14 seo myths that will hurt your seo strategy
14 Common SEO Myths That Will Hurt Your SEO Strategy

SEO is dead. You need more pages to rank. Paid advertising can help with organic searches. You might have heard all of these being said before, but are they true? There are so many SEO myths that will hurt your SEO strategy if you don’t know how to separate fact from fiction.

So, I’ve compiled 14 common SEO myths, based on what I hear most often.

#1. SEO is a one-time task

Unlike a George Foreman grill, with SEO you can’t “set it and forget it”.  Doing SEO once is like setting up your shop window and never ever changing the display.  Over time, people will lose interest and will stop coming.   It’s the same for website visitors.  The bottom line is, search engines want to make sure that the searcher receives the best result for their search query and to ensure that website owners aren’t trying to scam their way to the top. Algorithms are always changing and in order to rank well you’ve got to keep signalling to Google and to your users that your website deserves the top spots.  So, there’s no getting around it.  SEO is an ongoing process. There are no shortcuts unless you want to risk getting penalised.  It’s a long-term investment into your business, where you continually provide value and relevance to your website visitors where eventually your investment will pay off.  Be consistent and be patient.

Related: SEO tips for small businesses

# 2. Adding more pages boosts SEO

It’s a common misconception that adding more pages boosts SEO.  What matters is the quality of the pages and not the quantity.  Simply put, adding more pages to a website provides no advantage if the content is not relevant. Remember, Google and other search engines are sophisticated and they focus more on quality than quantity. So, don’t set up pages for the sake of it.  Put effort into creating useful, informational content, add quality backlinks and generally provide a great user experience.

# 3. Long tail keywords won’t get you enough traffic

A ‘long tail keyword’ is a search term that’s longer and more specific that visitors are more likely to use when they’re closer to a point-of-purchase.  For example, a person searching for ‘solar panels for homes in rural areas’ is more likely to be nearly ready to buy solar panels than someone typing in “solar panels”. Of course, long tail keywords tend to have a much lower search volume and therefore less search traffic, but will usually have a higher conversion value,since they are more specific.  Writing content around long tail keywords should most certainly be part of an overall content strategy.

Related: 5 ways to find long tail keywords for free

# 4. Duplicate content will get a site penalised

Google doesn’t like to be confused. And duplicate content is confusing and forces the search engine to choose which of the identical pages it should rank in the top results. However, Google doesn’t consider duplicate content as spam, and it doesn’t lead your site to be penalised unless it is intended to manipulate the search results. If pieces of content are duplicated, there’s a strong possibility that the original page will not be the one chosen for the top search results.  So, while duplicate content won’t get your website penalised, the content you’ve worked hard on creating won’t rank as well as it could.

# 5. You need to submit your site to Google to rank

Google uses bots called web crawlers to locate and index content.  If you don’t submit your website sitemap to Google it will find your content eventually.  However, if you want to make your content easier to be located then you can submit an updated sitemap through Google Search Console.  If you’ve revamped your website or added a lot of new content recently it’s recommended to submit the sitemap.  Bottom line, you don’t have to submit your site but telling Google you’ve got improvements to your site to check out will help things along.

# 6. Quantity of backlinks is more important than quality

A quality backlink is a link that comes from a high domain authority website that is well-trusted by search engines and searchers alike. Sites such as the BBC, the Financial Times and Amazon would be good examples. Linking to high authority sites means they are beneficial for domain authority and SEO rankings.  But, they are also very hard to get. On the other hand,  the overall number of backlinks that will benefit rankings. Bottom line, it’s not an either / or answer.  Building lots of backlinks with a range of domain authorities would be a better strategy than simply obtaining a few high authority links or getting a lot of spammy ones.

#7. Meta descriptions are a ranking factor

Meta descriptions are not a ranking factor. However, they remain relevant for the user experience.  Providing a good description tag increases the click-through rate and can help your site rank better over the long run.

# 8. Page speed isn’t important

Nothing could be farther than the truth. Faster pages provide a much better user experience. As per this Load Stream infographic, if a page takes longer than 3 seconds to load, over a quarter of users will click away and choose a different search result.  To check your web speed, use a tool like Pingdom or GTmetrix.  If your site loads in more than three seconds, speak to your developer about possible improvements.

# 9. SEO is dead

This is my favourite SEO myth.  If SEO was dead, there’d be an awful lot of SEO professionals and agencies going out of business.  SEO is most certainly not dead, but it is changing.  Maybe the person who said it was dead was still engaging in old SEO tactics that are outdated and are against Google’s guidelines.  With millions of web pages being added every day, you’ve got to keep signalling to search engines that your website is worthy of ranking highly.  So, no folks, SEO is anything but dead.

# 10. Google ranks fresh content

Fresh content means content that’s recently published, updated, or rewritten. Google and users appreciate fresh content because it’s more likely to be accurate. Freshness is a ranking factor for Google but only for pages that target time-sensitive and trending queries. The freshness of your content can impact your rankings on Google, but only if the end-user needs fresh content to find value. For people searching topics that require up-to-date information such as security alerts or traffic updates, the information needs to be timely to be relevant. On the other hand, it won’t matter if the content around how to grow vegetables in your garden was posted last year.  When thinking about Google, remember it’s all about the user. if it doesn’t make sense to the searcher, it doesn’t make sense to rank.

Read: 5 Simple Copywriting Tips To Boost Ranking

#11.  Older domains rank better

Many people think that domain age is a ranking factor and that if a website is five years old it’s going to rank better than a site that’s one year old.  It’s not about how old the domain is. It’s about what work has been done on the site in that time.  A three year old site with hardly any backlinks and old content is likely not to rank as well as a one year old site that’s pushing out great quality content on a regular basis and is building a solid backlink profile.  When an older domain ranks higher than a younger domain, it’s a by-product of the domain age, not because of it.

#12.  Longer posts rank better

The ultimate goal with a piece of content is to answer the searcher’s query the best way possible.   A blog of 2000 words that doesn’t answer the question being asked in a satisfactory way isn’t going to rank.  If the visitor can’t find the answer, they will be unlikely to read all the way to the end.

According to John Mueller from Google, “Nobody at Google counts the words on a page.  Write for your users.”   It’s not about content length or the number of keywords. It’s about how well you answer the question being asked and if you’ve provided a good user experience by including images and having a good layout on the page.

#13.  A high bounce rate is bad for SEO

If a visitor lands on your website and leaves immediately, Google will see that as a “bounce”.  It’s a metric that shows how many people left your website without taking any action such as going to another page or clicking on a link.  But sometimes there’s no need for the visitor to take more action once they’ve landed on the Home page.  Let’s say someone lands on a plumbing site and finds the phone number right away. They’ll call the business without taking any other action.  Google will consider that a bounce but the business might very well convert that customer.  So, it’s not advisable to use the bounce rate as a KPI.

#14.  Google Ads will make a site rank higher

Many website owners think that if they pay for Google Ads that their website will rank higher. But paid advertising and organic traffic are two completely different things.  Paying for Google Ads might get your site to the top of the first page in the ads section but it has no bearing on organic searches.

And finally…..

With so much conflicting information out there it can be hard to separate fact from fiction.  SEO is constantly changing, so don’t worry if you didn’t realise some of these were myths.  It happens to be the best of us.

There are a lot of SEO myths out there so we've put together the most common SEO myths to be aware of so you can rank more highly online.

14 Common SEO Myths That Will Hurt Your SEO Strategy