The SEO industry is chock-full of speculation and myths—it’s only natural given the amount of communication SEO professionals receive from Google about ever-changing algorithms. Some of these myths are productive, while many are not.
We asked 5 SEO experts to share their favorite SEO myths and their thoughts behind them. Let’s get started and debunk some of these common SEO “myths” once and for all so you won’t have to waste your time and effort on something that won’t yield organic results.
Myth #1: The more content gets published, the higher the website will rank.
By Steve Wiideman, CEO at Wiideman Consulting
“My favorite SEO Myth would have to be that the more content gets published, the higher the website will rank. Unfortunately, this often results in an obsessed business owner focused on quantity over quality.
A challenge with this mindset is the amount of cleanup required to remove and redirect thousands of thin, and often low-quality, pages that never see the light of day in Google. It also plays a role in account level performance and reputation and could be detrimental to pages that previously performed well in search.
We had a client who decided to pay writers to publish 4 blog posts per day. Limited keyword research, user intent study, or entity discovery went into these pages. Most used stock imagery or no imagery at all. Eventually, we redirected 90% of the pages (and served a 410 on the 10% that were downright embarrassing).”
With Google’s Helpful Content update, it’s clear that Google cares more about producing high-quality content than high-quantity content. Even after this update, people still tend to believe that they need to publish as much content as they need in order to rank. What can you do instead? Produce high-quality content. You don’t need to be publishing a new piece of content each day or even each week. As long as it’s intentional and you’ve done the right research to back it up, publish it.
Myth #2: All you need is high Domain Authority to rank
By Al Sefati, CEO at ClarityDigital
“I believe that measuring Domain Authority (DA) is a myth. But unfortunately, many SEOs take it seriously and focus too much on it as an SEO success measure.
It’s important to know that Domain Authority isn’t real. It’s a vanity metric made up by Moz many years ago, trying to mimic Google’s old PageRank algorithm, which has somewhat been debated whether Google is still using it at all.
But we know from data that the Domain Authority score does not directly impact search engine rankings. As a result, we run into many websites with high domain authority but poor organic traffic or many websites with low Domain Authority but healthy organic traffic.
Therefore, when performing outreach or measuring success, I recommend that SEOs focus on organic traffic, conversion, and other qualitative metrics instead of such made-up quantitative vanity metrics.“
We can relate to this myth as a link-building agency. Many people think that when they get a backlink from a site that has a high DA, it will tremendously help increase their site’s DA, which is not necessarily true! There is so much that goes into making a high quality backlink other than just DA—including organic traffic, spam score, etc.—in the same way that there is much that goes into making a high-quality site that Google sees as authoritative.
Yes DA takes a piece of the pie but it’s not the whole pie.
Myth #3: All I need is to write longer content to rank higher.
By Casey S. Markee, CEO at Media Wyse
“Despite repeated assertions that Google does not consider word count as a ranking factor, many site owners are still advised to produce longer content in order to regain their lost rankings or enhance online visibility.
When specifically asked about the impact of word count on rankings, John Mueller of Google has clarified that simply adding content without regard to its quality and relevance will not necessarily result in a better ranking.
Rather, it is the usefulness of the content to the audience that can make a significant difference in a resource’s ranking. While it can be challenging for site owners to determine what constitutes “useful” content for their audience, it is critical to understand their needs and preferences to create content that will engage and inform them effectively.
For instance, a 2,000-word essay on artichoke hearts may not be appealing to most readers. Therefore, it is essential to identify the type of content that resonates with your audience to ensure that your efforts in content creation and optimization are fruitful.”
When it comes to writing content and the type of content you should write for a specific keyword it all goes back to search intent. When you search for your keyword, you should first ask yourself, what type of pages are showing up the most? Are they service pages, blog pages, or listicles? Depending on the type of content that shows up for your specified keyword, you can then get a wireframe as to what you should include in your article.
It’s not about writing the longest piece of content, it’s about writing the type of content your searchers will want to read. And to make it even easier on you, we basically take all of the work out of trying to figure out what is most “useful” and what Google deems as most important with our content briefs. For more info check out our content services page.
Myth #4: Page speed doesn’t matter.
By Adam Humphreys, Founder and CEO at Making 8
“Page speed was first mentioned by Google as a factor in 2010 and continues to be important. It’s one of the things after content and links that impacts conversions/CTR the most. If it’s difficult to navigate a site, people simply aren’t going to stick around.”
When was the last time you landed on a slow site and stayed until it finished loading? Almost never. If your site has a high bounce rate, Google will take that into consideration when ranking the SERPs and it won’t end up being in your favor.
Does page speed matter? Yes for both SEO and user experience.\
Myth #5: Geotagging images can significantly improve search rankings.
By Ben Fisher, Founder at Steady Demand
“One of the most persistent myths in local SEO is the belief that geotagging images can significantly improve search rankings. Geotagging involves adding geographical information, usually in the form of latitude and longitude coordinates, to images. This practice might seem like a logical way to inform Google about a business’s location, but in reality, Google disregards this data and replaces it with its own.
Despite extensive case studies debunking the effectiveness of geotagging images for local SEO, some so-called “experts” continue to promote this practice as a valuable monthly service. Regrettably, these individuals fail to prioritize the aspects that truly matter for Google, and instead, they attribute any positive results to the geotagging when it is actually due to other factors.
In order to improve local SEO, it is crucial to focus on proven strategies and avoid being misled by such myths.”
Keeping up with all the current SEO best practices can be a daunting task, and leaning on something that sounds like conventional SEO wisdom is understandable. The longer you do SEO, the more you realize that it always comes down to the results-driven when deciding which SEO tactics you keep and which ones you leave. Many studies have been done to prove the lack of impact this tactic has on the final SEO outcomes local business care about.
That being said, there is a lesson to glean from the idea of geotagging images; when it comes to Local SEO, thinking about how to localize your content to serve a local audience best is always a good thing to do. Especially if that’s how you decide which proven tactics you want to lean on for your local SEO strategy.
SEO is a complex marketing strategy. With a variety of SEO myths heard so often, it can get hard to differentiate between a myth and what people start to believe as “common facts.”
The good news is that you don’t have to figure it all out on your own. When it comes to link building and content, you can rely on an agency like BASE Search Marketing.
We help marketing teams and agencies with the two most important ranking factors that Google considers when ranking the SERPs: links and content. We’re a link building and content agency built for SEOs who know what they need. Ready to see how BASE can help your SEO strategy? Contact us to speak with a strategist about our link and content services.