10 online marketing myths (or: A little marketing knowledge is a dangerous thing)

(This article originally appeared on Mad.co.uk )

It’s very common for a business’s first foray into internet marketing to be a low cost DIY job, but this approach can carry risks.

Here are ten of the most common misconceptions about internet marketing, and what you need to know to ensure you don’t fall foul of a DIY disaster.

“It’s all about traffic”

Having loads of visitors to your site is a great ego boost, but if those visitors disappear again straight away, it’s pointless. The real measure of a site’s success is in the business it generates. Having 20 people visit your

Danger Ahead

Danger Ahead (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

site and buy your goods or make an enquiry is clearly better than having 2,000 visitors that do nothing.

Intelligent web marketing is targeted to attract the right visitors, not just any visitors.

“A good website will attract visitors”

If you think you can pour resources into getting the perfect design and words on your new site, and then sit back and watch the visitors stream in, you’re about to be sorely disappointed. Getting a new site off the ground is hard work, no matter how fantastic it looks at the outset. Visitors will not appear out of the blue. You will need to work hard to promote you site, and not just once.

“Search engine marketing is all about meta tags”

If you are striving to appear at the top of search engine results for key related phrases, you might think that meta tags – the bits of code that offer search engines information about your page contents – are the answer. Not so. Seeding these tags with keywords and phrases is now only a small part of the mix. Some search engines consider them, especially the METAdescription and TITLE tag and they can show in results, but Google now ignores METAkeywords tags altogether for the purposes of ranking.

“Once I’m at the top of the search engines, I can stop trying”

There are always X thousand (or even X million) other sites competing for the same key words as yours. Keeping a high listing position means constantly staying on top of things, adding content to your site, posting in places that will give good back links, updating, adding blogs, news, reviewing and tracking. Put simply, it’s not a one off job.

“Hiding extra content on web pages will fool the search engines”

It’s a very bad idea to try to fool the search engines by hiding extra keywords using invisible text or a tiny font. The search engines don’t like it, it’s classed as spamming, and you could end up being penalised with a lower listing, or even have your site banned so that it doesn’t appear in listings at all.

“If I buy lots of links, I can instantly boost my search ranking”

When deciding how ‘important’ a site is, one of the factors search engines take into consideration is the links that point to it from elsewhere on the web. However, Google et al’s algorithms have become much more intelligent, and they no longer just count links, they also assess each site’s authority. If this is low, it will have little or no effect on your listing position.

“A higher Page Rank means a better chance of being found”

Page Rank (PR) is a score of 1-10 that Google assigns to some URLs to indicate their relative importance in comparison to the rest of the internet. It sounds important but in fact what really matters is how your sites fares in Google’s listings compared to those with similar key search terms, and this could bear no relation to your PR.

“All traffic comes from search engines – everything else leads back to that “

There are hundreds of ways to get traffic to your site and they all complement each other. Posting in forums, on Twitter and Facebook, getting people talking about you on blogs and in the online media can all bring in traffic, while also producing good links back to your site, which can in turn help improve your search engine listing.

“I can use a Twitter profile / Facebook to drive masses of traffic to my site”

Just like any other form of web presence, social media profiles take time and effort to build, maintain and attract an audience – and in this case, interaction is more important than ever. Social media can be a great traffic driver, but if you’re only promoting to your own offering, or posting endless links with no engagement, you’re forgetting about the ‘social’ in social media.

“There is a definite formula that works for all internet marketing”

Internet marketing is never simply a matter of carrying out a series of set steps. As with any marketing, to be successful, you need to understand your target market and what interests them, where their conversations are happening, what they are searching for, and so on. This takes time, and for some, means a DIY job isn’t quite as cost effective as it first appears.

Need some help? Check out my Internet Marketing Mentoring service, starting from just £25 a month

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About Nikki

Author of many 30 Day Blogging Challenges, Nikki spends her time helping small businesses with Internet Marketing and Social Media Marketing. With 17 years of experience, she hasn't yet found someone she couldn't help to get more business from their website.

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