It’s understandable for people to have certain misconceptions about SEO – quantity beats quality, keywords are what matter most, and content marketing is what now reigns supreme. 

But these misconceptions only become an issue when they lead to a lack of interest or investment in SEO, especially because they’re all untrue. 

In light of this, here’s five common arguments against SEO, and how to rebuff them when they threaten to affect your marketing efforts. 

Other tactics create more traffic and conversions

No matter whether its PPC, social media or email marketing, the most common argument against SEO is that other tactics drive more traffic and conversions. But its important to bear in mind that success can be achieved through any channel, as long as there’s significant investment. 

What’s more, different marketing channels serve different purposes. For example, social media doesn’t lead the way when it comes to conversions – its more for top of the funnel awareness and engagement.

Last but not least, even when SEO and organic search doesn’t convert as the last click, it usually assists in the process. SEO is always going to contribute to the bigger picture in some way. 

Ads now dominate the SERPs

It’s fair to say that design tweaks to the SERPs in recent years has given precedence to advertising. However, a lot depends on the SERPs you’re actually looking at.

SERPs featuring bottom funnel, high cost keywords are inevitably going to be ultra-competitive with more ads than most. In cases like this, SEO might not have much value because organic results are pushed down really low. 

But it’s interesting to note that Varn Research once revealed 60% of people when they see ads on the SERPs don’t even recognise they’re ads. On top of that, data from Jumpshot says that only about 2% to 3% of all search clicks go to PPC.

“So how can these things coexist? Well, they can coexist because the vast majority of searches don’t trigger ads,” says Kameron Jenkins, a digital marketer who specialises in content marketing and SEO. “A lot more searches are informational and navigational more so than commercial.”

Organic drives the wrong kind of traffic

Sure, organic can drive a great deal of traffic to your site, but usually it’s just branded traffic. If users are searching for your business name, they already know about you and are going to visit your site no matter what. 

Having said that, there are numerous occasions when websites actually rank for non-branded terms that they were completely unaware of. This is when it makes sense to go into Google Search Console, look at non-branded queries and see what’s driving traffic. 

If you pay attention to your audience, know the ways in which they search and what terms they’re using, you can attract highly qualified traffic that’s more inclined to convert. 

SEO takes too long

In many respects, this is fair enough. SEO is not and will never be a ‘growth hack’ capable of delivering instant results. Unfortunately, many people want a tactic that works like magic to provide more conversions, revenue and growth straight away. 

SEO shouldn’t be looked at in this way. In fact, it should be thought of as a methodology, not a marketing tactic or technique. 

By adjusting one’s attitude and approach towards SEO, i.e. integrating and embedding it in everything you do, sustained growth will come to fruition. 

You can’t measure the ROI

Decision makers want reassurances over ROI before they provide capital or cash for anything, not least SEO. In this situation, look at your own website’s data to build a click-through rate curve so that you know your performance for various rank positions. 

Once you combine this with the search volume of a keyword or phrase you want to go after, simply multiply the two. This will probably underestimate the value of SEO too, because chances are you’ll end up ranking for many more longer tail keywords that afford additional search volume. 

Then comes measuring ROI, which proves that SEO is beneficial in terms of revenue. One way to do this is by getting the value of the customer and multiplying it by the close rate for a goal value. If you turn on your conversions and set up your goals in Google Analytics, you start to rack up the actual monetary value. 

“This same thing applies if you go to your assisted conversions report,” adds Jenkins. “You can see how much value is in there as well.”