The 7 Most Common SEO Myths Debunked

For those that are still hesitant to give SEO a chance, here are a few reasons to give it a try.

learn more about Alexandra Tachalova

By Alexandra Tachalova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

With search engines, social-media platforms and content-recommendation services all touting their pay-per-click options to instantly boost traffic to your website, search engine optimization (SEO) sometimes gets forgotten. But it shouldn't. SEO can provide a huge benefit to entrepreneurs – even if the results aren't immediate.

For those that are still hesitant and come up come up with countless reasons to not try it, I am going to prove they aren't true. Here are the top seven objections debunked:

1. SEO doesn't work.

Did you know that 44 percent of customers begin their purchase by using a search engine? This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. After all, search is the fourth top Internet activity in the US, beaten only by social media, email and video.

Related: Here Is How to Get Customers With Limited Funds

And this traffic converts. According to one report 57 percent of B2B marketers admit that SEO has the biggest impact on their lead generation goals (source). Another report found that leads generated from search are eight times more likely to close into customers than outbound leads (source).

What's more, research shows that users tend to ignore paid ad listings and click on organic results instead.

2. SEO is expensive.

When hiring SEO you pay for expertise and physical execution on a multitude of complex tasks:

  • Researching your industry, market and sales trends.
  • Conducting a competitive research.
  • Finding keyword terms that can bring the most relevant traffic.
  • Optimizing a site.
  • Building links
  • Monitoring and results analysis.

Each of these tasks takes time and effort -- and there's just no SEO without them. So while you do need to pay for someone to implement these tasks, keep in mind that SEO keeps bringing results long after you finish a project with the person.

Now compare that with a continuous (and increasing) Adwords cost and you have a winner.

3. I'm doing business the traditional way. I don't need SEO.

Let me answer this objection with a tweet by one of our weekly SEO chat participants:

A1: "80% of U.S. consumers consult online reviews before making a purchase" ("Everyone's a Critic," @BillTancer). #semrushchat

— Kristi Kellogg (@KristiKellogg) January 28, 2015

Eighty-six percent of US citizens used the Internet daily last year, according to a report. And a majority of website traffic originates with search engines.

Even if you estimate that a tiny percentage of them would be interested in what you sell, that's a huge number anyway.

Not promoting your business online means that you're missing out on possibly one of the biggest opportunity to grow your business.

Even worse, you're giving it away to your competition.

4. It takes too long; PPC is faster.

Yes, this is true. Pay-per-click (PPC) does brings instant results. Your site can start receiving visitors almost the minute you launch your campaign.

Related: 4 Great Tools for Making the Most of Local SEO for Your Business

SEO on the other hand needs to build your site's authority before you can see any results. But keep in mind:

  • PPC requires constant investment. You have to keep paying every time someone clicks on your ad.
  • Cost-per-click increases all the time. That's the nature of the bidding system. If you want to continue to have your ads visible on top spots, you need to keep outbidding your competitors. They in turn will be doing the same and the vicious circle closes.
  • More people click on organic ads than paid listings. We've talked about this already.

SEO on the other hand brings continuous results without increasing cost.

So yes, SEO does take time but once established, but it keeps producing results…for free.

5. SEO will require me to change my website.

Entrepreneurs may need to change their website to improve SEO, as poor design, confusing structure or weak content will hinder your efforts.

So can slow loading time for instance. Just take a look at this data from KISSmetrics. A one second delay can reduce conversions up 7 percent.

Lack of schema markup, or microdata that makes it easier for search engines to separate and analyze information from your site, might not cause any problems with your rankings. But it's a missed opportunity to increase organic click-through-rates.

Without a well-optimized site, it won't matter how much effort your SEO puts into the campaign: It will fail.

6. SEO changes too quickly.

It's true. Google changes its algorithm couple hundred times a year.

But most of these changes won't affect your website's rankings. In fact, you won't notice most of those updates, even as a user.

There are however certain ones that can have an impact your site. It's the SEO expert's responsibility however to ensure your site doesn't get penalized. They need to use white hat techniques and follow Google's Webmaster Guidelines at the very least.

So the real challenge in overcoming changes in SEO isn't in not doing it at all. Rather it's in hiring the best SEO who can deliver work to a standard that overcome any algorithm changes.

7. SEO can be automated.

It might sound ridiculous that I, as an employee of an SEO software development company, am telling you this, but SEO can't be automated.

Automated SEO is a spammy practice that has nothing to do with managing and synchronizing dozens of processes of every marketing department.

Don't believe anyone who says that everything can be done in only one click. If you are ready to spend your time and money on SEO, make a smart investment in both human resources and toolkits.

Related: Why SEO Is Much Easier Than You Think

Alexandra Tachalova

Digital marketing consultant

Alexandra Tachalova has worked in digital marketing for over six years. She is a digital marketing consultant, helping makers of digital marketing tools to open new markets and boost sales. Previously, she was responsible for advancing SEMrush's brand presence in European markets. Tachalova is a frequent speaker, and you can find her at all the major search industry events such as BrightonSEO, Ungagged, SEOzone, SMX, SEMdays, and many more. 

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