11 SEO Myths That Need to Be Busted Right Away!
Technologies have taken us light year ahead. Humans are more empowered than ever before. Lives are getting simpler and easier by each passing day. Everything is now on our fingertips. Even a two-year-old kid is now fully aware of the smart devices.
But still many of us are living in that Dark Age. Even tech savvy Digital marketers are not realizing what actually is working and what has been a long time myth.
I am talking about the SEO Myths, yes you heard it right! The SEO myths that actually means nothing but are widely believed and being followed for decades.
Before we dig into the popular SEO myths, let me brief you (for them who want the formal definition of myth) what actually called as myth.
According to wikipedia: A myth is any traditional story consisting of events that are ostensibly historical, though often supernatural, explaining the origins of a cultural practice or natural phenomenon.Myths are often stories that are currently understood as being exaggerated or fictitious. The word “myth” is derived from the Greek word mythos which simply means “story”. Mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. A myth also can be a story to explain why something exists.
That’s a typical definition.
In my words, A myth is nothing but a story weaved by someone and spread across peoples. It has nothing to do with the reality.
Many of us (even me in earlier days of my SEO career) believe SEO is a hide and seek game.
But sadly, it is not!
SEO is not a game (at least not now) that can manipulate the search engine results, rather it is a science. A Science that works on logic, calculated parameters, and balanced experiments.
So, today we are going to uncover 11 widely believed SEO Myths that sounds ridiculous.
Myth 1: SEO means promotion.
Fact: It is very clear from the name only that SEO means Search Engine Optimization and optimization does not means promotion anyhow.
In fact, a proper SEO strategy is to optimize each of your Webpages according to the guidelines of the search engines so that they can be easily accessible and visible while crawling by their bots. Moreover, making your website as simple as easy to walk through helps both readers and search engines.
Remember, the more smooth the road the more chances are to get riders. (Read road as website/blog and rider as readers/bots)
Myth 2: My website/blog does not have online payment system, why should I go for https (SSL Certificate)?
Fact: An SSL certificate boost the trust factor of a website for both users and search engines as, it secure the overall confidential data (email, passwords) by encrypting it. Moreover it assures the genuineness of the website as, it have the name of the registrar , serial number, issuing authority and certificate holders public keys that can help easily trace the registrar in case of any fraud or wrong doings.
Myth 3: More pages = more ranking influence over search engines.
Fact: A webpage is nothing but just a blank URL if, it does not have meaningful content. Think, why search engines (bots) would waste their precious time scanning your dumb pages and useless content. Moreover, having lot of useless pages can increase the load time and and reduce the speed of your website. In addition, a slow loading webpage ranks lower than the faster ones.
I would praise one of my favorite content marketers Brian Dean of Backlinko for having just 35 pages in his blog.(When I composed this post) Though there are only 35 pages in his blog, every page is ranking for multiple keywords in Google (at top 5 positions).
This clearly indicates that, having too many irrelevant and useless pages will not help you getting ranked in search engines.
Takeaway: Craft every page with same dedication and make them perfect as much as possible. Make them link magnet.
Myth 4: spinning/ tweaking content can save time and help in ranking.
Fact: A content is useless until and unless it is original.
So you are smart my friend, but Google is smarter than you 😛 , Now it reads the meaning of the content as well. Spinning or tweaking content will not change the intent of the article; it can only change the language tone.
Takeaway: before writing anything do a thorough research on the topic and take their Ideas not their words.
Myth 5: Alexa ranking is an SEO factor.
Before jumping to the fact let me first show you what alexa ranking is and how it works.
Alexa is a commercially web traffic and data analysis tool owned by Amazon that tells about the popularity of any website.
The lower the alexa rank, the popular the website is.
Fact: It is not an SEO factor but an independent scale by amazon to measure website traffic.
This is something I discovered in late 2012 and since then monitoring it regularly. What I found after a while is; it is a frisk. Anyone can manipulate it by installing the alexa toolbar on their web browsers.
If the visitors who are accessing your website have installed the alexa toolbar it counts in.
It has nothing to do with ranking factor. But yes, websites/blogs which are getting more visitors will get lower alexa rank than the lesser visited websites.
Myth 6: More back links= higher ranking.
Fact: Number of back links does not matter, but the quality of links does.
In fact, the links that have been intentionally created by doing traditional off-page activities (Directories, bookmarking and blah blah…) are almost worthless and serve no benefits any more.
There was a time when these tactics worked very well but alas, then Google launched an animal called Penguin, and everything got backfired. Moreover, it is now working on real time. So nice of you Google 🙁
SEO giant Rand Fishkin said, the links pointing to your website should be natural in nature not in feature. That simply means, if your webpages are worthy to recommend and have link magnets it naturally will produce back links.
Myth 7: More keyword in content= more chances are to get ranked.
Fact: Google prefers human friendly content, as the end users are not machines.
This is something that is known as Keyword stuffing. It was widely used before 2013 and helped in ranking too. The major issue that Google notices because of keyword stuffing was irrelevant and useless results with hundreds of repeated keywords throughout the page and Meta tags. So the boss of all SEO giants (read Google) came up with a solution and named it as Hummingbird.
One basic purpose to introduce Hummingbird was to serve conversational results to the users and it worked very well.
Myth 8: Keywords in Meta keyword section helps in ranking
Fact: Sadly, it is now obsolete and serves no purpose.
Myth 9: Keywords in Domain name helps in ranking.
Fact: It has been obsolete by Google EMD (Exact match domain) update.
It was a trend to buy domains containing targeted keywords in it. It worked in some extent as well. But it is not recommended and it does not help in ranking any more.
Furthermore, the domain names containing keywords looks cheap and not trustworthy. Here is a video of Google Search Spam team head’s Matt Cutts explaining the importance of keywords in a domain name.
As suggested by Matt cutts in the above video, one should go for branded domain names rather than keyword specific.
For example: Google.com has no any keywords, Twitter.com has no any social media meaning in its domain name, neither does Facebook but they are leading the world in social media.
Takeaway: Find a domain name that is unique, easy to pronounce over phone and have some strong meaning. It will help you make your own brand later.
Myth 10: Website layout doesn’t matters in ranking.
Fact: It matters a lot. If not, why would have Google emphasize so much on responsive layout?
When it comes to keyword ranking Google checks for almost 200 factors, be it content, site structure, images, Meta tags, alt tags and the list goes on…
It checks for everything possible that can help serve worthy results to the users.
Website layout is now an important factor for ranking as, more than 60% off internet users are accessing it through smart phones and tablets. So, it should be properly visible in every screen size. Otherwise it will increase the bounce rate and that’s a negative signal for Google ranking.
Myth 11: Free Images helps in ranking.
Fact: They do not help.
Nothing comes free. The images that we use free of cost has already been used by many websites before us. So, whom should Google rank for? Moreover, copyrighted images can lead you into legal battles. So, be cautious.
Takeaway: Try to use own images if possible or purchase one online, there are hell of online stores selling quality images. If can’t afford, at least give credit to the first owner.
Wrapping it up!
While composing this article I got to realize a funny fact that, all the myths listed above are actually being used to manipulate the search results. Though some tactics may work in some extent and can give short time benefits they are not going to help you for long.
My intention to write this post is not to make fun but to help you realize that what need to be done to stay competitive and what has been outdated.
These are some of the points that came to my head. If you have some more SEO myths to add, please feel free to share your view in comments below. Or if you have any doubt on the discussed points, jump-in in the comments and speak your mind. I will be happy to discuss it with you.
Lastly, if you found this post helpful and worthy, do share it with your friends and like-minded connections over the social media.