required in SEO. Tracking the rankings of thousands of keywords is something we’ve seen our customers do, if you try to target every keyword you can think of, you make it challenging to optimize and target for those that matter the majority of.

When done right, your keyword research study for SEO functions should be chunked out in “styles”. This process, referred to as thematic keyword research, allows you to boil down a semantic grouping into a handful of related keywords. This then permits you to focus your optimization efforts and in theory enables you to surface for all the keywords you would otherwise directly target in Google Ads.

Regular modifications to landing pages to enhance advertisement quality metrics

Another practice that individuals bring over from SEM to SEO is the frequency that landing pages are altered, states Victorious SEO Strategist Jenni Bojanin. In SEM, specifically advertisement platforms like Google Ads, these changes help improve advertisement quality metrics like Quality Score and Landing Page Experience, which enables a lower expense per click (CPC).

That said, regularly changing pages that are core to your SEO projects can trigger problems. At best, depending on how often online search engine spiders crawl your website, you could be making modifications that are never seen in the pursuit of metrics that use to SEO. At worst, you could be making changes at a frequent sufficient clip that it puzzles search engine spiders and adversely affects the indexation and categorization of the page itself.

SEO misconception # 2: SEO is a short-lived repair

“You should not drive over 50 mph and no greater than 50 miles with a donut-type spare tire. Driving for long distances on an extra tire can possibly trigger damage to other vehicle parts, including the transmission.” — American Automobile Association

Seeing SEO as a momentary fix to your digital marketing issues is like riding on a spare tire at speeds and ranges greater than recommended. It’ll work in the short-term, however after a while, you can end up doing higher damage than if you had actually approached the problem with a long-lasting view on fixing the concern, that is, a brand-new tire.

SEO is not a channel but the structure of all other digital marketing activities. As such, we have frequent conversations with prospective customers about how important it is to not see SEO as something you do one time to “tidy up” a site, but rather as something to preserve long-term.

To better contextualize this, I’ll cover 2 situations.

The first is a company with a big website with many individuals accountable for the maintenance of the said website. As a website grows in size, the number of individuals you require to manage it begins to grow in tandem. And as you include more individuals, the danger of things going awry and negatively impacting the website’s SEO grow too.

Now, let’s say you have a smaller sized website. Possibly you’re a solopreneur or a smaller mom-and-pop-type store. It’s reasonable to believe that with such a little website that the variety of things that can fail has actually got to be really little. That holds true, however only from the point of view of what’s happening on-site.

In SEO, the saying “if you’re stalling, you’re moving backward” is an extremely real thing. Just because there’s a relatively small possibility your site has egregious on-site issues, does not suggest your competitors isn’t continuing to develop out their site, both on- and offsite.

In both circumstances, frequently investing time and resources into your site’s SEO over, ideally, the life of the websites would prevent the two negative effects of “fast fix” SEO: missing out on outright issues due to a lack of having someone examining the site and becoming contented while your competition focuses efforts off-site.

SEO misconception # 3: Your SEO agency will handle everything for you

At my firm, Victorious, we view our engagements with our clients as partnerships. There are lots of things that a collaboration can indicate, but the idea that a partner need to handle everything for you is not one of them.

Just like a one-to-one human relationship, a partnership works best when both partners are engaged and committed to discovering methods to collaborate to attain shared objectives.

To much better broaden on this concept, I consulted a short article on Oprah Mag titled, “The Best Relationship Advice, According to Experts”. In it, I discovered 2 valuable analogs to how your relationship with your SEO agency must ideally work, which are:

Schedule dates to speak about your relationship

If you don’t put time on the calendar to consult with your SEO firm, you’re losing out on an opportunity to better empower them to deeply comprehend your service and its requirements. As much as you think the conversations you’ve had with them during your pre-sales and onboarding meetings must suffice, they’re not.

Your organization is progressing– probably daily. Your priorities will move and resources will change. If you’re not regularly updating your SEO company about these shifts and modifications, you can not expect them to effectively perform a method that eventually serves your business well.

Don’t expect your partner to be your BFF

Much like you ‘d be setting yourself up for failure by anticipating your partner in reality to be whatever for you– confidante, therapist, and so on– you’re doing the exact same by anticipating your SEO agency to handle and/or watch on all elements of your digital marketing.

When engaging with a company, be extremely clear upfront with what your expectations are and allow space for the company to push back on anything that would be out of scope. If you’re already engaged with a firm, be prepared to have open and honest conversations about your needs and comprehend that a few of those needs might not have the ability to be accommodated by the company.

And that’s ok. Let your firm do what they’re best at. Don’t try to fit a square peg in a round hole. Many companies will have recommendations or be able to point you in the best instructions to assist support the need you are looking to meet.

SEO myth # 4: SEO outcomes are instant

Not even Instant Noodles are instantaneous. Why would you think results from a marketing channel would be?

While it holds true that every site, both old and new, likely has low hanging fruit that could result in relatively fast wins, seeing continual and compounding SEO results takes some time.

Depending on who you ask, the SEO flywheel can take a minimum of three to 4 months and up to one to 2 years prior to any noticeable “self-propulsion” of the flywheel starts to work.

Why is this the case? And some exterior of your control since of the myriad of variables involved– some within your control. The leading 3 are:


If you’re participating in a competitive area like credit cards with a brand name new site, there are 2 elements of competition that you need to consider. The first is that a space like credit cards instantly provides itself to a great deal of online competitors given that they are frequently targeted towards across the country audiences, rather than local ones. That alone suggests that the number of websites you’re competing versus rise exponentially.

The 2nd element to think about is the kinds of companies you’re contending versus in the area you’re operating within. With credit cards, you’re going to be running versus a few of the largest companies in the United States, for example, business like Bank of America, Discover, and the likes. The larger the business, the most likely it is that they use SEO professionals, and for that reason the most likely you are up versus sites that are fairly well optimized.

Incoming links

In case you haven’t heard just recently, links continue to be a top-ranking aspect on Google. As a testament to that, Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, stated years ago in a discussion about the top two ranking elements beyond RankBrain: “I can inform you what they are. It is content. And it’s links pointing to your website.”

And this isn’t going to change anytime soon.

So, how do you determine the number of links you require to start surfacing on page among the search engine results page (SERP) of the inquiries you’re targeting? In an earlier short article I wrote for Search Engine Watch, “Five SEO tips that record holiday attention and increase sales”, I go over how to comprehend link acquisition needs.

The actions are broken down here succinctly:

  1. For your target inquiries, have a look at the number of Referring Domains (RDs) indicating the pages ranking in positions one through 5 for those inquiries. You can attain this through tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and so forth.
  2. Once you get the variety of RDs, average them.
  3. The item of this is the variety of RDs you realistically require to get into the top 5 of page one of your questions’ SERPs.


According to Victorious Content Strategist Ashley Cardell, when it pertains to SEO material development, a handful of things enter into play. Those things are content length, the search intent of the main inquiry the content is targeting, and the cadence at which you must be releasing brand-new content.

To find out your content needs, a good primary step is– evaluating the variety of pages your top natural rivals are ranking for. Ahrefs makes it easy. After plugging in the URL of the competitor you’re assessing, click “Top Pages” in the left-hand pane and search for the area that states the number of results, like the image below:

Based on this number– 8,393– you now have a loose target with regards to the variety of material pieces you would need to produce to accomplish “competitive parity” in terms of material footprint.

In Conclusion

Marketing is hard. With so many channels, contending internal interests and shared budgets, a shifting landscape, and ever-increasing goals, it’s easy to understand that you ‘d be lured to use the logic of a channel you understand to one that you do not understand. I wish it worked that method, too. Using that kind of logic makes you vulnerable to falling for the misconceptions of SEO.

SEO and SEM are as distinct as night and day. There is some overlap in between them, and they complement each other, however they are not the exact same. In addition, SEO should not be looked at as an one-time or short-term repair. It must belong to your long-lasting digital strategy. Within that strategy, it is very important not to anticipate your company to handle everything, but rather treat your company as your valued partner and expert. And most significantly, always bear in mind that when carrying out SEO into your technique, remember that results are not instant, and will take some time.

With the above, I’ve provided you things to keep an eye out for when approaching SEO with a mainly SEM background. But at the end of the day, these suggestions will not assist you if you don’t view SEO as a fundamental element to your general marketing mix instead of a “set and forget” channel. With SEO, take the long-lasting view and things will pan out in the end.

Houston Barnett-Gearhart is Director of SEO at Victorious.