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16 Top SEO Myths Busted – Are You Making These Mistakes in 2023?

September 18, 2023 | and
Top SEO myths busted

SEO myths that might be sabotaging your efforts

Unlocking the secrets behind search engine algorithms is a perpetual challenge in the world of SEO (search engine optimization). Google uses over 200 ranking factors in their algorithm.

Achieving a high rank holds immense significance. For instance, do you know the top three Google search results get 54.4% of all clicks? As you descend to the tenth position on the first page of Google search result, the CTR (click through rate) dwindles to a mere 2.2%.

Naturally, you aspire to reign at the summit. But algorithms are constantly evolving, and Google, which accounts for 84% of searches as of July 2023, keeps the details of its ranking criteria a closely guarded secret.

Getting a coveted high rank on search engine result pages requires more than just guesswork – it demands clarity on the SEO realities and misconceptions that shape your strategy.

We will be debunking the most prevalent SEO myths that might be sabotaging your efforts. Are you inadvertently falling for these misconceptions about SEO? Let’s find out.

From misunderstood ranking factors to the elusive notion of SEO shortcuts, this article dismantles the myths and equips you with actionable insights to elevate your SEO game.

Myth 1: Google Cares About Domain Authority

You must have wondered — Does Google care about Domain Authority?

No, Google doesn’t use Domain Authority (DA) as a ranking factor. According to John Mueller, Search Advocate at Google, DA is not a metric used by Google. They do not use it for crawling, indexing or ranking.

Mueller has repeated over the years. Even last year, in 2022, answering a question on Reddit about how to increase a website’s Domain Authority Mueller answered:

“… you do not need DA for Google Search. Google doesn’t use it *at all*. If you’d like to level your site up in search, you’d need to focus on something else, or at least use other metrics for it. This is mostly why DA as a metric is frowned upon by many SEOs. For context, I don’t think I’ve ever looked up the DA for a site in the 14 years I’ve been doing this.” (John Mueller on Reddit: u/johnmu)

In a detailed article on DA, Search Engine Journal states, “…we can conclude that Domain Authority is definitely not a ranking factor.”

In fact, DA is often confused with PageRank, one of over 200 ranking factors that Google uses to rank webpages. However, website owners or digital marketing companies don’t have access to this metric.

In a 2020 tweet, Mueller stated:

“Yes, we do use PageRank internally, among many, many other signals.”

Myth 2: Domain Age is Important

You must have wondered — Is domain age important for SEO?

The misconception that older domains are favored in search rankings is common. Although older domains may gather more backlinks, Google prioritizes relevance and quality over age. Fresh, user-centric content can surpass older domains; age alone isn’t a ranking guarantee.

Mueller categorically specified in a 2019 tweet:

“No, domain age helps nothing.”
SEO Myth about keywords

Stuffing content with keywords hurts user experience.

Myth 3: More Keywords Mean Better Rankings

You might have believed — More words for better SEO, right?

While keywords remain important for signaling content relevance, overloading your content with keywords can result in poor user experience and potentially lead to keyword stuffing penalties.

In the early days of SEO, keyword stuffing was a common practice to manipulate rankings. Search engines have become much smarter since then.

Google advocates content tailored for human readers rather than keyword-stuffed material, but it has never explicitly dismissed keywords’ importance.

Focus on creating high-quality, engaging, share-worthy content that naturally incorporates relevant keywords.

Myth 4: AI Content is Not Good for SEO

You must have wracked your brains on — Is AI content bad for SEO?

AI-generated content isn’t inherently bad for SEO. Google’s Danny Sullivan has emphasized that Google is primarily focused on the quality of the content itself, regardless of how it was produced.

Google’s guidelines state that the use of AI or automation is acceptable as long as it is not used for spammy content. It is the quality of the content, not its origin, that is the concern.

Google is committed to penalizing spammy content, regardless of whether it is human or AI-generated, underscoring the importance of content quality.

AI can be helpful for tasks such as structuring text, proofreading, generating outlines, and suggesting titles, so use it to your advantage.

It is recommended that both machine-generated and human-written content be thoroughly reviewed before being published on your website.

Myth 5: Bounce Rate is a Major Ranking Factor

You must have wondered — Does Google use bounce rate as a ranking factor?

Bounce rate isn’t a key ranking factor. It’s often misunderstood as one. While it reflects engagement, it doesn’t define content quality. Users may leave after finding what they need, which can be positive.

During a webmaster hangout video in 2020, Google’s John Mueller mentioned at the 25-minute mark, “I think there’s a bit of misconception here that we’re looking at things like the analytics bounce rate when it comes to ranking websites, and that’s definitely not the case.”

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave a webpage without interacting further; it is often mistaken as a major ranking factor.

While it can reflect user engagement to some extent, it’s not a definitive measure of content quality. Users might leave a page after finding the needed information, which can still be a positive outcome.

Google’s consistent stance over the years has been that bounce rates and click data are not ranking signals.

Myth 6: Backlinks are a Top Ranking Factor

You must have wondered — Lot of backlinks means great SEO, right?

Backlinks are important for SEO but they aren’t the authoritative determinant of rankings. The quality and relevance of backlinks matter more than sheer quantity.

Google’s algorithms have evolved to reward high-quality, authoritative links and penalize spammy ones. While relevant backlinks contribute to ranking, they must complement other optimizations like quality content and technical efficiency.

To quote Google’s John Mueller on backlinks:

“We try to understand what is relevant for a website, how much should we weigh these individual links, and the total number of links doesn’t matter at all. Because you could go off and create millions of links across millions of websites if you wanted to, and we could just ignore them all.”

Myth 7: Keywords in URLs are Very Important

You must have wondered — Do keywords in URLs significantly impact SEO?

While keywords in URLs can have some impact on SEO, it’s not a major ranking factor. Instead of restructuring your site for keyword inclusion, focus on creating user-friendly URLs that accurately represent your content.

SEO myth about PPC

PPC campaign doesn’t influence your organic ranking.

Myth 8: PPC Advertising Boosts Rankings

You might have believed — My website isn’t getting rankings because I didn’t invest in PPC.

That websites benefit from better rankings by investing in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising with Google is an unequivocally false belief.

Google’s organic search and PPC ad placement algorithms are entirely separate. While running a PPC campaign alongside SEO efforts may offer indirect benefits, it won’t directly influence your organic ranking.

Myth 9: Duplicate Content Penalty

You must have wondered — Does Google penalize duplicate content?

To answer it plainly, Google doesn’t impose a duplicate content penalty on web pages with duplicate copy. However, the truth about duplicate content is far more nuanced than an oversimplified understanding.

To better grasp this concept, it’s crucial to differentiate between two distinct scenarios:

  • Manual actions
  • Algorithmic suppression

Manual actions involve human intervention, resulting in the removal of web pages from Google’s index. These actions are typically communicated to website owners via Google Search Console.

Algorithmic suppression occurs when content struggles to rank due to algorithmic filters. If your content resembles another webpage, Google might prioritize the source as more relevant to certain search queries.

As a result, your page’s visibility might be limited, not due to a punitive penalty but rather the algorithm’s effort to provide accurate and diverse search results.

As a website owner, you should create unique, valuable content that caters to your audience’s needs while respecting intellectual property rights.

Myth 10: You Can Optimize Copy Once & It’s Done

You would love to believe — So I have optimized my content and my SEO is sorted.

Sadly, no. Optimization is continuous, not a one-time task. Regularly refresh content to enhance keyword rankings and content performance, especially for older pieces seeking improved rankings.

Search behavior, keywords, and search engine algorithms evolve. Optimization requires ongoing monitoring and adjustments to maintain relevance.

Neglecting updates can lead to outdated content and losing rankings. Keep your content fresh, aligning it with user needs and search trends.

Myth 11: You Need to Include ‘Near Me’ for Local SEO

You may have done this — Included ‘near me’ in keywords and content for all your local SEO.

The belief that adding “near me” to content is essential for local SEO oversimplifies the concept. Google considers user intent and location for local searches.

“Near me” searches are more about searcher intent than specific keywords. Focus on being relevant to the user’s location rather than forcing “near me” into your content.

Local businesses can improve their visibility in local search results and attract more customers by following a four-phase cycle:

  1. Understand your audience Who are your target customers? What are their needs and pain points?
  2. Optimize your listings Make sure your business information is accurate and up-to-date on all relevant platforms.
  3. Create high-quality content Write blog posts, create videos, and share photos that will be relevant to your target audience.
  4. Promote your business Use social media, run online ads, and participate in local events to reach your target audience.

Myth 12: Better Content Equals Better Rankings

You have heard it umpteen times — Content is King.

While it is true, from an SEO perspective, we need to understand – how does quality content help to do a better SEO?

Content must align with search intent, be technically optimized, and effectively target keywords. Ensure content accessibility and provide ample contextual information.

While high-quality content is crucial, it’s not the only factor influencing rankings.

Even exceptional content might not rank if it doesn’t fulfill user needs or meets other ranking criteria. Content is a part of the ranking puzzle, not the sole solution.

Myth 13: You Need to Blog Every Day

You might have tried hard — To blog everyday for SEO.

The idea that daily blogging is a must for SEO success doesn’t hold for every website.

The 2011 freshness algorithm update rewarded newer results for timely queries.

To quote Google:

“For example, if you’re researching the [best slr cameras], or you’re in the market for a new car and want [subaru impreza reviews], you probably want the most up to date information. … There are plenty of cases where results that are a few years old might still be useful for you. [fast tomato sauce recipe] .. Different searches have different freshness needs.”

Google does value fresh content, but that doesn’t necessarily mean posting every day. If your content is time specific, it is advisable to keep updating it.

Well-researched, authoritative, and shareable content has value.

SEO myth about Google analytics

Google doesn’t use Google Analytics data for ranking

Myth 14: Google Analytics (GA4) Data is Used in Search Rankings

You would have wondered — Does Google use data from Google Analytics to rank websites?

Google Analytics data is not a ranking factor. It enables you to measure traffic and engagement across your websites and apps.

This myth has been debunked by Google’s John Mueller, who confirmed that Google doesn’t utilize data from Google Analytics for search.

Integrating Google Analytics data into the ranking algorithm is complex, as determining “good performance” is subjective and context-dependent.

Also, the diversity of Google Analytics configurations across websites adds to the complexity, as each account may have different settings that make uniform application unfeasible. The use of filters can distort performance and lead to inaccurate rankings.

The multitude of websites that use alternative analytics platforms makes it even more challenging to use this data for ranking purposes.

As a business owner or marketer, you can stop worrying about the impact of Google Analytics data on rankings.

Myth 15: Google Has 3 Top Ranking Factors

You must have wondered — What are Google’s 3 top ranking factors?

While links, content, and user experience are important, there’s no universally fixed set of top 3 ranking factors. The importance of these factors can vary based on search context and intent.

Google representatives have indicated that ranking signals can differ for different queries and industries.

John Mueller elaborated on it in this Google Webmaster Hangout.

Myth 16: Google Respects the Declared Canonical URL as the Preferred Version

You would have believed — The declared canonical URL is the one Google will display in search results

Canonical tags are a way of telling search engines that a specific URL represents the master copy of a page. In other words, it tells search engines which version of a URL you want to appear in search results. However, Google may choose a different canonical URL based on various signals.

External backlinks, sitemaps, and site structure can influence Google’s choice. Canonical tags aren’t guaranteed. Monitor Google Search Console for insights on canonical URL selections.

Google in its Search Console Help document clearly states:

Duplicate, Google chose different canonical than user

This page is marked as canonical for a set of pages, but Google thinks another URL makes a better canonical. Google has indexed the page that we consider canonical rather than this one.

Navigating SEO Myths

Strategies must adapt to individual contexts to navigate SEO myths

How to Navigate SEO Myths

SEO isn’t a one-size-fits-all discipline. Best practices and core principles exist, but strategies must adapt to individual contexts.

Factors like industry, competition, and user behavior influence the effectiveness of SEO tactics. Flexibility and continuous learning are crucial.

Recognizing and managing SEO myths is essential for maintaining an effective and informed approach to search engine optimization.

Here’s how you can navigate through the intricacies of SEO myths:

1. Understanding SEO Myths

Before addressing common SEO myths, it’s important to grasp the forms they take. SEO myths often arise from untested wisdom, minor factors blown out of proportion, outdated advice, and even misinterpretations of information from Google representatives.

We hope that this Wisitech blog on SEO misconceptions cleared your doubts and will help you design a more robust SEO strategy for your business.

2. Critical Thinking and Evaluation

When confronted with a potential SEO myth, pause and apply critical thinking. Consider whether the proposed advice aligns with the fundamental principles of search engines and user experience.

Ask questions like “How would this benefit users?” and “Is this advice substantiated by reliable sources?” You can better discern between useful insights and misleading myths by evaluating claims.

3. Recognizing Google’s Role

As a primary player in the SEO landscape, Google can inadvertently contribute to creating myths. Misunderstood statements or ambiguous advice from Google representatives might spark misconceptions within the SEO community.

To counter this, critically assess any advice attributed to Google, seeking to understand the context and intent behind their statements.

4. Individuality of Strategies

Each website operates within its unique context, including industry, competition, technology, and audience. While an SEO technique might prove ineffective for one site, it could yield positive results for another.

Avoid blanket application of strategies and tailor your approach to suit your site’s specific circumstances.

5. Testing and Experimentation

Testing is the backbone of effective SEO myth management. When encountering new advice, implement it on a small scale first.

If you’ve received advice on structuring your page titles to boost your pages’ ranking for selected keywords, try the method on a few pages first. Monitor the results and gather data to determine if the tactic is effective for your situation.

It will allow you to evaluate whether it’s worthwhile to commit time and energy to implementing this change across all of your pages before you make a final decision.

6. Assessing Google’s Testing Phase

Google often tests changes to its search results before rolling them out widely. This testing phase can lead to sudden shifts in SEO advice based on temporary alterations.

Rather than immediately adopting new advice stemming from Google’s tests, wait to see if the changes are permanent before making significant adjustments to your strategy.

As algorithms evolve and search behaviors change, embracing a dynamic approach is the path to SEO success.

This approach ensures that your optimization efforts are grounded in reliable information, leading to improved search visibility, user experience, and overall success in the digital landscape.

Wisitech – SEO & Digital Marketing Partner

Expert SEO & Digital Marketing Solutions

Wisitech – Your Ultimate SEO and Digital Marketing Partner

In the dynamic world of digital marketing, steering clear of SEO myths and a solid understanding of the ever-evolving landscape is essential to achieving online success.

While crafting an effective SEO strategy might seem like a daunting task, you don’t have to navigate this intricate journey alone.

At Wisitech, we specialize in providing comprehensive digital marketing solutions, with a focus on SEO expertise.

With 1,000+ clients worldwide and 24+ years of solid experience, we are a leading digital marketing agency in the United States specializing in creating robust and dynamic web and digital solutions.

We keep ourselves abreast with the latest happenings in the field of SEO and have propelled numerous businesses towards impressive online achievements. Our strategies are rooted in proven methodologies that drive tangible results.

Talk to us for end-to-end solutions — from SEO and Social Media Marketing Services, UI/UX Design Services that increase conversion, cutting-edge Web Development and E-commerce Solutions to Content Development; we help you take your business to the next level and beyond ensuring increased RoI and profits.

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Top SEO myths busted

About Partho Mondal

Partho is the Founder-CEO of Wisitech InfoSolutions Pvt Ltd. He brings to the table 33+ years of diverse experience, about 25 years of which running Wisitech. Partho leads a team of high-performing professionals with 400+ years of experience between them. He guides, handholds, plans and executes high quality digital solutions and web projects including website design and e-commerce development, SEO and digital marketing for companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies and everything in between. Partho is much sought after by the C-Suite of companies and business owners for his result oriented digital consultancy services that help them win in the ever-changing competitive online space.
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About Jyoti Babel

Jyoti is a Content Developer and a lover of books — an Engineer by education who finally found her calling in words. With over 10 years of experience in content development for SEO, Social Media, and more, she curates and crafts content to help brands grow and succeed. Jyoti enjoys writing on a wide range of topics but her favorites are food, books, travel, and culture. Taking long walks, practicing yoga, listening to music, meeting a good friend over a cup of tea, baking the perfect cake — all these little things make her happy in their own way.
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4 thoughts on “16 Top SEO Myths Busted – Are You Making These Mistakes in 2023?”

  1. Nitin Kumar says:

    Great insights! This blog post offers valuable information in a concise and engaging manner. It’s a must-read for anyone seeking to enhance their understanding of the topic. Looking forward to more informative posts like this. Keep up the excellent work!

  2. Rahul Dang says:

    Great blog. Such an interesting and valuable blog post. Lots of misconceptions have been cleared by this post.

  3. Madhu says:

    Informative and very well-written blog!
    It offers actionable insights that we can implement as an effective SEO strategies in our current Digital Marketing practices.
    Keep it up!

  4. Pat Mon says:

    Very well-researched and informative blog post on the popular SEO myths that most people fall for — including SEO professionals! All the 16 myths that have been busted have associated proofs! Kudos to the writers for taking pains to write such a revelatory blog post! I look forward to more such instructive posts by these writers.

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