It's no secret that Search Engine marketing can drive significant amounts of very qualified traffic to a web site – as 85% of Internet users utilize search engines to find/research for goods and services. The problem for many companies is difficulty they face sifting through conflicting information and hyperbole! Here is my top five list of myths that need to be run to ground.
Big Picture Myth One – Search engine ranking leads are not as good as those which originate from other forms of traditional marketing (print, direct mail, PR, etc.) – this is absolute hogwash, truth is many agencies don't have a clue about s/e ranking, so they push their clients to ignore this form of advertising. They simply don't want to recommend anything they don't understand and/or utilize an interactive marketing vehicle that requires a blend of very specialized technology and processes.
We've in fact found just opposite when we've analyzed s/e traffic versus other types of leads for our clients; i.e. search engine traffic can be much better, as it is comprised of individuals who are actively seeking info, not just people whose curiosity has been piqued by an eye-catching publication ad or press release. And, when we've analyzed data by tracking leads via a landing page (on a web site) we've discovered that CPL (cost per lead) numbers can be much lower for s/e ranking than other more traditional marketing methods.
Big Picture Myth Two – Effective s/e marketing can be done in house – this is rarely case, sheer complexity and online competition (digital warfare!) for rankings makes this extremely difficult for most companies. Based upon our analysis over 73% of corporate accounts don't understand basic fundamentals; i.e. how to properly use keywords, meta tags and titles and worse, don't submit their web sites to top tier Directories (Yahoo, LookSmart, OPD) and hundreds of second tier directories.
Most companies delegate s/e submissions to webmaster or web site development staff and they just don't have time to understand daunting complexities required to generate page 1-3 rankings - or to stay abreast of shifting submissions and ranking criteria standards, as modified monthly by top tier search engines. And, in many companies s/e ranking is added to over worked webmaster's tasks purely as an afterthought – as opposed to being addressed formally by marketing department, with dedicated personnel and a budget.