SEO means a variety of things to different people and because this is the case, there is no true definition on what SEO's actually do; you know, besides rank shit. This will often lead to unhappy clients or bosses. Situation 1 Client A confronts an SEO 6 months down the track after viewing the reports, and they're not happy. They thought that because traffic and clicks are up, their leads would double. Situation 2 Client B hires an SEO consultant and wants to be #1 for a particular keyword and will not budge on the issue. The SEO ranks it #1 in just a few months, but the client is still not happy. Misconception 1 This is more common than you think. Many clients get an idea of keyword research and aim for the highest volume keyword, even through it's a brand name of another company. For example, if you're selling Louis Vuitton shoes and you see Louis Vuitton as the highest keyword, you would want to target that. Right? WRONG! You should be targeting something much more specific, even though it has lower search volume. Just because you think a keyword will be popular, doesn't mean it will be a buying keyword, or will even convert. Situation 3 Client C hires an SEO and puts them to work on everything to do with online marketing. This includes development, lead generation, content writing, social media, ecommerce analytics and advertising. When the SEO can't handle the work load, the client gets upset. Misconception 2 SEO's are not magical creatures from the land of cyberspace. There are specific roles for specific purposes and SEO does not mean an online marketing kingpin. An SEO is someone that performs a series of test to find out what Google wants, then assists marketing teams by providing insight information and assisting on building strategies. Situation 4 Unexpected changes to the algorithm, ranking and traffic. Client D experienced that the website drops a few spots on page 1. He then confronts the SEO and asks why this has happened. Misconception 3 Google has a large number of algorithm updates and quite often that will be a reason your website has dropped dramatically. However, if your website drops a few spots, it's quite commonly the case that a competitor as had a long term SEO strategy in place and they overtook you in the SERPS. Another possibility is that someone spammed their way to the top. Yet another possibility is that some links dropped off, which happens organically. The truth is that nobody will stay in one spot, and results will shift. Deal with it the best way you can. Before hiring an SEO, or doing it yourself, just keep in mind that if SEO's were magical cash generating gurus that could guarantee a return, they wouldn't work for you.