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The internet is home to conspiracy theories, trolls, and a sense of anarchy too extreme for the 1960’s punk scene in London. It’s a wonderful place, but it’s full of misinformation ranging from the benign to the stupid. So in a mission to civilize, here are ten common misconceptions we see regularly.

  1. Impressions are as relevant as the word ‘shoe.’ In the realm of PPC, there are two important numbers: click-through-rate (CTR) and conversions. CTR tells us that a keyword is particularly relevant and conversions tell us how effective said keyword is at creating sales, leads, and so on. There are other numbers, but those are two of the biggest players. I’ve heard people talking about impressions many times. How often a keyword appears in a search isn’t that useful a number. Here’s a simple test. Add the word ‘shoe’ to your campaign. Suddenly, those impressions will rise because the term is very broad. What this teaches us is that, at best, impressions signal the popularity of a keyword, but that doesn’t translate into clicks. Honestly, I’d rather have one click and a hundred impressions (1% CTR) than a thousand impressions and no clicks. I suspect that the misconception comes from the advertising and print worlds where ‘eyeballs on a product’ means something.
  2. Traffic is like impressions. More traffic is only better because it hypothetically correlates to more customers. If you have a conversion rate of 5% and you get 100 people per month versus 1000, the only real difference is the number of potential leads. Working to increase conversion percentages will get more out of your current traffic numbers. Not to mention that there’s a tendency for the two to go up in unison. The more you focus on writing content with the intent to convert, the more that tends to lead to additional traffic. It’s almost as if trying to interest visitors in your business works to attract more viewers.
  3. It’s ‘guerilla,’ not ‘gorilla marketing.’ A gorilla is an animal. Guerilla is a type of warfare associated with Spanish soldiers in the early 20th century that has now become a catch-all for rebels who fight from the shadows and are generally known for being sneaky. Your marketing is meant to be sneaky, catchy, and something that takes your audience by surprise. It shouldn’t have a penchant for bananas and sign language (I mean, unless that’s your niche).
  1. Content is king. It is true that content is the ultimate source of leads online, but that statement is misleading; I think it’s just catchy. Original content is king. Being original, ahead of the curve, or whatever way you want to put it, will be far more effective than producing content for content’s sake (e.g. when a video goes viral and then a day later every corporate blog on the planet is talking about viral videos). Instead of following, take the concept and put your own spin on it. You’ll also notice that the day after a video goes viral the blogs that rise with the cream are the ones that did something a little differently.
  2. I don’t need a website. Yes, this is a misconception we still face, or rather still hear. The real motive behind this is probably that people don’t want to pay for a website. But the truth is that having a website is the 21st century equivalent of renting an office or a storefront. The last time I asked someone for directions or the best place to buy shoes was the day before I got my smartphone.
  1. Refresh really refreshes a page. When we’re updating a design on a website, we often get an email or phone call, mind you a polite email or phone call, saying that the website isn’t updating. The refresh button on your browser or Ctrl + R (Cmnd + R for Mac) does refresh a page, but it does not fresh the cache. The cache, amongst other things, saves the CSS stylesheet (the code that creates your website’s design). Sometimes when the regular refresh button is hit, the CSS document isn’t updated. Try pressing F5, that’ll refresh the cache and the CSS.
  1. Internet Explorer 11 is worth it. No, it isn’t.
  1. My credit card information will be stolen.While identity theft is a problem and something you should take necessary steps to avoid, Amazon isn’t going to steal your credit card. Ecommerce is a vital part of the internet and the modern-day economy. The general rule of thumb is: don’t give up your credit card to poorly designed and sketchy-looking websites (See figure above.)
  1. My password is strong. See Item 6. Even if you have a 30-character long password with multiple capitals and symbols it’s best to assume that your password can be broken into. Given that assumption, it is also a good idea to avoid passwords that are semantic; your first name, address, pet name, anything that could be gathered from Facebook. Try a password generation tool. MY personal favourite is a pattern of ten characters that you invent on your keyboard. All you need to remember is the starting key and then just type out the pattern. For example, say a rectangle starting with the letter ‘A’ will produce this password: aq12wsaq12ws. Hard series of numbers and letters to remember, but an easy pattern to recall (Note: that isn’t my password, or is it???).
  1. I can say whatever I want in my email. If your password is strong, you probably can. However, looking at the Sony Hacking scandal and some of the childish and rude emails sent between coworkers, maybe a good rule of thumb to adopt is: don’t say anything in an email that you would not say in person. Keep things civilized because 1) you might get called out and 2) it’s the good thing to do.

Al Gore invented the internet.

Al Gore is credited with popularizing the internet. However, he didn’t invent it. In fact, the internet is the child of multiple fathers, or rather its precursor ARPANET, is.

So, when it comes to online whispers and popular assumptions, it’s probably best to recall a saying that predates the internet itself: “Don’t believe everything you hear, and only half of what you see.”