Debunking SEO And PPC Myths

Paid Media Advertising, Search Engine Optimization

Digital marketing is a misunderstood industry that fosters a lot of doubt, which usually results in the circulation of confusing and damaging rumors. PPC and SEO are two crucial digital marketing tools that are unfortunately frequently shrouded in mythology and bizarre rumors. We thought we’d go ahead and debunk the worst of the worst, so hold onto your butts.

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Tackling the Mythical Beast of Digital Marketing

Unfortunately, these digital marketing myths exist largely due to a lack of understanding of how Google works. Making viral content that drives millions of website visits isn’t easy. Sure, big corporations have flashy online marketing campaigns and iconic social media personalities (looking at you KFC), but they’re paying $100,000+ per month for those. Coupled with a lack of faith and interest in proven digital techniques, these famous campaigns breed myths about how small business SEO and PPC actually works.

SEO isn’t Magic

SEO is not black magic, it’s a science/art that requires active tasks and maintenance by an expert SEO service. SEO is not a “set and forget” technique, it’s an on-going effort to improve the authority and rankings of your site’s content. The only way to see significant results is to implement an ongoing, thoughtful SEO strategy to keep your business’ website and blog fresh and engaging.

If you don’t prioritize SEO, Google will kick you to the curb with all your hopes and dreams. But in the end, not all SEO works the same. Despite being frequently overlooked, quality has a massive effect on digital marketing success. Ultimately, good SEO may be an expensive investment, but a good agency will stay focused on maintaining a positive ROI (wink wink nudge nudge).

Keep in mind though, SEO works differently across all industries and business sizes, and some have much more online competition than others. The effect that SEO has on your business is completely dependant on your relationship with an agency. Professional help will allow you to focus on your work without having to worry about writing content, updating your online listings, adding site schema, and so much more.

Wax On/Wax Off is Not an Option 

Like SEO, there’s a prevailing rumor around PPC that you can “set it and forget it,” but pay-per-click requires frequent monitoring and optimizations to create solid results. You need to have a team of experts bidding on keywords, monitoring statistics, testing new ad copy, and watching your competitors.

Before we can optimize your Google search ads, we need to have a chat about keywords. Many assume that you need to be #1 for a specific keyword, but it’s not a competition—the real winners are the friends you make along the way. Obsessively aiming for the top gets you nothing but an expensive, unnecessary bidding war.

The best practice is to bid on a variety of keywords with clear user intent to cast a wider net. Don’t forget to bid on your own branded terms! Just because you’re already #1 in organic search, doesn’t mean you don’t need to bid on your own terms—this is a dangerous myth. Why? Your sneaky competition can get ahead of you by bidding on your name and branded terms. Anyone who finds you organically will see your competitor’s advertisement above your own organic listing.

Yes PPC works faster than SEO, but it’s definitely not immediate. Often you won’t see much traction within the first month after launch. PPC works best after a minimum of 3 months, so you’ll still need some patience and a copy of War & Peace. Google takes time to roll out ads, and it watches how users interact with them to determine their quality, which affects how much you have to pay for them. How can you get there faster? Does Google take bribes? A higher ad budget can help Google accumulate data more quickly, but you still need to give the account time to build momentum.

This is Why I Have Trust Issues

While there are a slew of myths circling SEO and PPC, there are a few that hold a sliver of truth. Don’t get your hopes up though, it’s a short list. 

Bad SEO is Still SEO

Even with bad SEO, Google may give you a temporary bump. Your content may not make it to the top of SERPs (search engine results pages), but it’ll still rank for random keywords; on the other hand, good SEO will determine exactly what keywords you should include to improve your standing. It takes a bit of time to climb the SERP ladder, so when you sign on with a new agency, don’t expect to see results immediately. SEO is an investment, not a bandaid or quick fix, so it’s important to understand that it works gradually.

PPC is Fast, But it’s No Usain Bolt

PPC can be fast, but it’s not a miracle tool. PPC can work for short term campaigns, but you need to set a specific plan with your agency. Some insist that PPC is not the right channel for their business, or that they don’t have the budget for bidding. The businesses that claim that PPC isn’t right for their model may be addressing issues around target audience accessibility—some businesses do better with paid social media ads than PPC. With any marketing strategy, the goal is to find out where your target audience hangs out, create campaigns with a positive ROI, and then keep pushing.

You Can Let Go of Your Butts Now

We hope that this little crash course in SEO and PPC myths helps you make informed marketing decisions. We know myths can be annoying and ubiquitous, but the best way to combat them is through education.

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About the Author

Nick Footer

Nick Footer is an entrepreneur and founder of Intuitive Digital, a national award-winning digital marketing agency in Portland, Oregon. With over 15 years of experience, he has helped hundreds of businesses improve their online presence through search engine optimization, paid advertising, and website design.

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