Top 10 SEO Myths Debunked

top 10 seo myths debunked

With over 200 ranking factors used to influence search engine results and an ever changing algorithm used by Google, SEO can be quite a tough gig for those who aren’t well versed in the field. Alongside this, the web hosts a lot of misinformation about which tactics work and the external factors which can have an impact. This blog post helps to decipher the myths and misinformation about SEO that circulates the web and provides further clarity.

1. Position 1 Organically is All That Matters

From a traditional position 1 – 10 SERP aspect this is correct, organic position 1 yields around 35% of clicks falling off to 2% at the bottom of page 1. However as search has evolved this has become less relevant with the introduction of featured snippets, map pack and video and shopping content within search engine results pages. For certain keywords, the more of the features that are present for a SERP, the further down position 1 organic is within the search results, this can even be below the fold for both desktop and mobile devices. This reiterates that your strategy should also include gaining further exposure through utilising further visibility from the other features available in search results for the given keywords.

2. Google Ads Can Increase Your Organic Rankings

This one is a myth as old as time itself! Running Google Ads does not have a direct impact on your organic rankings at all, however it can help to further improve your visibility for given keywords in SERPs. PPC and SEO can work together with PPC helping to get the traffic generated for a given keyword instantly whilst SEO builds up the organic ranking of the keyword overtime. It shouldn’t stop there though, as both working in tandem help to improve your overall visibility for a keyword in the ever changing layout of SERPs.

This is where Embryo’s own Intermingle software comes into play. Intermingle paints a picture of the SERPs for a range of keywords and helps to decipher the types of results being displayed, including paid ads, shopping, map pack and featured snippets. This can then help you to make an instant decision on your strategy such as running a PPC ad for this keyword will help to improve the overall visibility, creating featured snippet content for this key term or optimising for the map pack can help to improve above the fold visibility. This again backs up the previous point that position 1 organically isn’t all that matters. If you’d like to find out more about Intermingle, get in touch with the team.


3. SEO is a One Time Activity

Unless you want to see your competitors start outranking you in search results and taking more of the market, SEO is definitely not a one time activity. SEO is not just a case of completing activities to make your website crawlable by Google, SEO is a tech team helping to make sure that your website meets the changing landscape of search, ensuring your website loads efficiently for both mobile and desktop users, SEO is the content team that creates quality content that helps to build your keyword reach and visibility, SEO is the digital PR team that outreach to gain quality backlinks back to your website that build your domain’s authority and rankings. Neglecting these activities can lead to your competitors sailing past you in the SERPs.

4. Domain Age is a Ranking Factor

Google have actually debunked this myth themselves. Out of the many ranking factors used to rank pages in search results, according to John Mueller domain age is not a direct ranking factor. The only favour that an older domain has in search results is time, more time to do things well and overtime gain those high quality backlinks to influence rankings compared to a younger domain that’s only been live for around 6 months.

5. Tabbed/Accordion Content Affects Keyword Rankings

Myths have long circulated that content in tabs or accordions on websites affect rankings stating that Google won’t value the content within these sections. Google has again debunked this as recently as March 2020, as long as the content is available within the HTML of the page, Google can crawl the content within accordions or tabs. The tabbed content potentially won’t help to generate a featured snippet however but in terms of the rest of the content of the page it carries the same weight.

6. Social Signals Improve Rankings

Social signals don’t correlate to better rankings directly, Google isn’t counting how many times your content is shared socially and then using this information to rank your page. This would be a system too easy to game in reality. Where social does play it’s part in SEO is more shares potentially lead to more backlinks back to the content which does have an impact on keyword rankings. Further to this your content being shared socially helps to raise brand awareness, in turn improving searches for your brand in search engines.

7. SEO is All About Rankings

Whilst rankings are a key part of SEO, it isn’t the be all and end all. Often we get fixated on ranking position 1 for one keyword, we forget that there is more than just this one keyword that the page is ranking for in search results. All the other keyword variations work together to drive traffic to a given landing page. This again rings true with a keyword which potentially has a low search volume, when including the variations of the keywords together the search volume as a collective is much higher. Traffic should take precedence as another keyword is potentially the one at a given time driving more users to the page.

8. PageSpeed isn’t Important

PageSpeed is a critical ranking factor, a slow loading website can reduce your chances of retaining users and increase abandonment rate. Google has upped its game again with the introduction of Core Web Vitals building upon how website pages are rendered for both mobile and desktop devices, measuring largest contentful paint (loading performance of a page), first input delay (time to interactive) and cumulative layout shift (visual stability) which all help to provide a good user experience. Along with the other ranking signals, Core Web Vitals helps build upon your rankings.

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9. Keyword Density Improves Rankings

In truth, there is no ideal keyword density measurement for rankings. Stuffing content with one keyword won’t help to improve your rankings and can have the opposite effect. Google is a search engine with user experience at its core, content should read naturally and match the intent of the intended search term. This doesn’t mean you should throw keywords out completely but rather focus on how to use them efficiently for a helpful and engaging user experience.

10. Links Don’t Matter

Google’s PageRank toolbar may well be in a cemetery with other past Google innovations, however PageRank is still an important ranking factor, it’s just not a public facing metric anymore. Backlinks are still important, they help build a website’s trust and authority in search results and backlinks continue to help Google to understand how popular something is on the web. Whether built through outreach or strategic digital PR campaigns, links continue to be an important if not one of the most important ranking factors around.

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