August 8, 2022
common SEO myths

Common SEO Myths

common SEO mythsThere are many common SEO myths spinning about and being shared on the interwebs, and it’s little surprise they get repeated because the world of search engine optimization is laden with esoteric terms. Search-centric companies publish articles with all kinds of analytic and metric data, which is often confusing to laypeople. Terms like “newsjacking,”, “siloing,” “query deserves freshness,” “negative SEO.” “latent semantic indexing,” “sentiment analysis,” “digital sharecropping,” and “rel=canonical” mean a lot to an advanced practitioner, but little to nothing to those outside the field.

As a result, there are many myths which are continually perpetuated. People come to believe them, because, as the infamous saying goes, “If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.”Not the myths are linked to a political or nefarious causes, but because it’s so hard for people to grasp an abstract that is routinely part of a real world commerce reality.

In other words, one of the biggest obstacles of learning search engine optimization is that people believe it to be some type of abstract. Google and Bing have hundreds of servers, real software engineers, and real infrastructure; therefore, while there is a level of theory in optimization signals and practices, the biggest part of it is tangible.

Understanding Search Optimization Basics

In a nutshell, search engines use software comprised of algorithmic signals, which quantify how websites are ranked in organic search, or what is called the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). It starts when a website is published on the internet. The search engines find the new site, include those new pages in their index, then apply their ranking factors to those pages, and ultimately placing them in a determined position on the organic search results page.

Even Google’s Matt Cutts has suggested we all worry too much about a generic PageRank score and should focus our concerns and efforts elsewhere (such as content). A PageRank score from the Google Toolbar really only has relative value, not specific value. It’s pretty safe to assume a PR2 site will not outrank a PR7 site within the same industry niche for the same keyword query. —Search Engine Land

Therefore, a website’s strategy should leverage those metrics in a responsible way so not to go out of bounds and crossing the lines, which is often referred to as “black hat.” Those ranking factors, the do’s and don’ts of search optimization, are actually published by Google and Bing. Though the search engines make public some of their signals, they don’t often expound on them. Other metrics are not publicly disseminated, which leads to all kinds of speculation, which in-turn, gives rise to many falsehoods.

Common SEO Myths

Okay, so let’s take a look at some of the most common, most repeated, and most widely believed falsehoods out there in cyberspace:

  • Backlinks are the most important ranking signal. While it is true that backlinks are important, they are not the most important factor in organic ranking. The biggest metric used by search engines is not inbound links, it’s relevance. That makes a lot of sense when you stop and consider the whole purpose of search engines.
  • Bounce rate is a factor in organic search placement. Bounce rate is important to webmasters because it lets them know how users are engaging with their site. However, Google and Bing don’t consider bounce rate at all because the search engines assume visitors found the information they were searching for, got it, and left.
  • Domain age plays a big role in ranking. Google’s Chief Webspam Engineer, Matt Cutts, has said that domain age is a relatively small factor in organic ranking. He also stated that once a website is a few months old, links and more particularity, content, become more important than age.
  • Paid campaigns boost organic rank. If this was true, there would be no need for optimization whatsoever. Google itself states in its paid search ads dashboard that it will not give marketers an advantage in organic rank. Again, it’s content, well-written, fresh material that delivers the most results over time.
  • Keyword placement density is a must. Actually, both are now obsolete, if not downright harmful. Where keywords are placed and repetition will not optimize a page. What’s more, these will actually bring diminishing returns.

Perhaps the biggest myth about search optimization is that by hiring a service, a site will magically pop-up on the first page of Google. The truth is that’s unlikely to happen. What should be the goal is to see traffic increase. If a site gets more traffic, that’s the whole point.

Owen E. Richason IV

Covers social media, apps, search, and similar news. History buff, movie, and theme park lover. Blessed dad and husband.     

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