In our experience as a digital marketing agency, we have worked with many businesses that have had several common misconceptions about SEO, the work that goes into search engine optimization, and where it fits into the inbound marketing equation.

With over 200 ranking factors, it is no wonder why there is so much confusion surrounding SEO.

Let’s clear a few things up.

Search Engine Optimized vs. Search Engine Optimization

A misconception that comes up frequently with potential clients is that SEO is a one time service that updates your website’s HTML and content. Essentially, you set it and forget it. There are many reasons why it is in your best interest to go for an SEO retainer with a reputable agency.

First off, Google’s algorithm changes all the time without any warning or explanation. It is important to pay for a monthly SEO retainer so that you have trained professionals watching Google’s algorithm and updating your website.

Another issue that comes up with a one-time service is the fact that you are most likely not the only company in your industry that is implementing SEO into their marketing strategy. That means that your competition is looking for ways to exploit your company’s weaknesses to get ahead. For this reason, you need the pros to keep an eye on your competition and adjust when needed.

It pays to be adaptive.

SEO vs. Other Digital Marketing Tactics

A question that we get frequently is which online marketing tactic is better than the other. While some tactics may yield better results depending on the company’s niche, it is crucial to understand that tactics like SEO aren’t at odds with content marketing or email campaigns.

It is important to know that inbound marketing tactics fit together like a puzzle to optimize your marketing strategy across your entire sales funnel. Instead of trying to pick and choose which tactic you want to go all-in on, try using all of these tactics in tandem.

The Cost of Safe Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

There are a lot of unsafe SEO companies out there. We get calls every day from marketers trying to sell us their SEO services because there is apparently something wrong with our listing on Google.

While some of these companies may be safe to work with, we have frequently seen clients with plenty of legitimate errors and even website penalties. Chances are, if you are paying bottom dollar for SEO services, you are risking doing damage to your website and not achieving what you could be for your money spent. You’re much better off taking your SEO needs to a reputable agency in the first place, rather than having them fix to mistakes of phonies. If you’re looking at local SEO for one primary location, expect on average to spend around at least $700/month for reliable, safe SEO services. Depending on the number of locations, keywords you’d like to target, number of offerings, and niche/industry competition, the price of legitimate experienced SEO can go much higher from $1,000 to $50,000/month.

Organic vs. Inorganic Traffic

Inorganic traffic comes through paid ads like the ones that are at the top of Google searches.

Organic traffic is the results that show up below those ads that didn’t pay to be at the top.

A common misconception that many have about search rankings is that as long as your site is at the top of Google (via paid ads) that it doesn’t matter where you rank organically. While you may technically be at the head of the page, only about 5-8% of Google searchers will click on paid advertisements. The vast majority of search traffic will visit the websites in the top three positions.

Average clickthrough rates (CTRs) for results in Google Search based on ranking position

As you can see from the graph, the top three positions get the majority of traffic from Google searches. The entire point of SEO is to bring in more relevant organic traffic through the top of the sales funnel to your website.


Search engine optimization (SEO) is a complicated field that contains a lot of misinformation and changing information. Always partner with a reputable U.S. based digital marketing agency that knows what they are doing. By utilizing SEO with other digital and inbound marketing tactics, you can convert an increasing number of visitors into loyal, happy clients for your company.

Interested in a results-driven SEO plan for your company? Contact us at HONE Digital Marketing for a free assessment.