SEO Myths

seo myths

What are SEO myths, and how are they dangerous? SEO myths stem from a misunderstanding of how Search Engines work by those seeking quick and easy wins with little effort. They are harmful because following these myths could hurt or dilute your SEO campaigns.

How do SEO Myths come to fruition? Since we don’t know precisely how search engines operate, a lot of SEO is educated guesswork; this guesswork can lead to misinformation. These fables come from untested wisdom, exaggerated beliefs, outdated advice, and misunderstandings on Google processes.

Most common SEO Myths

Here are the most common SEO myths:

Google has a Sandbox.

Some SEOs believe Google will automatically suppress and test new websites in a SERP sandbox until they choose to rank them more freely. 

Success is never instant; it takes time to grow rankings and traffic.

Google is always testing websites to better understand and rank webpages; this can easily be construed as a sandbox.

Duplicate Content is a Penalty

Duplicate content is when you have content on your site that has been copied from another website; the belief is that Google will penalize you for it.

It’s essential to understand the difference between algorithmic suppression and a penalty in this instance. A Google Penalty results in a webpage being removed from Google’s index; a suppression is when the content rank isn’t as high as its competitors.

When the content is duplicated with no additional value, Google has no benefit in showing that result to readers.

Domain Age is a Ranking Factor

The domain age is not a ranking factor. Older domains typically have better traffic and rankings. It’s the same as saying most older people are wise, so to become wise, you only need to grow older.

Mature websites typically acquire more relevant backlinks, engagement, and trust. People see older websites ranking better, so they assume that it is a ranking factor. People don’t see all the years of hard work and dedication put into that content. Buying an aged domain doesn’t magically change that.

Tabbed content affects rankings.

Tabbed content is no different than full-length pages. As long as the content is visible in the HTML, Google sees it no differently.

If Google can easily fetch the HTML content, it is not an example of cloaking.

Google uses Google Analytics to rank pages.

Thinking Google Analytics is a ranking factor is wrong on so many levels; here are some quick points:

  • Not every website uses GA as its tracking source
  • Some websites never install analytics
  • Google Analytics as a ranking factor would be too slow and too large to scale
  • Not all sites weigh traffic the same way. 
  • It’s 100x easier to analyze the search result pages that Google owns and carefully guards.

PPC Ads improves Rankings

Google has two completely different algorithms for ranking organic search results and PPC ad placements.

Running an Adwords campaign while optimizing your website for SEO does not affect its rankings in the SERPs but could benefit in other areas.

Google Cares About Domain Authority

Domain authority is a metric developed by SEO companies (Moz, Majestic, Ahrefs); it’s not a Google metric.

SEOs can use these metrics to determine page values; however, those calculations don’t always accurately reflect how a search engine sees the page.

A deeper understanding of how SEO Myths occur

SEO myths can occur because of an inappropriate connection between an activity carried out and a rise in organic search performance.

SEO Fact finding

If an SEO has benefited from something they did, then it is natural to advise others to try the same. Unfortunately, we’re not always excellent at separating causation and correlation. Just because rankings or click-through rate increased simultaneously, the new tactic doesn’t mean it caused the increase in rankings.

Filtering out the BS

Before you listen to the latest SEO advice that is being spread, assess the person and the reason it is being shared.

Published on: 2021-02-07
Updated on: 2022-01-07

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Isaac Adams-Hands

Isaac Adams-Hands is the SEO Director at SEO North, a company that provides Search Engine Optimization services. Isaac has considerable expertise in Search Engine Optimization, Server Administration, and Cyber Security, which gives him a leg up as a Google Algorithm Analyst and SEO Expert.