Here are a few big misconceptions as I see them:
1. Web Analytics isn’t really needed for small company or non profit websites.
This is false. Any company which deserves a website should have tracking so you know who is visiting, what pages are viewed, what is downloaded, where are customers abandoning the sale, what works and what doesn’t etc.
2. Tracking traffic or optimizing on a few pages in enough.
This is false. Tracking just the traffic on the home page or just a portion of the website is like honking at the person in front of you at an intersection because they stopped. You only see that they stopped, but you did not see the little kid jump in front of that car. You only have part of the picture; not enough to make an informed decision. The entire website should be tracked as well as optimized for search.
3. Search Engine Optimization isn’t needed if we use Search Engine Marketing.
This is also false. SEO works in synergy with SEM. SEO may take as long as six months to see results whereas SEM can see instant results. The two work hand in hand though to drive traffic and conversions.
4. Search Engine Optimization isn’t needed for local or specialized companies.
All companies that have the need for a website need to be optimized for search. That is how many customers will find you. Even specialty stores such as Central Market in Shoreline Washington or Pierce’s West Side Market in Balaboo Wisconsin.
5. Search Engine Position reports alone (which are based on a certain time and date) tell me enough information to make good decisions.
This is false. Position rankings are important of couse because the higher you rank in the search engine results page, the more likely you will be found and visited by customers. However, Knowing where your website ranked on a given day at a given time is not very valuable because of several variables. There are browser choices and preferences, search engine choices and preferences as well as different data centers in different regions that are used dby the search engines to create the search engine results pages; all can effect the search engine results and provide different rankings to the searcher even in the same office, zip code or geographical region. So given when and where a search is performed, the rank could be different from what is reported. The person creating the report in one state and talking with a client in another state can be quite embarrassed when the client checks while on the phone and gets a different result. The next variable is that natural rankings can, and do change often based on when the Search Engine scrapes the web. Do I need to tell you that you aren’t the only person constantly tweaking and optimizing your site? When other sites are altered, tweaked, and optimized, there rankings will change in relation to yours. When the different search engines change their algorithms, your rankings will change as well.
6. Keyword analysis isn’t needed for offline campaigns.
This is false. Companies should optimize there website using keyword terms and phrases which are used in high profile TV spots, characters used in commercials or print ads, because those print, radio and TV ads can be memorable and maybe that is what a customer uses to search for your product or service online. This holds especially true for huge media buys such as for the super bowl. All campaigns should work in synergy to drive awareness, traffic and conversions to your brand and ultimately the bottom line.