SEO is the most feared and respected topic among bloggers & online business owners. There’s just too much fuss on the internet when it comes to this topic.
Who doesn’t want their blog or website to rank high in search engines, right?
But, in order to achieve so, you need to stop believing the myths and lies about SEO. You need to stop following the outdated advice that you just read in some 2-year blog post.
In this post, I’m going to tell you about the 17 SEO myths that you should stop believing right away.
Myth #1: SEO means ranking high
Although ranking high can bring you a lot of traffic, just because your page is ranking high doesn’t mean you’ll get clickthroughs.
There are many possible reasons for this. Let me tell you why –
- You’re ranking for wrong keywords that are completely unrelated to your niche.
- Your meta descriptions are not appealing for the user. Make sure to write inviting descriptions that will compel people to click through to your page.
- The top featured snippet could sometimes get more clicks than the #1 listing.
SEO is not just about getting high ranks. It’s also about getting people to your website through search engines and making them stay there.
Myth #2: Submitting your XML sitemap boosts your rankings
Having an XML sitemap makes it easier for Google to crawl your website.
It is complete nonsense that Google won’t find your site if you don’t submit your sitemap. Google can still find your site without you submitting it.
Even if you do submit your sitemap to Google, it does not guarantee anything. Crawlers will find your site and index it in due time, so get this idea out of your mind.
Here’s what Matt Cutts from Google says:
“When you do a Google search, you aren’t actually searching the web. You’re searching Google’s index of the web, or at least as much of it as we can find. We do this with software programs called spiders. Spiders start by fetching a few web pages, then they follow the links on those pages and fetch the pages they point to; and follow all the links on those pages, and fetch the pages they link to, and so on, until we’ve indexed a pretty big chunk of the web; many billions of pages stored on thousands of machines.”– Matt Cutts
I’d still suggest you do it. Though it might not guarantee anything, it still helps Google to find your site easily.
Myth #3: Having an SSL certificate is not important for SEO
Not only having an SSL certificate on your site is important for SEO but it’s also necessary for good user experience.
Most of your visitors will leave your site if they notice that your site is not secured.
From an SEO perspective, Google has publicly stated that two websites that are otherwise equal in search results, if one has SSL enabled it may receive a slightly rank boost to outweigh the other.
Nowadays most hosting providers give free SSL certificate with their plans. If your host doesn’t have it, maybe it’s time to switch to a better host like Lyrical Host.
Myth #4: Meta descriptions improve search rankings
Meta descriptions have no impact on your search engine rankings directly, but that doesn’t mean they are completely useless.
Although meta descriptions may not affect rankings, they do affect clickthrough rates, which are in turn important.
Having a relevant & compelling meta description can make a huge difference between a searcher who clicks through to your page and one who clicks elsewhere.
And guess what: now search engines evaluate the clickthrough rate as a ranking factor.
So, it’s right to say that meta descriptions don’t affect your search engine rankings directly but they do have an impact indirectly.
Myth #5: More links >> More Content
Building links is one of the very important ranking factors. But that doesn’t mean the quality of links doesn’t matter at all.
Nowadays, it is important to focus on the quality of links you are obtaining, rather than the quantity. Sometimes less can be more.
So the question arises here is – link building or content generation?
I’d say both!
Focus on generating high-quality content and getting quality backlinks from high authority sites. Linking is not a numbers game anymore. You should focus on having relevant and diverse sources that link to relevant pages.
Myth #6: Keyword stuffing is the key to SEO
The use of keywords in SEO has changed drastically over the years. There was a time when you could use 15-20 keywords around a topic, but that really is not the case anymore.
The way people search for something has changed and so has Google’s algorithm.
Simply stuffing a few words is no longer enough to produce successful results, there are now hundreds or thousands of long-tail variations that are regularly searched within a topic and change based on location.
Myth #7: Pop-ups ALWAYS hurt your rankings
No matter how much you try to create a great user experience, you want your users to convert as well. Whether that be as a subscriber or a customer.
For this sole purpose, people started using pop-up forms on their websites and mostly the annoying ones.
Google had to intervene and they stated that they’d start penalizing websites with these “intrusive” pop-ups.
The point to note here is that not all pop-ups are treated equally in the eyes of search engines – just the ones that get in the way of a user’s ability to easily access the content on the page.
On the other hand, pop-ups including banners, slide-ins or exit-intended that don’t disrupt the user experience are just fine.
Myth #8: The title is the most important on-page SEO element
Yes, your title is important but not the most important SEO factor on your post and pages.
It’s how you structure or outline your content using different stying tags for a better presentation of information to users and search engines.
Always Remember: You’re optimizing your page for users first and foremost, which means that you want to tell them ASAP what your post or page is about through a clear title.
And from a purely SEO perspective, though, it now matters much less to have your target keyword as the first word in your title.
Myth #9: You need to repeat the EXACT keywords
No, it doesn’t work like that. We could say that this was a strategy that people used when Google was just a kid.
Nowadays, when Google is a smart teenager, it knows what you’re doing with those keywords and might penalize your website for keyword stuffing.
Make sure to use synonyms or words related to your keywords instead of repeating the same words again and again.
This rule applies not only to the content on the page but also to your headlines. The goal should be to inform the reader, not to inform the search engines.
Myth #10: User experience is not that important
People often forget that search engines work for users – the searchers.
As a result of which, people start optimizing their website for search engines and not the users. Because Google is going to bring users to your website, right?
But what if those users are not happy or satisfied with your content, they’re gonna leave and this will result in high bounce rates and low search rankings in return.
So, what’s the point of ranking high just to rank much lower?
You have to keep in mind that you’re creating content for your users. If you’re providing them a good user experience, it’ll ultimately pay off.
Myth #11: Your homepage needs to have a lot of content
No, your homepage doesn’t need a lot of content.
But it certainly needs enough content to tell your visitors who you are, what you do, your value proposition and what they should do next.
You have to make them leave satisfied and not overwhelmed or confused.
Myth #12: Google doesn’t know the quality of backlinks to your site
Trust me, Google does.
It knows everything from where you ate recently to which sites are linking to your website. Don’t try to fool them.
Having the poor quality of sites linking back to you will negatively impact your SEO.
Let me repeat – DO NOT BUY BACKLINKS!
Myth #13: More pages or content means more traffic
Just like getting backlinks, people believe that creating more and more content will get them more traffic.
Not every piece of content you create gets indexed or even if it gets indexed, there’s no guarantee that it’s gonna stay there.
Make sure you are focusing not just on the quantity of content, but on quality, too. If you don’t have good content, you will not rank well and all those pages you created will just be useless.
Myth #14: You don’t need to optimize your website for Mobile phones
With nearly 60% of the searches coming from smartphones, you can imagine why mobile-friendly websites should be a priority for Google.
Having a responsive mobile-friendly website design is not an option anymore, it’s a necessity and Google will reward you for it.
If your website is built with WordPress, make sure to choose a responsive theme just like Divi.
Myth #15: You don’t need to optimize images
Image optimization is an important part of On-page SEO and not optimizing your images will only hurt your SEO.
Search engines cannot see images on websites, so it is important to give the image an alt text and relevant file name to ensure Google knows what the image is about.
The image types that can be indexed by Google include BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, WebP, and SVG, so be sure to only use these image file types on your website to make it possible for Google to index them.
You also need to compress your images using a tool like Shortpixel to reduce their size and improve your page load speed.
Myth #16: Old domain means better rankings
DO you really believe that Google is going to give a ranking advantage to ancient domain names?
For new sites, domain age matters a little bit more, as most new sites contain little content and it takes time for them to build up a valuable content base.
Otherwise, domain age is a pretty insignificant factor for SEO, especially after a site has been around for two or three months.
Myth #17: Google never forgives you
So, what if you get a Google penalty? Is Google going to remember forever about what kind of a shameless creature you are?
No, it’s not completely true.
You just have to fix the problem as soon as possible. If you notice a manual action has been placed on your website in Search Console, you have the ability to resolve the action, and then submit a reconsideration request. If Google can confirm that you’ve fixed the issue, the action will be lifted.
So, does that mean you’ll return right back to your previous position in SERPs? Maybe — or maybe not.
The key thing to remember here is that your search visibility is constantly changing. So if you don’t end up in the exact spot you were before the penalty, it’s totally natural.
Did you get it? As I said, there’s just too much fuss and outdated information about SEO on the internet.
Understanding these SEO myths will make you both more effective and more efficient with your organic search strategy.
Just keep in mind that users or searches always come before search engines. They should be your top priority.
So, what are some of the common SEO myths that you were believing in?
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