All of us have heard more than one myth in our life. Some of them are harmless. For example, lightning never hits the same place twice. Whales do not get cancer. Gum takes seven years to digest.
Unfortunately, we cannot say the same for most SEO myths that are spreading every day. At best, they are somewhat misleading. At worst, they lead you to waste valuable time, money, and resources on things that will never improve your SEO.
A robust field, such as SEO, keeps changing all the time, so it is almost tough to keep track. Google keeps everyone on their toes with changes to their algorithm, such as the critical Penguin update from September 2016, describing a clear break towards rewarding high-quality websites in search results.
Due to the ever-changing conditions, many SEO specialists often pick up archaic, anachronistic, or completely wrong ideas about how SEO works today.
So, I am here to bust a few common SEO myths once and for all.
Table of Contents:
- SEO is Dead
- Google Only Ranks ‘Fresh’ Content
- SEO is All about Rankings
- PageRank Does Not Matter Anymore
- Keyword Research is Not Necessary
- Concluding Thoughts
1. SEO is Dead
Perhaps this one is more nonsense than a myth, but it is worth putting to bed anyway.
Lazy journalism likes to declare many things dead daily, and SEO is not a different case.
According to Ahrefs, this phrase has been spoken about 3,365 times since the beginning of June 2016. So, let us set a new record once and for all:
SEO. Is. Not. Dead.
So why do people keep saying that SEO is dead?
There are a lot of reasons, but the most famous case these days relates to the growing ubiquity of answers in search results like this:
Does that negatively affect the number of clicks on search results? Of course. That simply means that people click only 8% of the time.
But this does not have to mean that SEO is dead. You can still get clicks from this specific keyword, and Google only gives results in the search results for keywords anyway.
The truth is quite simple. As long as search engines exist, then SEO is not dead.
2. Google Only Ranks ‘Fresh’ Content
Republishing content is something that we might do a lot.
Why are we giving so much effort to keep our content fresh if freshness is considered a myth?
‘Freshness’ is a ranking factor, which means that it matters a bit more for some queries than others. Basically, it all depends on whether the freshness of the content has any influence on content quality.
SEO is continually growing, so freshness matters for many SEO-related queries.
For example, here is what can happen if you don’t update your list of the top Google searches for months:
The traffic will decline, but do not worry. It will recover once you refresh and republish your content. This is because the top Google searches change all the time, so people expect ‘fresh’ results.
On the flip side, freshness does not matter for a query like “how to tie a shoe” because the process, in this case, never changes. That is why Google is pretty happy to rank pages in the top three that were last updated in 2013.
3. SEO is All about Rankings
Everyone wants to rank number one, but they believe that the resulting number one gets the most traffic. However, most of the time, it is not the case.
Why? Well…Simple. Because most pages get traffic from several keywords, not just one.
The lesson here is that the time has come to stop worrying over first-place rankings and start focusing on your traffic instead.
You can read more about how to do that here.
4. PageRank Does Not Matter Anymore
PageRank is the framework of Google. It looks at the quality and quantity of your backlinks to estimate the value of a webpage.
Google verified that PageRank was still a ranking factor in 2018:
But ever since Google stopped public PageRank scores in 2016, some people think that we SEOs should not be talking about that metric anymore:
There is unquestionably some benefit to this reasoning. After all, there is a small point talking about a metric that we can no longer see. But the fact of the topic is that PageRank is still a ranking signal, which means getting high-quality links to your website still matters.
5. Keyword Research is Not Necessary
Knowing that most pages rank for hundreds or thousands of keywords, it is barely any wonder that some people think that keyword research is dead. People seem to devalue the optimization for one keyword, thinking that they can probably get traffic from hundreds and thousands of them?
That is flawed logic because a keyword’s reputation typically follows with the topic’s search traffic potential.
For example, we take these two keywords:
The second keyword has half the search volume of the first one. And if we look at the predicted traffic to each top-ranking page, we can see that the page ranking for the higher volume keyword gets way more organic traffic than the other one.
Important note from Linksignal: Search volume is normally a good sign of traffic potential, but not always.
Keyword research also helps assure that you are optimizing for the most popular way of searching for a topic. That is essential if you want to draw the most organic traffic possible to your page.
Read our keyword research guide to learn more about it.
Is this the full list of SEO myths? I’m afraid no… Far from it. These are hardly any of the most common ones. I come across them time and time again, so I thought it might be useful to include them in the article.
Did I miss any other frustrating myths? Write down in the comments section below about the myths that you heard that were the most frustrating and did not make any sense.