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The Internet is ruled by search engines. It’s essential to understand them, but that can require cutting through prevalent misconceptions about their performance. Don’t be fooled by these common myths.

Seeing Through SEO Myths

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1. A search engine optimization campaign can save a struggling company within days.

SEO is a strategy that requires advance planning and time to work. It’s not a magical potion that can turn your business around in just a matter of days or even weeks. It requires a carefully researched master plan. If done properly, you can usually start seeing results within six months to one year.

2. Ranking high guarantees better profits.

While rankings are one important metric, they do not ensure success. Rankings must convert to traffic which must convert clicks to sales. Rankings are one part of a larger picture.

3. When it comes to Google, you need to have a lot of content.

It is not just about the quantity of the content. Google is all about quality. In the past, website owners used to flood their sites with articles and posts larded with keywords in order to secure higher rankings. This backfired, however, after the Panda update because Google was moving toward a focus on the quality of content for readers.

4. Keywords need to have a general feel.

Rather than broad brush, catch-all words, highly specific words and phrases—known as long tail keywords or long tail search phrases—can yield better results. A good example of a long tail phrase would be, “buy a house in Jackson, Florida” rather than just “house Florida,” as the latter could open up a search for homes outside of the buyer’s market.

5. More links mean more conversions.

Not so. More isn’t always better. After Google Penguin, quality links—not just lots of links—attract people to click on your site. Rather than asking for links, include top-notch content that people will want to link to naturally.

6. Pay-per-click advertisements help your website rank higher.

Rankings are not directly correlated to pay-per-click ads, so don’t feel like you have to pour a lot of money into purchasing ads. Even though Google sells these ads, they are not necessary for strong SEO success.

7. You only have to pay a small amount to get into SEO.

Where SEO is concerned, you get what you pay for. SEO can yield huge returns, so don’t skimp.