Today we are looking at the 10 SEO myths we absolutely have to avoid in 2020. Why? Because keeping track of SEO rules and practices is an ongoing task, especially as everything is turning into a digital format and more and more businesses are focusing on their online presence where SEO is quite essential. One of the most significant digital marketing practices nowadays is optimizing your website for search engines as well as working on your mobile applications for app stores.
But, because search engines like Google tend to change their algorithm a few times per day, marketers need to be constantly on the alert and keeping up. There are a lot of SEO myths that are no longer working in 2020, so as a result, it is better to follow up and double-check.
Let’s check them out!
1. You only need DoFollow tags for your backlinks.
Do follow and no follow tags have the ability to show Google which backlinks are the ones to “trace” back to you, where both tags can influence your ranking on search engines. Google tends to ignore backlinks with NoFollow tags, so low authority or untrustworthy sites are not dragging your ranking down.
High authority websites such as The guardian or Medium, send out trust signals to Google. Your website will look more original and suitable and the ranking could increase too. However, low authority or bad sites also tend to send bad signals to Google. Therefore both your site and your content suffer and you lose valuable ranking points.
2. Not optimizing your website for mobiles
A common mistake would be when webmasters don’t bother to update their websites for mobiles. However, in July 2019 mobile-first indexing became a standard for Google’s crawlers and therefore gained more popularity.
This would mean that when your website is indexed, the bots use smartphone agents by default. If the agent thinks that your website is unresponsive on mobile devices, it could affect your ranking. A worse outcome may happen if your mobile version is unfinished or shows different content than your desktop website version, you risk not having indexed at all. So make sure you build your website for a mobile version too.
3. SEO is all about the rankings
Even though everyone wants to be shown as number one on Google search, it doesn’t usually mean that those who did get the most traffic. A study of 100.000 search queries presents new information that the top-ranking pages only get around 49% of search traffic.
If you are wondering why the answer is because most pages attract traffic from more than just one keyword. For example, if checking up at the top-ranking pages for a “high protein diet” the page in the second place receives more traffic than the ones first. And this is because the “second best” page ranks for more keywords with high search demand.
This is a clear sign that shows it’s time to stop concentrating on first-place rankings and work on attracting more traffic instead. And you can do that through more unique content, building more backlinks to boost page-level authority, and finally nail search intent.
4. The more pages, the better the site.
Another myth which people believe is that if a website has more pages it will receive more traffic. The truth is that Google along with other search engines are smarter nowadays and prefer quality over quantity.
In 2011, Google introduced a Panda update, which focuses more on the quality of content. So, instead of creating random pages, focus your efforts on creating good, informational content, improve your on-page and off-page SEO, and don’t forget to add good backlinks.
5. Investing in ads to improve SEO.
The easiest way to appear on top of google search results is by paying for Google Ads or Bing Ads campaigns. However, this is considered Search engine marketing (SEM), not Search engine optimization (SEO). Therefore it may not directly benefit your organic SEO results in any shape or form. In fact, if you stop your campaign, you are more or less back to square one.
One way that could help you increase your website’s traffic is through good SEO – unique content, good keywords, fantastic backlinks, responsive and fast website. The more traffic you get the more it will lead you to the increased brand awareness you wish to have and the higher chances of your organic search listings being clicked on.
6. Having more backlinks for better SEO
If you are experiencing a large number of backlinks on your website, don’t hope that this would lead to better SEO. In fact, a lot of backlinks could be seen as a red flag and might lead to penalties. What you should take care of is the quality of the backlinks.
If you focus too much on a volume that could lead to irrelevant content for your audience and eventually be seen even as spam. One high-quality backlink could lead prospects to your website even if they are already interested in you and your company, thus driving also new potential clients and higher revenues.
7. Website being penalized for duplicated content
Duplicate content on your website could affect your rankings due to the Panda algorithm a long time ago. However, nowadays everyone focuses on the site’s quality rather than doing any manual actions. Google has also enhanced its systems as now it chooses similar content automatically.
For example, if you website A and website B publish the same article, the first one who gets indexed first will rank for that content. The other one is not penalized, however, their content may not get ranked at all.
Therefore, you won’t lose ranking spots for similar content, it is advised that you create your own original, high-quality content. In addition, if you are planning to re-publish your content on more websites, like Medium, for example, the recommendation is to wait for at least a month. In this way, you will be sure that your site ranks for your content and then you can use it risk-free.
8. Social media doesn’t help with rankings.
In 2014, a video popped up created by Matt Cutts, where he talked about social media and Google and how Google doesn’t take social signals as a ranking factor. Even though that is true when it comes to backlinks, social media on the other hand highlights value for visibility and exposure of your brand and website. This exposure can collect authority, better rankings, and lead to trust in your potential customers.
It is important to know that social media posts are not helping indirectly boost your ranking on search engines. It is your social media efforts, not the channel itself that can create trust between users and your brand.
A positive outcome could be the possibility to get more backlinks from other sites as well. There is also the chance of gaining more organic traffic from users who are interested in your offering.
Therefore use your social media properly to get good search engine ranking.
9. Long-tail keywords are easier to rank higher
If you think that long-tail keywords are made of many words, you won’t be quite wrong. Long-tail keywords are queries with most likely low individual search volumes. Even if they get fewer monthly searchers they are usually not easy to rank than some famous counterparts. Let’s check at the keyword difficulty for some examples:
Despite the fact that there are some differences in search volumes, the scores are pretty much the same. The reason for this to happen is because a low-volume query is what we call “supporting long-tail keywords”. In short, it is not a famous way to search for popular topics, but beware that the competition is there nevertheless.
10. Page speed doesn’t matter
Since 2010 Google made it public that page speed is an important ranking factor. Page speed matters for Google, and it matters to your users as well. Anything less than that could burn your chances of keeping them or getting new users to visit your site.
So, make sure you invest enough time and optimize your page loading speed. It might help you attract new users and retain existing ones for the long term strategy.
Summing up our top 10 SEO myths to avoid
There are a lot of rules to keep track of but in the end, it is worth it. Search engine optimization is not just used to improve your ranking but also to push you up higher on the search engine results page. SEO is made for your users’ benefit, which could also be the reason why rules are changing so fast.
The user’s behavior changes every year, therefore we have to adapt. So make sure you don’t fall for SEO myths like the ones which we presented in this article. What you could do instead is focus on good practices, stay alert, and always educate yourself. Your users will appreciate you for doing this and your organic traffic along with high rankings will follow up.