6 SEO Myths Debunked

Megan Watts - Digital Marketing Executive

Megan Watts

4th December 2020

If you’ve been reading around and researching SEO as a marketing strategy, you may have noticed that there are a lot of SEO myths out there. Some of them have even been debunked many times, yet still seem to resurface. In this article, we will quash six key SEO myths for good.

SEO Myth 1: Page Speed Isn’t That Important

Google said quite a few years ago that page speed is only a tiebreaker when all other factors are equal when it comes to ranking. But many do not realise that the speed your pages load at has always played a part in your rankings. In 2018, Google announced that the ”speed update” was rolling out as studies had shown just how important page speed really was and is for site users. Google has since revealed that following the speed update, the average speed of sites on the internet is 15-20% faster, and rankings are getting more competitive as a result. 

It can be easy to think that consumers won’t be too phased by a slowly loading page, but a severe page speed issue – and the fixing of that issue – can have a significant impact on your ranking.

Furthering this point, nowadays we have to consider user experience above many other factors, as it is often the most important thing when it comes to someone converting on your site or even giving your page the time of day.

A faster site is much easier for Googlebot to crawl. When the site is not slowing down the crawl, more of your site is getting indexed either in number of pages or in depth of page crawl.

If you are looking to make improvements to page speed, Google recommends you use Lighthouse, an automated tool and a part of Chrome Developer Tools for auditing the quality (performance, accessibility, and more) of web pages. You could also use PageSpeed Insights, which is a tool that indicates how well a page performs on the Chrome UX Report and suggests performance optimizations.

Ultimately, page speed is very important and will become even more so as we have continually moved into mobile-first design. So never discount page speed as an SEO and website usability factor.

SEO Myth 2: Social Media Helps You To Rank

Social media is all about visibility and social posts are an important and helpful way to indirectly assist you with improving rank. When done well, good content-promoting social posts will get you exposure that can lead to getting links and citations, which can get you better rankings.
But social media does not get you the links. It encourages others to link to you. Getting people who consume your posts to share your content and link to or mention your site in a way that Google counts it as a link is good SEO practice. 

It’s important to be clear on the fact that despite the benefits that social media holds for a business, sharing your website content on social isn’t going to improve your SEO ranking without further linking. Any links you receive on social media will likely be nofollow rather than dofollow links, which means the site is telling Google not to attribute “link juice” to the links so that they don’t affect rankings.

SEO Myth 3: Website Appearance Isn’t Important

As long as your site is fully-functioning and has everything you think it needs, then it should be fine, right?

For a lot of things in life, appearance doesn’t need to take precedence. But user experience is now a big factor for ranking in search engines and for making people actually want to stay on your website when they land on it. So, how your website looks does matter.

A site that doesn’t provide value to users and is difficult to navigate doesn’t stand a chance at ranking high in search engine results. This is why it’s important for web developers, designers and SEO specialists to make sure a site is friendly to both bots and humans. This can cover everything from ensuring clickable elements aren’t too close together on mobile, to creating logical website navigation and architecture.

SEO Myth 4: Keywords, Title Tags And Meta Descriptions Don’t Matter

Another myth that needs debunking is that keywords, title tags, and meta descriptions are irrelevant. There is significant value in each of these elements, even if they do not directly influence the ranking of your pages. 

Keywords matter because they keep your content focused on the topic of the page. And if you don’t target specific keywords within your content, then you may be writing some fantastic content but nobody will see it.

Title tags and meta descriptions remain important for two reasons. They tell search engines and users what your pages are about and give you a chance to promote your pages using keywords, search intent and calls to action. 

It would be silly not to take the opportunity to utilise your meta description to give complete clarity about the content on your web page, because this will translate very clearly through to a search engine. While the title tag and meta description may not be a ranking factor, they do affect your clickthrough rates, and clickthrough rates can affect SEO rankings.

SEO Myth 5: You Will See SEO Results Right Away

This myth is one of the biggest and most common misconceptions about SEO.

People look to gain increased visibility and leads through SEO very often, and although SEO can provide these benefits to business, they will not happen overnight. SEO is a long-term game; in fact, the majority of pages don’t get to the top ten results within a year. 

If you are looking for a way to get more immediate results on search engines and want to find the best way to do so, take a look at our guide on whether your business would benefit best from PPC or SEO marketing. A combination of PPC and SEO efforts could be the ideal answer for businesses that want to increase their visibility.

SEO Myth 6: Having a Secure Site Isn’t Important

Have you noticed that some sites start with http://, while others start with https://? Or if you have tried to access a site and Google has started showing you a warning if you try to go to a website that ‘isn’t secure’? 

What this means is that the website owner hasn’t secured their website with an SSL certificate, so the search engine can’t guarantee the safety of your data. 

In the past, SSL certificates didn’t really matter for SEO, but since Google announced that they would be a ranking signal, they have become an essential and easy win.

If you are unsure if your site has an SSL certificate, click on the padlock on the left-hand side of the search bar on your homepage. It should say that your certificate is valid.

If your site doesn’t have an SSL certificate, your ranking can be affected, so this is not something to be overlooked.

SEO myths can be hard to debunk but getting your company’s SEO right is much easier to do when you know what’s true and what isn’t.

If you would like help with any aspect of your SEO, don’t hesitate to get in touch with SilverDisc.

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