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Top 10 Common SEO Myths Debunked

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Digital marketing is a dynamic field that constantly evolves. Especially if you provide Google SEO services, you must be aware of the updates in algorithms and trends; one minute, it’s hot. Next, it’s old news and a waste of your time and effort. 

Plenty of discussions is being held off-site with regular changes and updates, leading to countless myths being spewed and shared in the SEO community. Unfortunately, although myths are usually harmless, the same can’t be said for SEO. 

People often see SEO as a quick win, an easy solution. However, it can become your most robust sales channel if treated with respect. These myths will ensure that your efforts aren’t wasted on things that aren’t worth your time or directed where you’re most needed.

Let’s unfold these myths and get you focused on the things that will move the needle.

List of SEO Myths To Avoid:

Myth #1: SEO Is Dead

The first and possibly most dangerous myth is that SEO is dead. Often reported by journalists with headlines such as “Facebook is dead,” and “Bitcoin is dead” and everyone’s favourite, “romance is dead”, these provoking headlines often lead to opinion editorials that end up being nothing more than clickbait. Rest assured, SEO is alive and well. Google’s John Mueller says he doesn’t think search engines will ever advance to the point that SEO becomes obsolete but only evolves.

So why do people keep playing the same gong?

Well, the main argument is that Google is answering more queries right in the search results. For example, if you search for “MYR to US Dollars,” Google provides a currency-converter calculator in the results, so you don’t have to even visit a page. In fact, 90% of searches for this query don’t result in a click to paid or organic positions. But this doesn’t mean SEO is dead. On the contrary, you can still attain clicks from this keyword, and Google doesn’t give definitive answers in the search results for every keyword anyway. So as long as search engines exist and have users, SEO isn’t going anywhere.

Myth #2: Google Only Ranks ‘Fresh’ Content

Without a doubt, the fresher the content, the better for you. But Google also ranks old content that hasn’t been updated in years! Freshness is a query-dependant ranking factor. Meaning, fresh content matters for some search queries, but not so much for others.

 

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For example, WebMD published an article “Picture of The Heart” and this post had almost the same content since 2013. And if you delve into the page’s traffic trend, it has continually gained search traffic. Well, that’s because a query like “picture of the human heart” isn’t dependent on freshness since it needs no further updates. However, for a topic like “top Google searches” is something that changes over time. You might notice a dip in traffic, and basically, this happens as the content gets older without an update. When you update your post with fresh data, you can see almost immediate gains in search traffic. 

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So how can you tell if a query relies on freshness? The quickest and easiest way is to look at the top 10 ranking results. If you see that all of the pages have the current year in the title, there’s a high chance that freshness plays a role in ranking.

Bottom line, Google doesn’t only rank fresh content. 

Myth #3: Duplicate Content Will Get You Penalised

Simplified, duplicate content is exact or near-duplicate content that appears on the web in more than one place. But there’s no such thing as a duplicate content penalty. It would be almost impossible to track properly since many pages are syndicated, scraped, and can even be created without you knowing it, like in category or archive pages.

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In fact, Google and its representatives have stressed that Google doesn’t have a duplicate content penalty multiple times. But that doesn’t equate to duplicate content being suitable for your website. It can lead to unfavourable results, including backlink toxicity, wasted crawl budget, or syndicated content ranking ahead of you.

Myth #4: Social Shares Help You Rank Higher In Google

It’s reasonable to believe that the more your content gets shared on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc, the high those pages will rank. After all, if everyone is sharing something, it must be worth something, right? Maybe. But again, Google’s John Mueller has said that social signals don’t directly impact rankings. And while the word ‘directly’ is up for interpretation, it makes sense that they wouldn’t use shares or likes as ranking signals. Today, social signals can be easily purchased at a little over RM50. But if social signals aren’t a ranking factor, then why do studies like Strong Presence on Social Networks Is Correlated With Better Rankings by CognitiveSEO show a correlation between social shares and rankings? 

Well, correlation doesn’t mean causation. Personally, social shares lead to more exposure. And then often leads to more quality backlinks, which we know are a ranking factor. And alas, pages that rank well in Google get more search traffic, and assuming it’s a shareable piece, they will continue to get shared on social.

Myth #5: PPC Advertising Won’t Help You Rank Higher In Search

An indirect influence ranking factor is paying for ads meaning Google won’t rank you higher in organic search just because you are paying for these ads. However, PPC service can raise your chances of helping your pages get more backlinks because of increased exposure, just like social shares. It works well if you bid on queries that have so-called “link intent”.

Myth #6: Links are more important than content.

 Some people think backlinks are the most crucial aspect of SEO, but this is not true. Links drive your ranking power. They validate and improve the reliability of your website, but only if they are trusted and relevant to your pages. What happens when traffic hits your website is also something you should consider. What if you focus on link development, as some experts suggest, but don’t put as much work into developing high-quality content? Users abandon their shopping carts — this is a classic example of quality over quantity. A few high-quality links will generate more traffic than many low-quality links, and high-quality content that readers are interested in will keep them on your site longer.

At the Futuristic Group, our SEO consultants understand this sentiment and make sure that a strong SEO white-hat strategy is in place, backed up by quality and engaging content.

Myth #7: SEO is a one-time thing

SEO can lead to free, passive, and consistent traffic that doesn’t fade over time. But that doesn’t mean you rank your pages and then call it a day. SEO is an ongoing process that needs long-term commitments to witness its fruition. 

When it comes to SEO, it’s similar to going to the gym: if you maintain a good workout regime, most likely, you will receive the results you desire. If you choose to ignore all SEO efforts after ranking high, you will likely lose backlinks while your competitors build them. 

Your content will remain relevant for queries that rely on a freshness factor with a reputable SEO agency — The Futuristic Group can get you there. And before you know it, you will see a slow and steady incline in search traffic. 

Myth #8: SEO Is Always About Ranking #1

Sure, the dream of achieving top Google rankings is ideal, but there’s a point where boosting your position for a single keyword may not be worth the required time and effort. A study by Ahrefs shows that 100,000 search queries show that the top-ranking page only gets the most search traffic 49% of the time.

And the reason for this is because these pages can get traffic from tons of relevant keywords, not just one. So the lesson to take away from this is to focus on total traffic potential as opposed to a first-place ranking for a single keyword.

Myth #9: Rank Faster With Long-tail Keywords

Based on popular belief, long-tail keywords consist of many words, but this isn’t entirely accurate. In short, long-tail keywords are search queries with low search volumes, so the number of words doesn’t matter. But here’s the snatch, even though with its lower monthly search volume, long-tails are usually no easier to rank for than their more famous counterparts. Although the difference in search volume is quite vast, the scores are roughly the same. For low-volume queries, aka “supporting long-tail keyword”, it’s a less popular way of searching for a popular topic.

Primarily, Google ranks the same results as they do for the ‘main’ keyword, so it’s not usually easy to rank for these keywords. Instead, you can opt for “topical long-tails”. If all this is confusing to you, fret not; our SEO agency with expert knowledge will have the best solution for you.

Myth #10: The Higher Number of Backlinks, The Better

The pages with the top rankings in search and the sites with the highest domain authority probably have acquired substantial-quality backlinks from other websites. As crucial as backlinks are, just having many of them is not enough. It is also essential to consider the quality of your backlinks. In reality, issues such as toxic backlinks will damage your search engine ranking prospects. Check to see that you’re targeting trustworthy and relevant websites to your business while you’re developing a backlink profile. At all costs, avoid SEO black-hat strategies. 

Instead of having hundreds of low-quality backlinks, it is better to have a few numbers of high-quality backlinks. In addition, be sure that your content is link-worthy. The presence of hundreds of backlinks directing traffic to your website is counter-intuitive if visitors are not compelled to remain on your page or if your site is not user-friendly. Providing a high-quality user experience, rather than just producing traffic, is at the core of search engine optimisation. 

We hope this extensive list of SEO myths can put some of your worries to rest.