SEO is an ever evolving field. There are new changes every month or so. Some of them last for a while, others become norms. Specialists are careful in giving advice they cannot vouch for, so many others come with “surefire” tips and tricks to improve your ranking. Most of these are not true and can actually hurt your long term page rank and indexing. This is why we believe it is time to focus on common SEO myths and debunk them once and for all.
How Do SEO Myths Appear?
Very few SEO myths appear out of malicious intent. In most of the cases, we can describe their origin by the saying “hell is paved with good intentions”. A lot of people who are not really SEO specialists believe they’ve found a shortcut to help other site owners get on the first page of Google result faster.
In other cases, some changes appear to have a significant impact on SEO, but in reality Google is simply running some tests. Once the tests are over, whatever “fix” you may think you found is no longer valid. Last but not least, many common SEO myths appear because their authors do not really grasp how Google indexes and ranks websites.
Why Should You Avoid Falling Victim to Common SEO Myths?
One thing is clear for everyone who tried and failed to rank using SEO myth: Google does not take kindly to attempts to cheat its algorithm. It is so finely tuned and independent of human bias that not even Google websites can cheat their own system.
Once you are in SEO quagmire, it may take months to crawl back out of it. During this time, you miss thousands of business opportunities, because consumers will not see your site among the first Google search results. In a time when each customer and each sale counts, this could equal to business suicide for start-ups and small enterprises.
Here Are the Most Common SEO Myths Debunked
Let us see what you should strike out from your list of SEO tips and tricks once and for all:
1. New Websites Are Placed in the Google Sandbox
The first myth is called the Google Sandbox – a place of limbo where new websites spend a time before they are indexed and start ranking. The corollary is that you don’t have to worry about SEO during the first weeks and months after launching a website, since it won’t rank no matter what you do.
This myth was debunked by John Mueller, Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google in a Tweet replying to a SEO specialist’s question. We cannot think of a better authority in the field to provide reliable answers on the topic.
2. You Can Buy Backlinks
Yes, you can buy backlinks. But you shouldn’t. Here are just a few reasons why this is one of the most enduring common SEO myths and why it is so bad for your website. First of all, sites that offer tens of thousands of backlinks for a few dozens of dollars have dodgy content: porn, prescription pills for sale, gambling promos and other similar topics. You don’t want your brand associated with something like that, do you?
Secondly, the people who sell backlinks won’t simply assign a batch per buyer. The links you bought are also available to any other business that wants to jump the ranking queue. In reality, everyone loses in this transaction – less the sellers who get your hard earned money.
3. Your Site Will Be Penalised for Duplicate Content
This is one of the common SEO myths that stems from a misunderstanding. All the reputable SEO specialists say that duplicate content is not recommended. This is true. But Google does not actively pursue and strike down websites that have it.
In some cases, it is unavoidable. For example, if you sell similar products which differ in size, colour or other characteristics, you cannot create unique content for each of them. The solution would be to group similar products on a single page and provide links to pages that display photos, characteristics and the Buy Now button.
4. Google Ads Increase Organic Ranking
No, Google does not reward websites that purchase AdSense ads by giving them a higher organic rank. This myth probably comes from the fact that many companies run SEO and paid advertising in parallel.
The good results they see are the result of optimal keyword research and on-page and off-page optimisation. Google ads have really no impact on organic traffic. Thus, if you choose to spend money on paid clicks, make sure you realise what you are actually buying. Organic traffic is not one of the side benefits.
5. SEO Is Dead
Last but not least, the ultimate SEO myth: it is not working anymore. This is the bitter conclusion shared by many who committed various SEO mistakes and believed in the common SEO myths we described above.
SEO works. But you have to understand exactly what it can and cannot do and how to do it properly. If you try black hat tactics and various dirty tricks, then it won’t work. But it does not mean that SEO is dead. It simply means that you experienced the penalties Google levels against anyone trying to cheat its rules.