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Top Expectations from SEO and What’s Wrong with Them?

In this article, let’s delve into the most common expectations from search engine optimization (SEO) and why some of these notions might harbor misconceptions.

“I Want to Rank on the First Page for a High-Frequency Keyword”

High-frequency keywords typically garner over 10,000 monthly searches. For those not well-versed in the nuances of SEO, ranking high for such keywords seems to epitomize the primary SEO goal. 

What’s wrong with aiming for the top spot with high-frequency keywords:

  • Traffic Quality: Deciphering a user’s actual query based on a one or two-word keyword remains unclear, making it challenging to understand their precise search intent (e.g., “construction” might be part of “building a doghouse with your own hands” or a “turnkey country house construction”).
  • High Bounce Rates: Directly stemming from the former, aiming for high-frequency keywords often results in a surge of search refusals, leading to increased site and server load, vast data for analysis, and ultimately, very low conversion rates.
  • Fierce Niche Competition: Securing a top spot—especially the top 3-5 positions—within a crowded space of 300-400 competitors vying for high-frequency keywords can pose a significant challenge.
  • Cost-Intensive Competition: Due to intense competition, including major aggregators, online stores, and informational sites, promoting on such keywords can become prohibitively expensive and lengthy, often verging on the impractical.

Expectations from SEO vs. Reality 

As always, you can choose only 2 out of 3.

“We Dislike Paid Search Ads, Let’s Replace Them with SEO”

A common desire is to substitute contextual advertising with SEO or vice versa—abandon SEO for paid traffic. Different traffic channels yield different returns on investment, leading to the idea of focusing solely on the most efficient channel.

Why this is a wrong approach:

  • SEO vs. Context: SEO encompasses more than just driving search traffic; it involves multiple facets of site conversion.
  • Long-Term Process: SEO is a time-consuming process, unsuitable for quick idea testing and instant results compared to other marketing approaches.
  • Challenges of Ranking: The intense competition for specific company-related queries often makes promotion for those queries economically unviable.
  • Search Engine Dynamics: Paid ads in conjunction with search engine services might relegate your top organic rank to the seventh position, drastically reducing your visibility.
  • Benefit of Multiple Spots: Having two spots on the first page—organic and paid—typically results in more traffic than just occupying one spot.

An optimal strategy might involve a combination of specialized placements with lower organic page rankings or guaranteed displays along with organic top positions based on SEO success. Aim for maximizing returns from ads or acquiring all available traffic.

“I’ve Heard SEO Generates Good Traffic. I Don’t Understand It; I Want You to Handle Everything”

As in any field, if you lack expertise but need to hire a contractor, specialist, or employee, it’s beneficial to consult an expert or understand the basics yourself. This can prevent misconceptions and potential deception from marketing service providers, who can vary significantly in credibility.

It’s optimal to work in a way that provides regular and comprehensible analytics and reports from your marketing promotion contractor. Track the relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your business goals and tie them to marketing activities.

“Expecting Traffic Growth – But Leads Are Dwindling”

“Traffic keeps increasing month by month, but leads are declining.”

“We Want Maximum Traffic. More Traffic Means More Sales.”

Overall, the statement is true, with a caveat on two fronts:

  • Traffic Quality: For a commercial website, interested buyers—not just visitors—are crucial. An abundance of informational traffic requires a separate strategy.
  • Landing Page and Site Quality: Driving traffic alone is insufficient; converting it into customers necessitates working on site usability (UI & UX), behavioral factors, tracking micro and macro-conversions, managing reviews, and more within the realm of SEO.

“We Need to Rank Before the Season, We Have Two Months, and Oh, the Site is Nearly Ready”

Unrealistic expectations pose a significant challenge within the SEO market. On one side are agencies and conveyor-type studios, while on the other are enthusiasts advocating for grey and black promotion schemes, promising top 3 results within a month.

SEO isn’t a magical wand nor should it be the sole focus. 

There’s always a chance a website might struggle to ascend to the top. Excellent paid traffic sources are available for quick results.

The most crucial thesis: SEO is a slow process, but its effects are long-term. Your site won’t lose positions overnight if you refrain from dubious schemes and services. Marketing, in general, should align with business goals. In this context, SEO is an excellent tool that, combined with other traffic channels, delivers outstanding results.

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