SEO, or search engine optimization, can be a bit of a mystery. For many business owners, SEO can simply seem too complicated to take on. That’s why many choose to hire SEO consultants to help them build brand awareness and increase traffic to their sites. But others are under the impression that SEO strategies are a waste of time. Nothing could be further from the truth, of course, since SEO is rated as the most effective lead generation tactic, with 34% of marketers saying it’s “very effective.” If you’re inclined to believe the following myths about SEO, you’ll be doing a disservice to your business.

MYTH: “SEO doesn’t work; it’s a scam.”

This myth is two-fold. One part comes from a failure to manage expectations, while the other is often a result of working with unscrupulous SEO companies who make promises they can’t keep.

Some business owners expect SEO to be an overnight solution. They think that as soon as an analyst implements a strategy, their rankings will skyrocket. The truth is that SEO doesn’t produce results overnight, which is actually a good thing. Not only will it take Google’s bots time to index all the new pages on your site, but it’ll also take time to generate more traffic, high-quality content, and organic engagement. Gradual growth is exactly what Google wants to see, which means it’ll produce better ranking results.

The other part of this myth usually stems from poor past experiences with SEO companies. These companies may promise outstanding results for a certain amount of money (sometimes way below the value of great SEO) and then don’t deliver a thing. An SEO firm should never guarantee exact results, nor should they charge an amount that seems too good to be true. If you work with one of these firms, you’ll be bound to be disappointed. However, that doesn’t mean that SEO is a scam; it just means that these companies try to take advantage of your lack of SEO knowledge.

MYTH: “We did SEO before, so we don’t need to do it again.”

Some business owners are under the impression that SEO is a “one-and-done” deal. The vast majority of sites need continuous SEO investment, like content creation, keyword use, and new link building. Otherwise, you will see your visits and rankings fall over time. Old links may lose their value, Google algorithms change, and SEO is always evolving. Unless you’re okay with falling behind and giving way to the competition, you really can’t afford to ditch your SEO efforts. If you tried SEO in the past but saw no results, you might look to the above myth: did you give the strategy enough time? Did you work with a reputable company? If the answer to either (or both) of those questions is “no,” you might think these efforts weren’t worthwhile. But the reality is that you do need to keep up with your SEO if you want to build brand awareness.

MYTH: “SEO and link building are dead.”

This is a misconception that SEO brand marketing firms hear all the time. But if it were actually true, firms like ours wouldn’t still be in business! SEO continues to evolve, which means that these efforts definitely don’t look the same as they did just a few years ago. But that doesn’t mean that SEO or link building has no value. On the contrary, because these methods have become even more complex over the years, SEO strategies need to be tailored to each business’s specific needs. And although spammy link building is something you should definitely avoid, organic link building should still very much be a part of your efforts to build brand awareness and traffic through SEO.

It’s easy to see why these SEO misconceptions are so pervasive, but it’s important to see through the mystery. The bottom line is that believing these myths and misconceptions will limit your ability to build brand awareness and grow your business.