Tarun Gupta

Common SEO Myths: How to Safegaurd Your Rankings?

Tarun Gupta | Apr 2nd, 2021 | Search Engine Optimization

SEO is evolving at a faster pace. New concepts, activities, and processes are being added to it regularly. However, things that once thought sure-shot search engine optimization methods have lately become outdated. Different websites have responded to these changes differently. Still, there exist a lot of SEO practices that are misinterpreted by SEO professionals as ranking factors or a tool for ranking boosts. We call them SEO myths.

Top SEO Myths that Need to be Debunked

This article attempts to find a few preconceived SEO myths that need to be debunked immediately.

Duplicate Content Penalty

We hear this quite often. There are blazing arguments suggesting Google penalties if a website has content duplicated from another website. Google hasn’t introduced an algorithm to punish duplicate content. The only outcome of copied content is that it won’t outrank the other page it’s copied from. Search engines are pretty smart to spot the source of copy.

And of course, the original copy will surely be the most relevant one for the users who are searching for the query. Since it’s worthless to have both pages in the search results, one that copies get downgraded in ranking. But it’s not a penalty at all. It’s just one of the many ways algorithms are working.

PPC Ads Boost Ranking

This is another argument that has no spine. It’s a blatant myth that needs to be debunked. Many search marketers are of the idea that if they spend ad budget on PPC campaigns, Google will favor them with a ranking boost.

This is completely misleading and far from the truth. The fact is that Google’s search algorithm and algorithm for PPC ad placement are separate entities. They aren’t interlinked and never interfere with each other. Regardless of the money you pumped in ad campaigns, it won’t influence your organic search rankings.

Domain Age is Important

Even Google’s John Mueller has denied this time and again. If a website has been there for years and ranking well, there may be some SEO factors behind it rather than the domain age. As a website grows older a lot has already been done on this in terms of content, backlinks, and other promotional activities.

A website that has been active for a longer duration (say 5-10 years) had more time to accumulate quality content and acquire authority backlinks. This isn’t the case for websites that have been in the domain for fewer months or so. So domain age in particular is not essentially an advantage for SEO.

Tabbed Content Affects Rankings

It’s usually a perception Google doesn’t index or rank content sitting behind a tab or accordion. The idea that concocted this notion was that Google doesn’t consider text that’s not viewable on the first load of a page. The reality however is that Google on multiple occasions tabbed content is indexed by Google like a standard piece of content. The text is a perfect fit for ranking as well. Google argued that if content is visible in the HTML crawlers can easily fetch that.

Domain Authority (DA) is Crucial

Google once used PageRank to assess the importance of a webpage. The search giant developed a PageRank score tool that ranked pages between 1to 10 on its toolbar. In 2013, Google discontinued the PageRank metric for the reasons best known to the company.

Following the discontinuation of Google’s PageRank, several third-party tools had taken over the space. Moz DA was one of them. The tool is used by search marketers to determine the “value” of a page and web. Since it’s a third-party tool the result, it provides doesn’t necessarily get Google approval. Moreover, Moz’s calculation isn’t an accurate reflection of how a search engine values a page. Google categorically denied using domain authority metric as a ranking signal.

Long-form Content is Better

‘Longer content ranks better’ is a saying that we frequently come across. It’s believed that long-form content on your website makes your page more rank-worthy than your competitors. There are several studies supporting the notion that “on average pages in the top 10 positions in the SERPs have over 1,450 words on them.”

This necessarily doesn’t mean at all that pages should have approximately 1,500 words to rank on Page 1. The notion is indicative of correlation, not necessarily causation. Even though some studies have found that a few top-ranking pages have a word count of 1500 and more, it doesn’t make word count a ranking factor.

LSI Keywords Help in Ranking

LSI or latent semantic indexing is a technique for information retrieval that allows analysis of the correlation between the text and its context. For instance, the right has a different meaning when used with ‘Left’ but depicts a completely different meaning when used with ‘wrong’. Humans are quite capable of spotting this difference, but for machines, it’s a hard nut to crack.

It’s pertinent for machines to understand the context and the way they are linked to the entities. It helps machines to understand the text. The problem with the LSI concept is that search marketers sometimes get it completely wrong.

They think using similar or linked words in the text will offer a ranking boost. This isn’t completely true. Even Google introduced BERT for a better understanding of the text. This goes beyond LSI keywords in finding the right context.

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