40 SEO Myths You May Have Fallen For
In this article, the mdn.lol team has discussed 40 commonly believed SEO myths which were either popularised in the past, used to be true but aren’t anymore, or just for some unknown reason believed. We hope that this article will teach you some more about SEO and you will be more educated on this topic.
Assumption No. 1: Position 1 is the most important.
The importance of a high search engine ranking, whether on Google or another engine or even in social media, is stressed in many ebooks and other resources used by business owners. Studies show, however, that readers frequently scroll down the page to check out additional results. For example, being at the top of the second page can increase clicks by a significant amount. There are other factors besides search engine rankings to consider. Being number one is no longer as important as it once was because Google now displays other results on the page, such as social recommendations and local results.
#2: You Don’t Need Any Assistance With Search Engine Optimization
If you want more people to visit your website online, then you should implement a few simple SEO strategies. Anyone can learn these methods, and if you’re a site owner who wants to handle your own search engine optimization (SEO), you can certainly put in the time and effort to do so. However, SEO is not always easy to grasp, as it involves many different disciplines and skillsets (including online marketing, coding, technical aspects, and public relations). There are a lot of SEO firms out there because most business owners lack the resources to do a good job of it themselves. In many cases, a simple IT worker or online marker isn’t enough to produce satisfactory results.
#3: META tags are crucial
In the past, META tags were essential for every page on your site to achieve high search engine rankings. It’s snippets of code that would provide Google with a list of keywords and a brief summary. That’s what the search engine would use to understand your website’s content. This no longer has any bearing on your standing. When it comes to indexing websites, both Google and Bing no longer consider META tags to be of any importance. Yet, they do have some use. Your description tag, for instance, will often serve as the text that appears next to the link in the search result, making it an important part of the whole.
Domain names with relevant keywords automatically rank higher (myth 4)
A website’s URL used to carry a lot of weight back in the dot-com era. Having a domain name that includes your target keyword gives your site a huge boost in Google’s rankings. Consequently, many businesses in the late 1990s spent considerable sums on acquiring desirable domain names. However, from this point forward, indexing will focus solely on the content of your pages and will ignore the domain name. However, while people will still see your brand name, it will not help your search engine rankings.
#5: Submitting your site to Google and other search engines is mandatory.
You used to be able to send your website to Google and the rest via a universal URL submission form. It’s still done, but it’s pointless. Crawlers used by these search engines are now so advanced that any new site will be discovered within a few days at most. If after a few days your site has not been automatically indexed, then you will need to submit it for indexing.
Sitemap submission will increase rankings, myth #6.
By using Google’s provided webmaster tools, you can submit an XML sitemap to the search engine, which will index all of your site’s pages. It’s not required that every time a site owner makes a change that they submit such a file, but some do. A sitemap submission only adds pages to the index that might not have been there before, but it does not affect your ranking in any way. If your site is like most others, with links to every page, then you can skip this step.
7: Social media and SEO have no connection
Before social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter existed, search engine optimization (SEO) was the only method for generating organic clicks. However, with the advent of social media, the lines are beginning to blur. Search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing are often seen as two separate entities, but they are actually very intertwined. Google now integrates its own social network, Google Plus, into its search results. If you can get enough notables to recommend your product and link to your site, you’ll start showing up in your target audience’s friends’ Google search results. There will be an obvious impact on search engine optimization. On the other hand, Facebook has begun to compete in search with the release of Open Graph, an engine that conducts queries based on users’ social connections and areas of interest. This means there is a robust relationship between the two fields, and one that is only strengthening over time.
#8: Google doesn’t analyze CSS files
#9: Your homepage requires constant maintenance and revisions.
Others believe that their search engine rankings will suffer if they don’t constantly add new content to their homepage. If you have a sales page offering a product, there is usually no reason to update that page unless something about the product changes, and Google anticipates that.
#10: The H1 header is more important than the rest of the text
Google and the other search engines can see how your page is structured, but you should be aware that many websites have very different layouts. Because of this, no one label is more important than any other. A header with the H1 tag is simply a header that corresponds to a CSS entry. Using H2 tags instead, or placing most of your keywords in the body copy as opposed to a specific CSS tag, will not affect your page’s ranking in Google’s search results.
Linking to popular sites boosts your own page rank (Myth #11)
Some websites attempt to improve their search engine rankings by linking to numerous high-authority sites, but this strategy has been shown to have no positive effect. Google’s PageRank algorithm, which determines a site’s ranking, considers only the number of incoming links to determine how useful a page is to users. It makes no difference if you provide a link back to them or not. If this were the case, any site with millions of links would quickly rise to the top.
Automatic search engine optimization (SEO) techniques are always spam.
To avoid spam filters, many SEO professionals use spam-free automated tools. Many businesses have massive websites, so SEO drudgery is often handled by automated scripts. The end result, not the degree of automation, determines whether or not a technique is spammy.
PageRank alone determines how relevant a website is (myth #13)
PageRank is Google’s ranking algorithm, and it takes into account how helpful a website is to other people. However, Google claims that the result also considers hundreds of other inputs. Some of these factors are more obvious than others, such as the number of Google Plus recommendations your site has received. That not just PageRank is important is demonstrated here. There appears to be more at play than just PageRank, but the company is remaining tight-lipped about the number of inputs and the relative weights of each. Despite this, many people still think PageRank is the most crucial factor, and that a PR1 page is always superior to a PR3 page.
Myth 15: Search engines can’t see the title tag.
To a large extent, Google only reads the text that is presented to users, such as what is displayed on the screen and rendered by a web browser. Therefore, it’s understandable to assume the title isn’t recognized. Your title, however, is the text that will appear on the link that people will click. Google will use it to improve your ranking, and visitors will see it when they hover over your link.
SEO is unaffected by usability, myth 16
The whole point of search engine optimization is to increase visitors to your site so that they can be entertained or make a purchase. Therefore, usability and SEO are inextricably linked, as the latter is what will ultimately determine a visitor’s time spent on your site. People are quick to move on to the next search result if your website is cumbersome to use. Not only that, but search engines will evaluate your site’s design and usability, too. If your site is difficult to use for visitors, it will also be difficult for the crawler, which can have a negative impact on your search engine rankings.
Myth #17: Backlinks ending in.edu and.gov are superior.
Most sites ending in.edu or.gov do very well in search engine rankings and have a lot of authority because they are government or educational institutions. While this is a natural consequence of their upkeep, it should not be taken as a promise. Domains ending in.gov or.edu do not automatically receive a higher page rank. The value of a backlink from one of these sites depends on the authority of the hosting site. You will not benefit in any way from visiting a government or educational institution’s website. You won’t see any more benefit from posting a backlink on a random.edu website than you would on a random blog.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is based on how many other sites link to yours (Myth #18.)
That having the most backlinks is the key to a successful SEO campaign is a common misconception. Sites are ranked by a variety of criteria in any ranking algorithm, be it Google’s, Bing’s, Facebook’s, etc. Having a lot of links is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to SEO success. In addition, the quality of each link varies. A single link from a well-known news site that mentions your product will often be far more valuable than hundreds of links from obscure blogs.
Myth #19: Content is not as crucial as backlinks
Due to the financial and time commitments involved in search engine optimization, it is unrealistic to expect to maximize results in every area of digital marketing. When faced with limited resources, it can be tempting to prioritize link building over content creation. But SEO’s ultimate purpose is to increase quality traffic to your site. A focus on quality rather than quantity is essential. If your site lacks quality content, the extra links will be for naught. Oftentimes, the best backlinks are not even ones you have control over. The experts already talking about your product, whether they be celebrities in your niche, news outlets, or anyone else. When you have quality information to share, links to your site will come naturally through PR and word of mouth. A large number of backlinks from low-authority blogs, on the other hand, won’t do you much good, and any boost in ranking you might get from them won’t last long as those sites eventually purge their link farms. Instead, think about who you’re writing for and write to them specifically. In the long run, your site will benefit more from your efforts to produce high-quality content.
Myth #20: If you use paid links, Google will ban your site.
Obtaining links can be done in a variety of ways, some of which may require payment. On the other hand, paid links aren’t always a bad thing; it all depends on the method of payment. As an illustration, Google is just one of many websites that provides advertising options. A wide variety of advertising options are available, including Adwords, other ad networks, and the advertising services provided by many individual websites. Some of them may not provide any sort of ranking at all, but others may, and these are perfectly legitimate. While it’s unlikely that paying a niche-specific website for a prominent link placement would get you banned, it’s important to keep in mind that there are other tactics that could. Purchasing a large number of low-quality links is a surefire way to have your site de-indexed.
Untrue Belief #21: All You Need Is Good Content
Just as having good content on its own isn’t enough to keep traffic coming in, so too is building an army of links. The success of a website rests primarily on the quality of its content, which is acknowledged by most. To keep visitors coming back to your site, you need to provide them with content that is both interesting and useful. Of course, completion of the structure is not enough to ensure its visibility. Search engine optimization (SEO) is something even the best websites need to use. All sites can benefit greatly from increased brand awareness, and SEO is the only way to get more people to visit your site and read your content. To increase the visibility of your articles and blog posts, you should employ standard search engine optimization (SEO) strategies.
#22nd Myth: Google actively penalizes certain sites.”
Anyone who has dabbled in SEO has likely been perplexed by unexplained drops in ranking at some point. You may have upped your marketing efforts to no avail, and yet Google has decided to demote your site. It’s natural to worry that your site has been hit with a penalty, but that’s probably not the case. Google makes it abundantly clear that they will only take action against unethical tactics like spamming users on websites that violate their terms of service. For the most part, the issue lies elsewhere. One possible cause is actions taken by competing sites. It’s possible that your rival’s appearance on a hit TV show resulted in a flood of links to their website. There’s also the possibility that Google made an algorithmic change, which happens fairly frequently and can have a devastating effect on certain websites. The Panda update, which affected millions of websites, is still fresh in the minds of Internet users. When this happens, it can be challenging to determine what went wrong and how to correct it; instead, you may need to put in more time and effort into SEO to see any improvement in your ranking at all. Try not to resort to spammy methods or put the blame on Google.
AdWords on Google will guarantee top placement (Myth #23)
Google’s AdWords program is an excellent way to promote your website by placing ads on third-party websites. It’s a necessary component of any successful online advertising strategy. However, using AdWords alone won’t improve your search engine rankings. Some people mistakenly believe that Google will give an organization higher rankings in organic search just because they pay the company. Paid advertisements are clearly distinguished from organic results on a typical search engine results page. To be seen on the ads side of the page, a PPC ad campaign will give you a ranking, but it will not affect your organic search rankings.
SEO is a one-time process; this is myth number 24.
This is a common error among websites. When a brand new website is launched, its creators often spend money on search engine optimization (SEO) and assume their work is done. SEO, however, is not like traditional marketing in that it requires ongoing maintenance. Instead, it’s an ongoing task that must be carried out for a very long time, sometimes for the duration of the site’s existence. The reason for this is that the internet is not a static reference book but rather a dynamic medium. Links that were once beneficial may no longer be as relevant due to the emergence of new competitors, updates to search engine algorithms, the availability of alternative marketing channels, and the general decay of relevance over time. By monitoring your SEO efforts on a regular basis, you can prevent a drop in rankings and shift your attention to methods that may prove more effective over time.
Myth #25: SEO firms can ensure success.
As common as this claim is, it’s completely false, and yet some marketing departments persist in using it. They assert that if you follow their procedures you will successfully accomplish your goals. While SEO is essential, it is not something you do once and then forget about. The internet is a dynamic and ever-changing environment, where even the most reliable practices can suddenly become obsolete. There are undoubtedly superior strategies, but none that can be assured of success. Furthermore, if there was a secret to achieving a high position, word would eventually spread, and everyone would start employing the same strategy, rendering it useless.
Speculation No. 26: Google will punish you if you stuff a page full of links.
An excessive number of links per page has been said to negatively impact search engine rankings by some. If your landing page has over a hundred links, for instance, Google may punish you for it. Do not be afraid to make pages with lots of links, even though it is true that spamming links on a page is something you should not do and the Google bot has ways to detect when a page is a link bait one. Including them in your site’s regular flow won’t get you in trouble as long as they’re relevant. In such a scenario, the worst that could happen is that Google stops paying attention to links altogether.
Myth #27: SEO-related internal links are irrelevant.
As far as linking is concerned, many people only care about getting links back to their own pages (also known as “backlinks”). However, the structure of your site’s internal links is also crucial, as search engine spiders mimic human web browsers as closely as they can. Google will be able to tell if your site has poor internal linking structures and may punish you as a result. Spend the time necessary to make your site easy to navigate and to create useful internal links. You shouldn’t skip this step just because it’s simple.
Tweets and Facebook likes have the most impact on search engine rankings (myth 28).
The signals sent by social media sites are fed into search engines in real time, and these sites have taken on a pivotal role in how people find information online today. There’s no excuse for a 21st-century company to ignore social media, given how much time people spend on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. However, there is no silver bullet when it comes to search engine optimization for social media. Achieving a high number of Facebook likes can help, but it shouldn’t be prioritized over the other methods. The value of a like is still not as well understood as the value of a high Google ranking, according to some, even though many people spend a lot of time on social networking sites. You can’t just ignore traditional SEO and concentrate on social media.
As for the relevance of keywords, that’s Myth #29.
In the past, websites would have a paragraph at the end that was stuffed with keywords for increased traffic. As a matter of fact, search engines now actively discourage this practice, and savvy marketers have realized this is no longer necessary. Keywords, however, remain crucial despite this. Even though it is not recommended to overuse keywords on a page, it is still important to have a significant amount of your chosen keywords appear naturally throughout the text. A user’s search results will still be heavily influenced by how often a particular keyword appears on your page.
Myth #30: Bigger headers will boost your page rank
Header tags like H1 and H2 are important because search engines use them to understand the structure of your site; accordingly, your headers should make intuitive sense and include your keywords. Google and other search engines care more about the content and usability than the artistic style of a website, so the size and style of these headers, such as which CSS arguments you use, are irrelevant.
Belief #31: Keywords must be exact matches.
It’s true that search engine optimization requires words to match what people actually type in, but there are good reasons to use terms besides your chosen keywords. There are often many possible replacements for a given word, and people routinely enter these replacements. When you use more keywords, you increase the likelihood of capturing searches like these. Additionally, while keywords will bring up your site in the results, the title of that link will determine whether or not someone clicks on it. Having a catchy title that people want to click on is more beneficial than simply repeating a set of keywords over and over.
PageRank is irrelevant now is Myth #32.
When Google first became the dominant search engine, PageRank quickly became the primary metric for which marketers aimed. Although PageRank was (and possibly still is) the most influential input metric, Google has made it abundantly clear that hundreds of other factors go into determining where websites appear in search results. Some people, as a result, no longer put a premium on their position in the PR. PageRank may not be as important as it once was, but that doesn’t mean it’s obsolete. Although it’s true that you should prioritize other matters, you should also monitor your PageRank.
Myth #33: Anyone can spy on you using Google Analytics.
People may feel like they’re being spied on because Google Analytics is the most widely used analytics solution for websites worldwide. However, the company has repeatedly stated that Google Analytics does not transmit any personally identifiable information. In fact, if you implement this service on your own site, you will see that the information you have access to is completely de-personalized and reduced to numbers.
Website completion comes before search engine optimization (myth #34)
Search engine optimization (SEO) can be seen as a type of marketing, and while most marketing efforts are made after a site is completed, there are steps that you should take before. Take the layout, navigation, META tags, titles, and other aspects of your site as examples. The best time to implement these SEO best practices is during the site’s development. Remember that search engines will be able to find your site as soon as it goes live, so you’ll want your SEO to be ready whenever Google first crawls your site.
Myth #35: Boosting a website’s page rank by purchasing links, likes, or tweets.
A plethora of websites offer Facebook-related services, such as likes, followers, and so on, for sale. Services like “10,000 likes for $10” seem incredibly cheap at first glance. However, these are rarely worthwhile investments. Firstly, they are usually fake profiles, bots that only follow a large number of accounts for a fee. Since they are not human, no one will ever see your social signals, and as a result, they will not improve your search engine rankings. Worse, many websites, including Facebook, Twitter, and Google, prohibit such actions and may delist you if you are caught.
Myth #36: Untrustworthy sites always use paid links.
Many of the paid links offered by bulk services do indeed originate from dubious sources like bots or proxies. Even so, many reputable sites offer links for sale, whether in the form of advertising or even preferential treatment. This is because search engines give more weight to sites that have links from reputable sources.
The search engine will not identify spammy or unnatural links (Myth #37)
Some people who engage in unethical practices, such as purchasing links in bulk or using automated means to spam blog posts, believe that Google will not discover them and that they will benefit from their actions. Since Google and other search engines are not a part of the secret police, that may actually be true in many situations. The bigger risk is that the sites on which your links have been placed will be discovered and removed from the index, or that the actual algorithm will be modified to make those backlinks irrelevant, even if individual bad links are not discovered. When that happens, it could mean a major shift in your position.
False Belief #38: Don’t put up too many external links
Some argue that you shouldn’t link to too many external pages. The only time it’s a bad idea to link out to other sites is if you join a link-trading network to artificially boost your own search engine rankings. Consequently, if one site is discovered, the others may be next. There is no limit to the frequency with which you can link to other sites, and Google and the other major search engines do not care how many outbound links you have.
Myth #39: Pay-per-click advertising is unnecessary if your SEO is strong.
While PPC campaigns may not be necessary for sites that have invested heavily in SEO and received favorable organic results, they can be beneficial for those that have not. According to surveys, the people who click on ads and the people who click on organic links are not always the same people. This suggests that it may be beneficial to do both if resources permit. PPC links, on the other hand, only cost money if someone clicks on them, and they are immune to algorithm updates like Panda.
False Belief #40: You Can Influence Your Position In Search Results
Many marketing sites perpetuate the myth that they can influence search engine rankings in ways beyond what is possible with conventional SEO. The goal of search engine optimization is to raise the visibility of a website. By definition, any other effective strategy would have to be included in SEO in order to qualify. There is no silver bullet for improving your site’s position in search results, and anyone who claims otherwise is probably going to resort to dishonest practices to achieve their goals. However, your website will be vulnerable if you use spam and other spammy techniques. You might get a temporary boost, but it could cost you in the long run.
Sarah Johnson is an expert in the finance and business sectors with over twelve years of experience in the industries. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Harvard University and a Master’s degree in Business Studies and has worked for several varying financial institutions throughout her career. Sarah is also an official financial planner and has helped countless individuals and firms with their financial needs.
Sarah’s expertise in finance is well-established, thanks to her education, experience, and accreditations. Her articles on mdn.lol cover a wide range of finance and business related topics.