Five Top Misconceptions & Myths About Search

Date posted: 11 Jul 2018

Posted by: Smithfield

Post category: Blog

by Andy Kinsey and Stuart Hackett
Head of SEO and Head of PPC, Smithfield.

Search can be compared to the Chinese board game Go, which is known as the game that ‘takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master’.

It’s is a level playing field for all businesses and the smallest players can realise potential and steal market share through a solid approach to both paid and organic search. However, the backbone to deploying an effective search strategy is complex, multi-layered and constantly changing. Search requires PPC and SEO experts bringing best practice and a focus on constantly improving your performance.
Smithfield’s search team are obsessed with increasing the performance of our clients businesses and have put together some of the frequently held Misconceptions & Myths around search engine optimisation for both paid and organic search.


Paid Search Ad position 1 is the best! To be successful we need to be top of the page!

The top spot is the most expensive and may get more eyeballs. But eyeballs don’t mean clicks. The ad with the most relevant messaging that suits the customer intent and appeals in a more meaningful way will be the one that wins.

Therefore, you need to ensure ad messaging matches the user intent to make your budget be the most effective at engaging with your audience.

The only exception to this is for mobile focused campaigns when the top ad slot is often the only one that loads ‘above the fold’ on smart device screens. Tests and data feedback would show whether this extra cost is worth the investment.


Search ads are expensive. I just want cheap, high-converting Long-Tail keywords

In ancient times, padding your paid search account with many keywords was the game and the mythological high-converting, long-tail keyword (the ‘unicorn’) was king. 

But, while a high converting, long-tail keyword is a cheap conversion, in reality there are very few that get over the minimum volume threshold and actually enter Google’s ad auction. Those keywords that do and then trigger an ad are rare. Those that have a high conversion rate are even rarer. So, if you do find a ‘unicorn’ you may get a cheap conversion here or there but you won’t get many. 

The real conversion volume is found in slightly more expensive short-tail keywords. A paid search account that is nurtured correctly will start off slightly broader and be rapidly optimised into success. Along the optimisation path to increase account efficiency and reduce costs the data will naturally unearth a few ‘unicorn’ high-converting, long-tail keywords.


The high Bounce Rate of website traffic means Paid Search isn’t working

Knowing how site visitors interact with your page is important but the generic Bounce Rate in Google Analytics is not a good indicator of interaction.

A Google Analytics bounce is triggered by a visitor’s non-interaction with the landing page, but if they visit your site, scroll up and down the page and read the content thoroughly but do not click on any links and then close the window they are classed as a bounce. Just as someone who clicks on an ad to your page and immediately closes the page after it has loaded would be classed as a bounce.

If a business is serious about user experience and tracking customer interaction on your website, then there are tools, packages and techniques that track mouse movement, scrolls and offer heat maps that give you advanced insights into how visitors interact with your site, what works well and where and why customers drop out of the conversion funnel.


A huge, all-encompassing paid search account works best

Time needs to be allocated to tracking consumer trends and to capitalise on new search intent. Mining new keywords and areas of success will grow the account and allow you to expand into new areas of search interest.

A huge, all-encompassing paid search account is unwieldy and will have a lower return than an efficient, well-structured and carefully managed account.


One-time SEO is enough

At Smithfield we talk about SEO being a journey and not a destination. SEO never ends. There is a myth that you can have a “quick blast of SEO here and there” to boost your rankings. But that isn’t how it works in reality.

SEO, as with PPC, is about the journey that delivers the right results. Quick burst approaches to search lead to poor results, frustrated stakeholders and often wasted resource – as for example SEO audits may need to be re-run each time work is restarted every few months to see how issues have grown, how competition has grown, how new algorithms have affected you and how outdated content has become, for example.

Our specialist Search team are experts at improving and optimising the customer journey to our clients’ websites, so why not give us a call or drop us an email to find out how we can help on 020 3179 2612 or email

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