There are quite a few myths that are flying around in the SEO world and it is rather interesting as to how these myths actually gain traction when Matt Cutts and other major SEO people keep telling us that it isn’t the case yet we still rely on these myths when we approach clients. So I have decided that it is time to put a little end to them.
1. Social signals like shares and Tweets improve rankings
Google doesn’t really have access to Facebook or Twitter. The only thing that social media signals are used for is validating links to a site. For example, if a post has five shares but 100 links, obviously it’s unnatural and Google will be hesitant in ranking that particular page.
If the same piece of content has 100 shares and 100 or so links, it means that the piece of content actually has something great to say and Google will then rank it accordingly.
Ultimately, Google uses it as a link validator if you will. It is a clever way to ensure that we are keeping within Google’s Quality Guidelines instead of trying to game the system.
2. Meta descriptions affect my rankings
This is a simple one to debunk. Descriptions have no real value to where your site is placed in the organic rankings. It can help with the click through rate because you have 150 characters of prime real estate to place riveting content and an enticing call to action which can trigger click through rates.
Yes it is important, but only for click through rates. Google has announced that it doesn’t look at it for indexing purposes. Additionally it can change it as it sees fit. This is much like the Meta Keywords section.
3. The more pages of content I have the better I rank
Some believe that this is a cut-and-dry topic because people love to believe that the more they produce the better they rank. Clearly they are wrong. If you have loads of rubbish content versus your competitor who has fewer pages of more quality, you are not going to outrank him (or her).
Google looks at your site and places value on quality and relevance to the particular search query not on the amount of content you. If you look at Webmaster tools, you will also find that not all your content is indexed and if it does get indexed it may not be for very long. Stop focusing on quantity, it’s a wasted exercise.
4. H1 tags are the most important aspect
Well no, Google doesn’t access your site from the H1 tag. It crawls the code from the top down, so essentially the title of the page is more important, as is the URL. Never mind the fact that Google can devalue the importance of the H tags as it goes down the page because over optimised tags are a distraction which cause content to be unnatural and for crummy robots.
Rather focus your content structure on users. They read it after all. Place the important parts and the top and then work your way down but keep it flowing and please don’t look at SEO when writing. Look at the topic.
A little secret for you, H tags are styling elements created by CSS folks not SEO.
Those are the myths that boggle my mind when I see people going all crazy about. Clients may not understand it and still think they are rad tactics but this is where you need to consult or guide as to what is right or wrong.
What crazy SEO myths have you come across lately?