I’m obviously a big fan of the tech side of SEO, I thought perhaps it was time to write something a bit more approachable.My head-scratching ended when I got an email from a potential client in the high tech sector, and within it was a simple and fairly logical assumption that can (and likely would) have dire consequences if not corrected.This led me to today’s article topic:three logical myths about rankings that can destroy a business.

Myth #1:All organic traffic is created equal
This premise has crossed my Inbox more times than I care to recollect.Here’s the core myth:If we double our organic traffic over the next year, we will double our sales.Now, this can be true — in fact, in some cases, doubling your organic traffic can more than double your sales.But one can’t approach SEOwith this idea as a core.Let’s take the prospective client, for example.They have site structure issues and a large documentation area and blog.The logic is that if you fix the site structure and internal link issues, you’ll start driving more traffic to the documentation and the blog, which is filled with great content.The problem, of course, is that this traffic is likely to be lower-converting traffic, so hitting the organic traffic targets can be done without hitting what really matters:conversions.To avoid myth one, the simple approach is to think about the various sections of your site, put a value on those different sections, and then create a formula to ensure that as you’re building out the strategy for the various sections of your site, you’re taking into account the value of that traffic.The lesson? Not all organic traffic is created equal, but there’s a simple way to figure out what the strategies you are deploying are likely to yield so you can adjust and focus according to your business goals, not arbitrary traffic goals.

Myth #2:It’s important to outrank your competitors
I can’t even count the number of times that I’ve been contacted by both clients and prospects with the statement,“Company XYZ is above me.We’re better than them, and we need to outrank them.”OK… let’s take a beat and wrap our heads around what’s really being said here.While the statement seems logical, what is actually being said is:Company XYZ is above me for the phrase I looked up.We’re better than them, and we need to divert all energies away from pursuing ROI goals and focus on one single vanity phrase.What we need to remember is that none of this is actually about ranking for a specific phrase.In fact, the goal of our efforts is not rankings at all, but rather revenue.I don’t know about you, but if there were higher revenue from ranking in position 21 than position 1, I’d be working hard to get all our clients to the top of page three.Let’s look, for example, at a phrase I was researching just yesterday, “best cpu 2017.”(Spoiler alert: I’m upgrading my machine.) Now, I immediately went to the #2 organic search result because it’s Tom’s Hardware, and I like the info (admittedly bypassing the featured snippet, which is also Tom’s, because I knew I wanted to read about the different options and applications).If I
were Tom, I’d be looking more at ranking for new phrases and perhaps researching the types of phrases that are losing ground than I ever would about focusing energies at a single position jump against a competitor ranking for a fraction of the terms.

Myth #3:Keyword tools are accurate
Bringing people into reality is often a sad but necessary task.A lot of potential clients include with their initial emails the incredible search volumes for the phrases they’re thinking about.Let’s flash back a few paragraphs to the part where I mentioned using Moz’s Keyword Explorer as opposed to Google’s Keyword Planner. Why is the former more realistic? It’s because Keyword Planner is built for AdWords traffic and generally produces numbers far above the number of unique searchers that would reach a result via organic. The Moz tool takes this into account and algorithmically (though not perfectly) adjusts for that to give numbers closer to organic reality.Now let’s make the scenario even worse (read: realistic).You might rank #1 at some point for your phrase, but it’s going to be a process.Let’s be optimistic, however, and assume that a year from now you’re ranking #3 and hold that ranking for the following 365 days.Instead of dreaming that every single person who runs that search (all 50,000/mth) are going to get to your site, let’s assume some click-through rate averages.Here’s what a WordStream study found for traffic by organic position:

A lot of mistakes get made before campaigns even begin, and most of them start with a lack of understanding of how keywords and rankings function.No matter how successful the SEO campaign is in regard to the rankings attained, if the principles and data that the efforts were based on are incorrect or misunderstood, then the results can be as catastrophic as if the campaign had simply failed.Following one guiding principle is all it takes to really avoid the biggest issues:understand what you want, and understand a path to that.Wanting more traffic in itself is not a goal; wanting more conversions and revenue is.


Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy. His expert knowledge on Internet Marketing practices and techniques has earned him the title “Internet Marketing Guru“ He is also an innovator, investor and entrepreneur widely recognized by the top players in the industry.