SEOMany of you have made a New Year’s resolution to focus more on SEO. So here are three common misconceptions about search engine optimization.

1. I have a website, now bring me the traffic.

Having created a website is great. It gives your audience confirmation that you’re legit, it offers a place for them to learn more about you and your services, and, yes, it lets the search engines know you have a presence on the Web. But many websites offer just the basics: home page, about me, contact, etc.

You cannot expect the search engines to automatically know what the message is you’re trying to convey unless you actually tell them.

Creating community pages is a great way to pass content to the engines. Tell them who you are and which areas you serve. Create a community page that describes the area and offers some insight into what makes the area special.

Remember, you won’t receive organic search traffic from home buyers looking in your service area unless you actually write about the area on your website.

2. Set it, and forget it.

This is a pretty common misconception. Many people believe that once they’ve created their website and/or content specific pages that their job is done and traffic will start to flow. While it’s not impossible for this to happen, it’s very improbable.

The algorithmic foundation of SEO changes little, but many supporting cogs of the engine’s algorithm change almost daily. And some may impact how your pages rank. Because of this it’s important to stay abreast of the changing landscape in the SEO world. You may have to make slight changes to your pages from time-to-time to keep them ranking well in the search engines.

It’s also important to continually check on your analytics. You’ll want to be the first to know when one of your pages drops in rank or out of the engine’s index entirely, and do your best to figure out why.

Also, let’s not forget that the search engines and your users love fresh content. So you may have created your website with some really good content, but continue adding content/pages to show them your website has not become stale.

3. Magical SEO pixie dust.

“What’s that? You cannot get me a number one ranking and more traffic tomorrow? Okay, how about by next week?”

I can’t begin to tell you how many people expect SEO specialists to create a page with well-crafted content, get a number one ranking immediately and watch the traffic pour in to their website.

People… search engine optimization takes time. It’s a marathon and not a sprint. The results can be long-standing, but be patient. If you must have results tomorrow then SEO just isn’t for you—go with a pay-per-click campaign. However, once your budget is spent your pay-per-click ad will disappear and your traffic will too.

Getting solid results in the search engines takes time. It can take more time if the search phrase you’re after is highly competitive. And let’s be honest, you may never achieve the results you want if the search phrase is just too far competitive.

There are several issues that might slow down progress: how fast is your website crawled by search engines, how many other websites are competing for the same search phrases, how many quality links can you get pointing to your content, and so on.