1. The dangers of SEO myths
  2. What is an SEO Myth?
  3. When can something appear as a myth?
  4. Avoid SEO Myths
  5. 20 common SEO myths
  6. Conclusion

There is a lot of advice out there on SEO.

Some of this is helpful, but some will mislead you if followed.

The difficulty is knowing which is which.

It can be difficult to identify what advice is correct and factual and what only flares up from misquoted articles or poorly understood Google statements.

SEO myths abound.

You will hear them in the strangest places.

A customer will tell you with confidence how they are suffering from a duplicate content penalty.

Your boss will punish you for not limiting your page title to 60 characters.

Sometimes the myths are obviously wrong. In other cases, they can be harder to spot.

The dangers of SEO myths

The problem is, we just don't know exactly how the search engines work.

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Because of this, much of what we do as SEOs is trial and error and educated guesswork.

When learning about SEO, it can be difficult to test all of the claims you hear.

Then the SEO myths take hold.

Before you know it, proudly let your manager know that you plan to optimize your BERT website copy.

SEO myths can often be shattered with a pause and some thought.

How exactly could Google measure that?

Would that actually benefit the end user in any way?

With search engine optimization, there is a risk that the search engines will be seen as all powerful and because of this, wild myths are growing about how they understand and measure our websites.

What is an SEO Myth?

Before debunking some common SEO myths, let's first understand what forms they take.

Untested wisdom

Search engine optimization myths usually come in the form of wisdom that has not been tested.

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As a result, something that may not affect driving qualified organic traffic to a site is treated like it is important.

Minor factors blown out of the relationship

SEO myths could also have a small impact on organic rankings or conversions but get too much weight.

This can be a "check mark" exercise, which is cited as a critical factor in the success of SEO, or simply an activity that can result in your website only advancing when everything else is really equal to your competition.

Outdated advice

Myths can arise simply because what used to help websites rank and convert them no longer works, but is still recommended.

It could be that something worked really well in the past.

Over time, the algorithms have become smarter.

The public is more against marketing.

What used to be good advice is no longer there.

Google is misunderstood

The start of a myth is often Google itself.

Unfortunately, advice from a Google representative that is a bit obscure or simply not easy is misunderstood and runs away.

Before we know it, a new optimization service is being sold based on a funky comment joked by a Googler.

SEO myths can actually be based, or maybe they are more accurate SEO legends?

Myths born by Google tend to be that the SEO industry's interpretation of the statement has skewed the fact so that it no longer resembles useful information.

When can something appear as a myth?

Sometimes an SEO technique can be written off as a myth by others just because they have failed to perform this activity for their own website.

It's important to remember that every website has its own industry, a number of competitors, the technology that powers it, and other factors that make it unique.

Applying techniques across the board to every website and expecting them to achieve the same result is naive.

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Someone may have had no success with a technique when they tried it in their highly competitive industry.

This doesn't mean that it won't help someone succeed in a less competitive industry.

Cause & Correlation get confused

Sometimes SEO myths arise due to an inadequate association between an activity being performed and an increase in organic search performance.

If an SEO has seen any benefit from something they did, then it is natural that they advise others to try the same thing.

Unfortunately, we're not always good at separating causality and correlation.

Just because the rankings or click-through rate increased at about the same time you implemented a new tactic, it doesn't mean that it caused the increase.

There could be other factors at play.

Soon, an SEO myth emerges from an overzealous SEO who wants to share what they mistakenly think is a golden ticket.

Avoid SEO Myths

Learning to recognize SEO myths and act accordingly can save you headaches, lost revenue, and a lot of time.

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exam

The key to not falling for SEO myths is to make sure you can test advice whenever possible.

If you've received advice that structuring your page titles in a certain way will help your pages rank better for the keywords you selected, try a page or two first.

This way you can measure whether a change is worthwhile on multiple sides before committing to it.

Is Google just testing?

Sometimes there is a big uproar in the SEO community due to changes in the way Google displays or orders search results.

These changes are often tested in the wild before being made available for further search results.

Once one or two SEOs see a big change, advice on optimization begins to spread.

Do you remember the favorites in the desktop search results?

The excitement that the SEO industry (and Google users in general) caused was enormous.

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Suddenly articles appeared about the importance of favorites in order to attract users to your search result.

There was hardly time to investigate whether favicons would have such a strong impact on the click rate.

Because Google just changed it back like that.

Before looking for the latest SEO advice spreading on Twitter due to a change from Google, see if it applies.

It could be that the advice that now seems reasonable will quickly become a myth if Google rolls back changes.

20 common SEO myths

So now we know what creates and maintains SEO myths. Let's find out the truth behind some of the most common ones.

1. The Google Sandbox

Some SEOs believe that Google will automatically suppress new websites from organic search results for a period of time before they can rank freely.

Many SEOs argue that it just doesn't.

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So who is right?

SEOs that have been around for many years give you anecdotal evidence that both supports and detracts from the idea of ​​a sandbox.

The only guidance Google has given on this seems to be in the form of tweets.

As mentioned earlier, Google's social media responses can often be misinterpreted.

Tweet about Google Sandbox Myth

Verdict: Officially? It's a myth.

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Unofficial – there seems to be a period of time when Google tries to understand and evaluate the pages of a new website.

This could mimic a sandbox.

2. Penalty for duplicate content

This is a myth that I hear a lot. The idea is that if you have content on your website that has been duplicated elsewhere on the web, Google will penalize you for it.

The key to understanding what is really going on here is to know the difference between algorithmic suppression and manual action.

A manual action that can result in web pages being removed from the Google index is taken by a Google representative.

The website owner will be notified through the Google Search Console.

Algorithmic suppression occurs when your page does not rank well because it is being captured by an algorithm's filter.

Chuck Price does an excellent job of explaining the difference between the two in this article, which lists the various manual actions that Google takes.

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If you have a copy from another website, it essentially means that you cannot beat that other site.

The search engines may find that the original host of the copy is more relevant to the search query than yours.

Since there is no benefit to having both in the search results, yours will be suppressed. This is not a punishment. This is the algorithm that does its job.

There are some content-related manual actions as described in Price's article, but copying a page or two of someone else's content won't trigger them.

However, it will potentially get you into other trouble if you do not have a legal right to use this content. This can also detract from the value your website brings to the user.

Conclusion: SEO myth

3. PPC advertising helps with ranking

This is a common myth. It's also pretty quick to debunk.

The idea is that Google will favor websites in organic search results that are spending money on pay-per-click advertising.

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That’s just wrong.

Google's algorithm for ranking organic search results is completely different from the one used to determine the placement of PPC ads.

Running a paid search engine advertising campaign through Google at the same time as doing SEO may benefit your website for other reasons, but it will not directly affect your ranking.

Conclusion: SEO myth

4. The age of the domain is a ranking factor

This claim is firmly rooted in the camp of "confusing causation and correlation".

Since a website has been around for a long time and has a good ranking, age has to be a ranking factor.

Google has debunked this myth many times.

In July 2019, John Mueller, an analyst for Google Webmaster Trends, responded to a tweet in which he pointed out that the domain age was one of the “200 ranking signals” and said: “No, domain age doesn't help "

Tweet reply domain age

The truth behind this myth is that an older website had more time to do things well.

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For example, a website that has been up and running for 10 years may have received a large number of relevant backlinks to its key pages.

A website that's been up and running for less than six months is unlikely to compete with it.

The older website seems to be ranking better, and the bottom line is that age must be the deciding factor.

Conclusion: SEO myth

5. Tabbed content affects the ranking

This idea has roots that go back a long way.

The premise is that Google doesn't attach as much importance to the content that sits behind a tab or accordion.

For example, text that cannot be displayed the first time a page is loaded.

Google didn't re-debunk this myth until March 31, 2020, but it has been a controversial idea among many SEO years.

In September 2018, Gary Illyes, webmaster trends analyst at Google, responded to a tweet thread about using tabs to display content.

His answer:

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"AFAIK, nothing has changed here, Bill: We are indexing the content, its weight is fully taken into account for the ranking, but it may not be bolded in the clippings." It is another, more technical question, how this content is displayed by the website. Indexing has limitations. "

If the content is visible in the HTML, there is no reason to believe that it will be devalued just because it will not be visible to the user when the page first loads.

This is not an example of camouflage and Google can get the content without any problems.

Unless otherwise prevents the text from being displayed by Google, it should be weighted like a copy that is not in tabs.

Would you like further explanations on this?

Then check out Roger Montti's post bringing this myth to bed.

Conclusion: SEO myth

6. Google uses Google Analytics data in rankings

This is a common fear among business owners.

They study their Google Analytics reports.

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They feel that their average national bounce rate is too high or their time on the page is too low.

They therefore fear that Google will perceive their website as inferior in quality for this reason.

They fear that because of this, they will not have a good rank.

The myth goes that Google uses the data in your Google Analytics account as part of its ranking algorithm.

It's a myth that has been around for a long time.

Gary Illyes from Google simply debunked this idea with "We use * nothing * from Google Analytics (sic) in the" Algo ".

Tweet about Google with Analytics for the ranking algorithm

If we think about it logically, it would be very difficult for the police to use Google Analytics data as a ranking factor.

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For example, the use of filters could manipulate data to create the impression that the website is working in a way that doesn't actually work.

What is a good performance anyway?

A high "Time on Page" can be good for some long-form content.

A short "time on page" could be understandable for shorter content.

Is it either right or wrong?

Google would also need to understand the complicated ways that each Google Analytics account has been configured.

Some may exclude all known bots, and some may not.

Some may be using custom dimensions and channel groupings, others may have nothing configured.

Reliable use of this data would be extremely complicated.

Look at the hundreds of thousands of websites that use other analytics programs.

How would Google treat them?

Conclusion: SEO myth

This myth is another case of "causality, not correlation".

A high statewide bounce rate may or may not indicate a quality issue.

A short time on the page can mean that your website is not engaging or that your content is easy to digest.

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These metrics can give you clues as to why you might not be ranking well. You are not the cause of this.

7. Google takes care of the domain authority

PageRank is a link analysis algorithm that Google uses to measure the importance of a website.

Google has displayed the PageRank score of a page (up to 10) in the toolbar.

In 2013, Google stopped updating the PageRank displayed in toolbars. In 2016, Google confirmed that the PageRank toolbar metric will no longer be used in the future.

In the absence of PageRank, many other third-party authority ratings have been developed.

Commonly known are:

  • Moz's Domain Authority and Page Authority Scores.
  • Majestic & # 39; s Trust Flow and Citation Flow.
  • Domain rating and URL rating from Ahrefs.

These ratings are used by some SEOs to determine the "value" of a page.

However, this calculation can never accurately reflect how a search engine rates a page.

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In general, SEOs often refer to a website's ranking performance in conjunction with their backlink profile.

This is also known as the authority of the domain.

You can see where the confusion lies.

Google officials have dismissed the notion of any Domain Authority metric they are using.

Gary Illyes re-debunks myths with "We don't really have" general domain authority ".

Tweet to confirm the myth of general domain authority

Conclusion: SEO myth

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8. Longer content is better

You will definitely have heard that longer pieces of content rank better.

More words on a page automatically rank yours more than your competitors'.

This is "wisdom" that is often shared on SEO forums with no evidence of it.

Many studies have been published over the years giving facts about the top websites such as: B. "On average, pages in the top 10 positions in the SERPs contain more than 1,450 words."

It would be fairly easy for someone to look at this information in isolation and assume that pages take about 1,500 words to rank on page 1. However, this is not what the study says.

Unfortunately, this is an example of correlation, not necessarily causality.

Just because the highest ranking pages in a given study happen to have more words than the 11th and lower ranking pages does not make the number of words a ranking factor.

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Google's John Mueller recently dispelled this myth:

Content Tweet Length Myth

Conclusion: SEO myth

9. LSI keywords help you rank

What exactly are LSI keywords?

LSI stands for "Latent Semantic Indexing".

It is a technique used in information retrieval that can be used to analyze concepts within the text and identify relationships between them.

Words have nuances that depend on their context. The word "right" has a different connotation when paired with "left" than when paired with "wrong".

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People can quickly judge concepts in text. This is more difficult for machines.

The ability of machines to understand the context and connection between entities is fundamental to their understanding of concepts.

LSI is a huge advancement in a machine's ability to understand text.

What it is not are synonyms.

Unfortunately, the SEO community has expanded the LSI area in such a way that the use of similar or thematically linked words improves the ranking of words that are not specifically mentioned in the text.

It's just not true. Google has gone way beyond LSI when it comes to understanding text, for example when it introduced BERT.

For more information on what is and is not LSI, see Clark Boyd's article

Conclusion: SEO myth

10. SEO takes 3 months

It helps us to get out of difficult conversations with our superiors or customers.

It leaves a lot of leeway if you don't get the results promised.

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"SEO takes at least 3 months to be effective."

It's fair to say that there are some changes that will take the search engine bots some time to process.

Then of course there will be some time to determine whether these changes are positive or negative. Then it may take more time to refine and optimize your work.

This does not mean that activities you do on behalf of SEO will not have an impact for three months. Day 90 of your work will not be if the ranking changes.

There's a lot more to it than that.

If you are in a market with very little competition and you are targeting niche terms, there may be changes in rankings as soon as Google rebuilds your page.

A contest period could take much longer to recognize changes in rank.

A study by Ahrefs found that of the 2 million keywords analyzed, the average age of the pages that ranked 10th on Google was 650 days. This study shows that newer pages struggle to rank high.

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However, SEO offers more than just ranking in Google's top 10.

For example, a well-positioned Google My Business listing with great reviews can pay off for a company.

Bing, Yandex, and Baidu could be easier for your brand to hit the SERPs.

A small change to a page title could improve click-through rates. That could be the same day if the search engine quickly redrawed the page.

Although it can take a long time for the first few pages to appear in Google, it is naive for us to reduce SEO success to just that.

So "SEO takes 3 months" is just not correct.

Conclusion: SEO myth

11. The bounce rate is a ranking factor

The bounce rate is the percentage of visits to your website that do not result in any interactions beyond landing on the page. It is usually measured using a website's analytics program such as Google Analytics.

Some SEOs have argued that bounce rate is a ranking factor because it is a measure of quality.

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Unfortunately, it's not a good measure of quality.

There are many reasons why a visitor can land on a web page and leave it again without further interacting with the website. They may have read all the required information on this page and left the website to call the company and make an appointment. In this case, the visitor impact gave the company a head start.

While a visitor leaving a page they landed on can be an indicator of poor quality content, it is not always the case. It would therefore not be reliable enough for a search engine to use as a measure of quality.

A "pogo stick" or a visitor who clicks on a search result and then returns to the SERPs is a more reliable indicator of the quality of the landing page. This would indicate that the content of the page did not match what the user was looking for, so they returned to the search results to find another page or search again.

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John Mueller clarified this in a Google Webmaster Hangout in July 2018 with:

“We try not to use such signals in the search. So there are many reasons why users would go back and forth, or look at different things in search results, or just stay briefly on a page and go back again. I think that's really hard to refine and say, "Well we could make this a ranking factor."

Conclusion: SEO myth

12. It's all about backlinks

Backlinks are important, and that's easy enough in the SEO community. How important it is, however, is still being debated.

Some SEOs will tell you that backlinks are one of the many tactics that affect ranking, and not the most important one. Others will tell you that this is the only real game changer.

What we do know is that the effectiveness of links has changed over time. In the wild days before Jagger, link building consisted of adding a link to your website wherever you could.

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Articles were spun in the forum's comments, and irrelevant directories were good sources of links.

It was easy to make effective links.

It's not that easy now. Google has continued to make changes to its algorithms that reward higher quality, more relevant links, and ignore or penalize "spam" links.

However, the ability of links to influence rankings is still great.

There will be some industries that are so immature in SEO that a website can rank well without investing in link building just because of the strength of their content and technical efficiency.

This is not the case in most industries.

Relevant backlinks help with ranking, of course, but they have to go hand in hand with other optimizations.

Your website must still have a relevant copy and be crawlable.

Google's John Mueller recently stated, "Links are definitely not the top SEO factor."

Link is not the main SEO factor

If you want your traffic to actually make a difference when it gets to your website, it's definitely not just about backlinks.

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Ranking is only part of converting visitors to your website. The content and ease of use of the website are extremely important to user interaction.

Conclusion: SEO myth

13. Keywords in URLs are very important

Overcrowd your urls with keywords. It will help.

Unfortunately, it's not quite that powerful.

Tweet URLs for users

John Mueller has said several times that keywords in a URL are a very low, light ranking signal.

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If you want to rewrite your URLs to include more keywords, you're probably doing more harm than good.

Redirecting URLs en masse should be done when needed as there is always a risk involved in restructuring a website.

To add keywords to a url? It's not worth it.

Conclusion: SEO myth

14. Website migrations are all about redirects

It's something that SEOs hear too often. When migrating a website, all you have to do is remember to redirect changing URLs.

If only this was true.

In fact, website migration is one of the most difficult and complicated procedures in search engine optimization.

A website that changes its layout, CMS, domain and / or content can be viewed as a website migration.

In each of these examples, there are different aspects that can affect how the search engines perceive the quality and relevance of the pages to their target keywords.

As a result, there is a lot of verification and configuration that needs to be done if the site is to maintain its rankings and organic traffic.

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Make sure the tracking is not lost. Keeping the same content targeting. Make sure that search engine bots can still access the correct pages.

All of this needs to be taken into account when a website changes significantly.

Redirecting changing URLs is a very important part of website migration. It's by no means the only thing to worry about.

Conclusion: SEO myth

15. Known websites will always outperform unknown websites

Obviously, a bigger brand has resources that smaller brands don't. As a result, more can be invested in SEO.

More exciting pieces of content can be created, resulting in a higher volume of backlinks earned. The brand name alone can give outreach attempts more credibility.

The real question is whether Google is cranking big brands algorithmically or manually based on their fame.

This one is a bit controversial.

Some people say that Google prefers big brands. Google says differently.

In 2009, Google released an algorithm update called "Vince". This update had a huge impact on how brands were treated in the SERPs.

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Brands known offline saw a surge in their rankings for broad keywords in competition.

It's not necessarily time for smaller brands to throw in the towel.

The Vince update is broadly in line with other measures taken by Google to assess authority and quality.

Big brands are often more authoritative than smaller competitors when it comes to general keywords.

However, small brands can still win.

Long-tail keyword targeting, niche product lines, and local presence can make smaller brands more relevant to a search result than established brands.

Yes, the odds are in favor of big brands, but it's not impossible to beat them.

Verdict: Not entirely truth or myth

16. Your page must have "Near Me" in it to rank well for local SEO

It is understandable that this myth is still widespread.

In the SEO industry, the focus is still on keyword search volume. Sometimes at the expense of considering user intent and understanding the search engines.

When a searcher is looking for something with "local intent," i. H. For a place or service that is relevant to a physical location, the search engines take this into account when returning results.

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Google will likely display the Google Maps results as well as the standard organic entries.

The map results are clearly centered around the location you are looking for. However, this also applies to the standard organic lists if the search query specifies local intent.

Why Are Searches Near Me Confusing?

Typical keyword research might lead to the following results:

  • Pizza Restaurant Manhattan – 110 searches per month
  • Pizza Restaurants in Manhattan – 110 searches per month
  • best pizza restaurant Manhattan – 90 searches per month
  • Best Pizza Restaurants in Manhattan – 90 searches per month
  • best pizza place in Manhattan – 90 searches per month
  • Pizza restaurants near me – 90,500 searches per month

With a search volume like this, you'd think “pizza restaurants near me” would be the right thing, right?

However, it is likely that people searching for "Pizza Restaurant Manhattan" are in the Manhattan area or planning to travel there to eat pizza.

"Pizza Restaurant Near Me" has 90,500 searches in the US. The chances are the vast majority of these seekers are not looking for Manhattan pizzas.

Google knows this and therefore uses location detection and delivers the pizza restaurant results that are relevant to the searcher's location.

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Therefore, the "Near Me" element of the search is less about the keyword and more about the intent behind the keyword. Google just considers this to be where the searcher is.

So do you need to include "near me" in your content to rank for this "near me" search?

No, they have to be relevant to the place where the seeker is located.

Conclusion: SEO myth

17. Better content means better ranking

It's widely used in SEO forums and Twitter threads. The general complaint: "My competitor ranks above me, but I have amazing content and yours is terrible."

The scream is a scream of indignation. Shouldn't the search engines reward your website for its "amazing" content?

This is both a myth and sometimes a delusion.

The quality of the content is a subjective consideration. When it's your own content, it's even harder to be objective.

In the eyes of Google, your content may not be better than that of your competitors for the search terms you are looking for.

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Maybe you don't hit the search intent as well as they do.

Perhaps you have "over-optimized" your content and reduced its quality.

In some cases, better content equals better ranking. In other cases, the technical performance of the website or its lack of local relevance may cause it to be ranked lower.

Content is a factor in ranking algorithms.

Conclusion: SEO myth

18. You have to blog every day

This is a frustrating myth as it seems to have spread outside of the SEO industry.

Google loves frequent content. You should add new content every day or tweak existing content for "freshness".

Where did this idea come from?

Google had an algorithm update in 2011 that rewards fresher results in the SERPs.

This is because for some queries, the fresher the results, the greater the likelihood of accuracy.

For example, if you search for “Royal Baby” in the UK in 2013, you will receive news articles about Prince George. Search again in 2015 and you would see pages about Princess Charlotte.

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In 2018, you'd see reports of Prince Louis at the top of the Google SERPs, and in 2019, it would be Baby Archie.

If you were looking for "Royal Baby" in 2019, shortly after Archie was born, seeing news articles about Prince George probably wouldn't help.

In this case, Google recognizes the search intent of the user and decides that displaying articles related to the newest British royal baby is better than displaying an article that may be ranked higher due to its authority.

This algorithm update does not mean that newer content is always older than older content. Google decides whether the "query deserves freshness" or not.

If so, the age of the content becomes a more important ranking factor.

This means that creating content just to make sure it's newer than your competitors' content won't necessarily benefit you.

If the question you are looking for doesn't deserve freshness i.e. H. "Who is Prince William's second child?" One fact that won't change is that the age of the content won't play a significant role in the ranking.

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If you write content every day that you think will keep your website fresh and therefore more ranked, you are probably wasting time.

It is better to write well-considered, researched, and useful content less frequently and reserve your resources so that it is highly authoritative and shareable.

Conclusion: SEO myth

19. You can optimize the copy once and then

The term "SEO-optimized" copy is widespread in agency country.

It is used to explain the process of making copies that are relevant to frequently searched queries.

The problem with this is that it suggests that once you've written that copy and made sure that it adequately answers seekers' questions, you can proceed.

Unfortunately, the way searchers search for content can change over time. The keywords they use and the type of content they want can change.

Search engines can also change what they think is the most relevant response to the query. Perhaps the intent behind the keyword is perceived differently.

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The layout of the SERPs can change, which means that videos will appear at the top of search results where previously it was just webpage results.

If you only look at a page once and then stop updating it and adapting it to the needs of the users, you run the risk of falling behind.

Conclusion: SEO myth

20. There is a right way to do SEO

This is likely a myth in many industries, but it seems to be widely used in SEO. There's a lot of gatekeeping going on in SEO social media, forums, and chats.

Unfortunately, it's not that easy.

There are a few prime tenants we know about SEO.

Usually something is given by a search engine agent that has been dissected, tested, and ultimately confirmed to be true.

The rest is the result of personal and collective trial and error, tests and experience.

Processes are extremely valuable in SEO business functions, but they need to evolve and be applied appropriately.

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Different websites in different industries respond to changes in ways that others would not. Changing a meta title to be less than 60 characters long can improve CTR for one page rather than another.

Ultimately, we have to take all SEO advice we receive lightly before deciding if it is right for the website you are working on.

Conclusion: SEO myth

Conclusion

Some myths have their roots in logic, others have no meaning to them.

Now that you know what to do when you hear an idea that you cannot confidently call a truth or a myth.

Selected image source: Paulo Bobita

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