The world of search engine optimization (SEO) is a constant source of confusion for marketers, as it’s constantly changing. What might work today may not work tomorrow, and what is true today may be false tomorrow.
This is further compounded by the fact that there are many myths and misconceptions around the industry, which can lead to problems in your digital marketing strategy.
In this article, we will explore 14 SEO myths that have been spun around for years now, but are still believed to be true by many marketers.
|1. Myths about SEO can persist despite changes in algorithms.|
|2. Staying updated with accurate SEO practices is essential.|
|3. Keywords alone don’t guarantee high rankings.|
|4. Backlinks need to be relevant and authoritative.|
|5. SEO results take time; there are no quick fixes.|
|6. Duplicate content issues can vary in impact.|
|7. Ranking high doesn’t always equal high-quality traffic.|
|8. Mobile optimization is crucial for modern SEO.|
|9. User experience directly affects SEO rankings.|
|10. SEO requires ongoing monitoring and adjustments.|
1. Page Speed Is Not A Ranking Factor
This one is still a big one, and it’s one of the more frustrating myths to debunk. Google has been telling us for years that page speed isn’t a ranking factor, but people just don’t seem to believe it.
We’ve heard many stories of clients who have seen their rankings drop because they didn’t pay attention to their site’s performance or because they made changes that slowed things down even more.
People also think that if they make their site fast enough, they will get more traffic and then rank higher.
Unfortunately, none of this is true it doesn’t matter how fast your site loads or how much effort you put into improving its performance; Google doesn’t care about any of those things in their algorithm (other than mobile search).
In fact, there are plenty of studies showing that improving page speed does not increase rankings in any significant way when compared with other factors like links from other sites (which send signals about quality), content freshness/time on page (which indicate engagement), etc..
When navigating the world of SEO, it’s essential to have a solid foundation. Our guide on The Best SEO Advice provides invaluable insights to help you optimize your website effectively.
2. The Top Three Positions Gain The Most Traffic
The second biggest myth is that the top three positions gain the most traffic.
While it’s true that these positions garner more than 90 percent of all clicks, what isn’t said is that most people don’t scroll past the first page of search results. In fact, in an eye-tracking study by Google, they found that only 20 percent of users scroll beyond the first page.
This means that 80 percent are missing out on potentially valuable content! So if you’re not ranking on one of those coveted high spots, it’s likely because your site lacks enough authority in its niche or doesn’t have enough content to warrant a place in those coveted spots.
Another issue with ranking highly is how you can become trapped there once you’ve achieved a high position, it can be difficult to move up again due to increasing competition from other sites vying for similar ad space.
While this may sound like bad news for SEOs who work hard at improving their rankings (and who want nothing more than for their sites’ online presence), there’s actually something positive here:
If you’re not making any money from organic search traffic now, then chances are good that won’t change anytime soon even if your website gets better ranked overall (which is unlikely).
3. All Links Are Created Equal
The truth is, link quality is the most important factor to consider when considering how a particular link will affect your website. Link quantity, anchor text and location are all more or less equal in terms of their overall importance.
The one thing that seems to be consistently overlooked by SEO writers everywhere is the importance of diversity.
Diversity refers to how many different types of links you have pointing back at your site. For example:
There’s no reason why 10 links from one blog should be better than 5 different sources (especially if those sources aren’t as high-quality).
A diverse range of links from both relevant and irrelevant sites can give you a healthy boost without damaging your rankings too much and without causing Google an undue amount of work for crawling purposes…
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4. Meta Descriptions Have No Value
Meta descriptions have always been an important part of the user experience and search engine optimization. They are used by search engines to display snippets, which helps searchers decide whether they are interested in your page or not.
If you want to increase your click-through rate (CTR), make sure that your meta description is engaging and interesting enough for people to click on it when they search for something related to what you’re selling.
It can also be used as a call-to-action button for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, so keep that in mind when writing it out!
5. Links Should Come From High Authority/High Domain Rank Sites Only
Link building is a marketing strategy. It’s a way to get traffic to your site and increase revenue. It’s also a way to build your brand, increase online presence, and get more customers.
It should come as no surprise that these are all things you want from SEO. You have probably heard the term “link wheel” thrown around by SEOs or marketers in the past few years;
This refers to sites that create thousands of links for one another so they can boost each other’s rankings on search engines like Google.
The problem with this strategy is that it’s easy for Google to spot once they roll out another algorithm update (like Penguin), which means most of those links won’t do much good anyway now that they’re considered spammy by Google+.
6. Low-quality Guest Posts Are Worthless
Guest posting is a great way to get links, traffic and social shares. If you write guest posts for low-quality sites, it can be a waste of your time.
However, if you write guest posts for high-quality sites (sites with good domain authority), then these links will help you rank better in search results.
One thing that most people don’t realize is that guest posting can work well even if the site is not related to your niche or industry.
For example, I wrote two articles about how to make money writing online for the personal finance blog Get Rich Slowly and those articles helped me rank first on Google for some keywords related to my niche: online writing jobs and freelance writing tips.
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7. Domain Age Is A Ranking Factor
The myth that domain age is an SEO ranking factor is still being spun around, even though it’s been proven to be untrue. The truth is that domain age matters for different aspects of SEO depending on your goal and the type of site you’re working with. For example:
Domain age does matter in local search ranking since Google uses this metric as a signal for determining if people are likely to find the business in their area or not (see Local Search Ranking Factors).
It also helps them determine if there might be mismatches between what users expect and what they actually find when they arrive at a business’s website (e.g., if a business has been operating under its current name for 10 years but its website only went live last year).
While it doesn’t directly affect rankings, having an aged domain name can help with local visibility because it indicates longevity and stability two things that are important signals to Google when determining which businesses should appear higher in SERPs.
Mobile-first indexing came into effect in early 2018 so we’re seeing more mobile-friendly websites show up higher up than ever before;
However, having an aged web presence helps here too! Mobile-first indexing means responsive websites will no longer be prioritized over separate mobile sites;
Having content available online since 1998 gives us confidence this will continue happening well into 2028+.
8. Black Hat Techniques Never Work
The truth is that black hat techniques never work. Google is always updating their algorithms, so once you’ve used them, you can expect that your website will be penalized for using them.
Black hat techniques can also be dangerous if someone (or something) finds out about the unethical ways in which your site has been ranking, not only could they report it to Google or other search engines but they could also sue you.
Finally and most importantly: black hat techniques are not worth the risk! If it was possible to rank high in Google without trying hard enough, wouldn’t everyone do it?
But because these practices have been around for years and have yet to deliver on what they promise – namely higher rankings – we know that this isn’t the case.
9. User Engagement Doesn’t Matter
Getting people to engage with your content is important for all sorts of reasons. It allows you to build authority in your field, it helps you make money and it helps build links to your site.
Getting users to engage with your content also helps with SEO. Google wants the best results at the top of its search engine, so they look at things like how many people have interacted with a page before ranking it higher on the search results page.
It’s important that you understand that user engagement does not mean spamming or using black hat tactics!
There are plenty of ways for users to interact with your content without resorting to spammy techniques such as keyword stuffing or buying fake likes and shares on Facebook.
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10. 301 Redirects Can Be Bad For SEO & Performance
You may have heard that 301 redirects can be bad for SEO and performance, but this is a myth. The truth is that they’re only bad if you don’t do them right, or set them up in the worst way possible.
The thing about 301s is that they are permanent redirects they tell Google and other search engines to permanently treat all of your old URLs as if they were new URLs.
So if you don’t do a good job of setting up those redirects correctly, then it’s likely that Google will think some of your URLs no longer exist (and thus won’t rank them) simply because there wasn’t an actual page on the site at one point in time.
However, when done correctly you’ll still get all of the benefits associated with creating new content without losing any ranking juice from old pages!
11. Short URLs With Keywords Are Better Than Longer Ones Without Keywords
Short URLs may have a higher keyword density, but they’re no better than long URLs without keywords. The length of your URL has no impact on rankings or success.
The key is to use anchor text that matches your target keyword. For example, if you’re trying to rank for “red sneakers,” then make sure that’s the anchor text in your links pointing back to your page from other websites (called backlinks).
12. It’s Not Possible To Outrank Highly Authoritative Sites For Popular Keywords/Topics
If you’re trying to outrank a highly authoritative site for a given keyword or topic, you’re going to be disappointed. You can’t compete with the likes of Google or Amazon, so don’t waste your time trying.
Instead, focus on your own niche and authority, creating content that is unique in its own right. The more unique your content is, the better chance it has of ranking well in search engines such as Google and Bing.
13. You Shouldn’t Use Title Tags That Are Too Long (Or Shorter Than 70 Characters)
The fact is, the length of a title tag has no impact on SEO. But there are other reasons to consider when determining the ideal length for your title tags.
Title tags are one of the most important ranking factors in search engines such as Google and Bing. In fact, they’re so influential that some websites have even been penalized for using too many characters in their titles (such as with Panda).
While this doesn’t mean you should go overboard with your titles or make them overly long (you’ll be penalized if they’re too long!)
It does mean that you shouldn’t be afraid to write long-form content if it makes sense for your site’s audience.
News feeds: Since most people skim through their news feeds on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter by quickly scrolling through their friends’ latest posts, longer headlines tend to perform better here than shorter ones do because they take up more real estate on screen!
This means that using big words or special characters like emojis can help grab attention from those who may otherwise pass right over these posts without reading them fully;
Just don’t go overboard though no one likes swiping right only to see an emoji at first glance instead of something meaningful!
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14. Content-Length Has No Impact On Rankings & Success
Content length has no impact on rankings or success. This myth is one that I’ve seen repeated time and time again in the SEO industry, even by experienced professionals.
The most common example of this myth is that if you have a keyword-rich piece of content on your site, it will be rewarded by Google for having lots of keywords and thus ranked higher than shorter pieces with less keywords.
This makes sense, after all, there are many reasons why longer-form content can outperform short-form content (just look at the popularity of blog posts versus listicles). But here’s the thing: it’s not true!
The length of your content is irrelevant in terms of rankings and success because Google doesn’t care about how long your content is it cares about whether people find your page useful or not when they search for something relevant to them.
If people find what they’re looking for quickly on your website without having to read through thousands upon thousands of words just to get an answer (or worse yet, if they don’t find what they need at all).
Then chances are good that those searchers will come back again soon afterward because they enjoyed using that page so much while searching before!
Hopefully, we’ve managed to debunk some of the less truthful myths about SEO here. There are so many more out there that it can get confusing even for experienced people in this field.
It’s important to remember that Google is constantly changing their algorithm, and with new technology coming out every year it can be difficult to keep up. But by doing your own research and keeping up with current trends you can stay ahead of the curve!
Explore more resources on debunking SEO myths:
Digital Ducats: Common SEO Myths Short Description: Learn about prevalent misconceptions in the SEO world and how to avoid falling for them.
Search Engine Journal: Debunking SEO Myths Short Description: Get insights from experts as they bust common SEO myths and provide accurate guidance.
Neil Patel’s Blog: 17 SEO Myths to Ignore Short Description: Neil Patel dispels 17 SEO myths, helping you make informed decisions for your optimization strategies.
Q: What are some misconceptions about SEO?
A: Misconceptions about SEO often include outdated practices like keyword stuffing, thinking that meta keywords still matter, and believing that ranking guarantees traffic.
Q: Is link building still essential for SEO?
A: Yes, but quality matters more than quantity. Building relevant, authoritative backlinks remains crucial for SEO success.
Q: Does SEO guarantee immediate results?
A: No, SEO takes time to show results. It’s a gradual process that requires consistent effort and optimization.
Q: Are all duplicate content issues detrimental to SEO?
A: Not necessarily. While duplicate content can be problematic, there are cases where it’s legitimate and won’t harm your rankings.
Q: Can I rely solely on paid advertising without focusing on SEO?
A: Paid advertising can provide quick visibility, but it’s wise to balance it with SEO efforts for long-term organic growth and cost savings.
Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.