Common SEO Myths Busted

We only use 10 percent of our brains, lightning never strikes the same place twice. Myths are usually harmless, but unfortunately the same can’t be said for most myths. When you take these as marketing advice, it leads to wasted time and money. So let’s bust these myths and get you focused on the things that will move the needle. Stay tuned. The first and possibly most dangerous myth is that Echo is dead. Journalists say that many things are dead, like YouTube is dead. Facebook is that Bitcoin is dead and romance is dead. These kinds of headlines often lead to opinion editorials that end up being nothing more than click bait. Echo is alive and well. In fact, over the past three months, we’ve had over two million visits to our blog from Google alone. So why do people keep playing the same game? Well, the main argument is that Google is answering more and more queries right in the search results. For example, if you search for kilometers, 10 miles, Google provides a calculator and the results so you don’t have to even visit a page. In fact, 90 percent of searches for this query don’t result in a click to paid or organic positions. But this doesn’t mean that SEO is dead. You can still get clicks from this keyword. And Google doesn’t give definitive answers in this search results for every keyword anyway, not even close. So as long as search engines exist and have users, SEO isn’t going anywhere. The next myth is that Google only ranks fresh content. Does Google rank fresh content? Absolutely. But Google also ranks old content that hasn’t been updated in years. Freshness is a query dependent ranking factor, meaning fresh content matters for some search queries, but not so much for others. For example, this page on the human heart has had almost the exact same content since twenty thirteen. And if you look at the pages traffic trend, it’s continually getting search traffic to this date. Well, that’s because a quarry like picture of the human heart isn’t dependent on freshness, since nothing has really changed. Now a topic like top Google searches is something that changes over time. And if you look at the organic traffic trend for our post on this topic, you’ll see dips and then spikes in search traffic. Basically, the dips happened as the content got older without an update. And when we updated the post with fresh data, we saw almost immediate gains in search traffic. 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. This is a bit oversimplified so you can watch a tutorial on republishing content if you want more of a step by step guide on this. Bottom line, Google doesn’t only rank fresh content. The next myth is that duplicate content will get you penalized. 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’d be impossible to track properly since many pages are syndicated, scraped and can even be created without you knowing it like on category or archive pages. In fact, Google and its representatives have said on numerous occasions that Google doesn’t have a duplicate content penalty. But that doesn’t mean duplicate content is good for your site. It can actually lead to undesirable results like Backlund dilution wasted Kraul budget or syndicated content ranking ahead of you. For example, these two pages from Buffer are near duplicates and if we compare the other else and copy SCAP, you’ll see very high match rates. Now, if we analyze these pages in a batch analysis tool, you’ll see that each page has generated a good number of referring domains, but neither get very much search traffic.

So they could probably benefit from consolidating these URLs into one page and updating it to maximize link authority and search traffic. To find duplicate content on your site, you can run a free crawl using site audit in HFS Webmaster Tools. After the crawl is completed, go to the duplicate content report and click on the orange area beside the content category. Then it’s just a matter of analyzing and fixing your pages. We have a full video on how to use webmaster tools, so I’ll link that up in the description. The next myth is that SEO is a set it and forget it job. Yes, SEO can lead to free, passive and consistent traffic that doesn’t fade over time, but that doesn’t mean you can rank your pages and then call it a day. SEO is kind of like going to the gym. It’s OK to miss a workout here and there, but you have to go consistently in order to get results and maintain those results. If you choose to ignore all SEO efforts after your ranking high, you’ll likely lose back links while your competitors are building them. Your content will get stale for queries that rely on the freshness factor, and before you know it, you’ll see a slow and steady decline in search traffic. Which will likely affect your bottom line, the next myth is that 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 and Pinterest, the higher those pages will rank. After all, if tons of people are sharing something, it must be valuable, right? Maybe. But Google’s John Mueller has said that social signals don’t directly impact rankings. And while that word directly is up for interpretation, it makes sense that they wouldn’t use shares or likes as ranking signals. I mean, anyone can buy thousands of social signals for just five bucks. But if social signals aren’t a ranking factor, then why do studies like this one show a correlation between social shares and rankings? Well, correlation doesn’t mean causation. So the way I look at it is that social shares lead to more exposure and that often leads to more backlogs, which we know are a ranking factor in pages that rank well. And Google get more search traffic and assuming it’s a shareable piece, will continue to get shared on social. The next myth is that pay per click advertising won’t help you rank higher in search. Paying for ads doesn’t directly influence rankings, meaning Google won’t rank you higher in organic search just because you’re paying them. But PPC can indirectly help your pages get more back links because of increased exposure, just like social shares. In fact, we spent one thousand two hundred and forty five dollars on Google ads to see if search ads could lead to back links. Long story short, it works well. If you’ve been on queries that have so-called link content and we have a full case study on how we were able to do this, which I’ll link up in the description the next month we need to bust is that it’s always about ranking number one. We all want top Google rankings, but there’s a point where boosting your position for a single keyword may not be worth the required time and effort. In fact, our study of one hundred thousand search queries showed that the top ranking page only gets the most search traffic forty nine percent of the time. And the reason for this is because pages can get traffic from tons of relevant keywords, not just one. For example, if we look at the top 10 pages for the query high protein diet, you’ll see that the top page gets around eleven thousand monthly search visits from the US. But if you look at a couple of the other results, you’ll see they get significantly more search traffic.

Now, if you look at the number of keywords these pages rank for in comparison to the top page, it all makes sense. They’re ranking for hundreds and even thousands of more keywords. 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. And this is something we talk a lot about in pretty much all of our keyword research tutorials.

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