How to Really Grow in the Eyes of Google: SEO Myths and How to Break Them
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According to Google, there are more than 200 search engine optimization (SEO) factors that have a positive impact on the position/rank of your website in search results. Of that number, give or take, about 20 factors have the most direct impact on the position in the search engine results page (SERP). We’ll leave this topic for another time, now we’re dealing with the topic of popular SEO myths and how to break them so that you wouldn’t run your business in an illusion.
SEO is based primarily on experiments. Unfortunately, the so-called “false positive” results of your tests often happen. It means that rankings accidentally jump and give you a false idea of the impact of the elements you’ve tested. Therefore, with this text, we want to point out some of these myths.
Likes and Comments on Facebook/Instagram Affect the Better Ranking on Google
There’s a prejudice that popularity on social networks has a direct impact on the better position of the website on Google. However, this isn’t the case. It’s completely irrelevant whether a text shared on Facebook or Instagram has 5, 10, or 100 likes or comments.
Google doesn’t take that into account. Likes are easy for manipulation and aren’t a true measure of quality. At the same time, comments can be tendentiously positive or negative, sometimes orchestrated (via bots, for example). Therefore, the direct number of likes and comments isn’t taken into account by Google as a ranking factor.
At the same time, there’s a possibility that social networks systematically block the entry of Google’s software reporter tool (for example, by using the rules of the file in robots.txt). As a result, Google can’t access the content that people write and share on social networks.
Of course, there’s a possibility that content, that’s popular on social networks, will get publicity and a larger number of posts on other websites and portals, and then incoming links can affect a better ranking.
More Visits = Better Positions in Search Results
Visits from other websites, social networks, ads, or natural Google results aren’t a ranking factor. If a website has heavy traffic, that doesn’t mean it will skyrocket to search results. So, whichever way you’ve chosen to build a website, and there are two ways if you’ve ever wondered how to build a website, the number of users coming to your website isn’t a factor that influences the ranking.
First, Google can’t measure and know how many times a website has been visited, especially if the website doesn’t have Google Analytics as a service for measuring visits. Even representatives of Google, i.e. its webmasters, whenever members of the digital community on social media ask them about this, constantly confirm that visits don’t affect SEO rankings.
Second, visits can be easily manipulated by software, botnets, or simply can be bought. As soon as a parameter can be manipulated, then that parameter doesn’t enter the position calculation on Google.
If I Pay for Google Ads, Then Google Will Reward Me With Better Organic Positions
Another famous myth. This time, the main topic is money. Many believe that the moment they start with paid advertising, Google starts to look favorably on the entire website and gives it a jump on organic (unpaid) results. Many website owners are adamant that this is true.
The truth, however, is completely different. Google Ads and organic algorithms work separately and on completely different principles. Google has repeatedly issued press releases in which it refuted the theory that those clients who pay for ads get a leap in SEO performance. They say that it wouldn’t be fair, because it would mean that those users who have money can “buy” a position on the organic algorithm.
Then why do some website owners see an organic leap when they start advertising? The most likely reason is increased brand awareness. As the brand is more visible, interest is created around it, and the possibility of mentioning the brand increases. Sometimes the portals link to the brand’s website, sometimes you get unlinked quotes, and all that has a positive effect on the ranking process.
If you get an “incredible” idea for a better ranking that consists of repeating the desired keyword as many times as possible in your text so that Google will understand which area your text is talking about – forget about it. Even if you hit that your keyword density is, at least, 5 %, still forget about it.
This might come to you as another disappointment but keyword density isn’t a ranking factor. Google has a powerful content analysis algorithm, which is able to identify all entities of a text regardless of the language in which it’s written. The algorithm doesn’t need you to repeat a phrase several times to understand what authors want to say and what topic they are writing about.
If you have mentioned the keyword a few times in the main headline (tag title), the main title (tag h1), and in the text, then be sure that you have given Google enough suggestions and signs, and that there’s no need to overload the text with the same phrase.
Using Google Tools (Analytics, Tag Manager, Search Console…)
And this is a big myth, too: if you employ some of the tools like Google Analytics, then Google will be able to track user engagement on the website and give you bonuses and position improvements.
Like all previous myths, this one is also so wrong. Google would like all websites in the world to use Google Analytics, but that’s impossible. There are big brands that have successful websites and don’t want to share their business data with Google. For example, Apple, BMW, and many other companies have websites that don’t use Google Analytics but that doesn’t stop them from having great SEO performances.
Domain Purchase Period
Previously, it was considered that spammers and manipulators buy a domain name for a shorter period (one year), while serious companies, which have a reputation and brand history, buy a domain name for a longer period. According to this theory, the one who bought the domain name, in the long run, is probably a legitimate brand and should be given more SEO importance. Unfortunately, that is also a myth.
As we have seen many times so far, Google wants to eliminate the impact of money on SEO performance. It wouldn’t be fair for a client who invests more money to get an automatic benefit for SEO. As a result, many domain names that are leased for only one year can easily be ranked for a large number of keywords. By the same principle, nothing guarantees a website whose domain name has been leased for 10 years it will get a high position in Google search just because of that.
Of course, the registration of a long-term domain name is always recommended because it eliminates the danger of forgetting to renew the registration after a year. A large number of well-known brands got “burned” because they didn’t renew the registration of domain names in time. Don’t be in that infamous group.
Keyword Meta Description Tag
Whatever content you put in the meta description tag, it won’t affect your position on Google. This has been happening since 2009. Of course, Google uses a description tag to form a display of your website in search results, so it’s important that you have this tag written nicely and concisely because it affects the user’s decision whether to click on your link or not.
The keyword in the description tag isn’t a ranking factor but it’s a clickability factor and can increase your click-through rate (CTR).
Valid HTML Program Code
It’s nice to have a completely clean HTML code, without semantic errors. However, the Internet is a living thing, full of holes and errors. Rarely does a website have a valid HTML record, and it would be illusory to require programmers, developers, and Internet enthusiasts to write perfect code.
Modern browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari …) as well as search engine algorithms (Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo …) compensate for invalid code in various ways and try to display and process content from the Internet in the best way.
Therefore, in order to increase the position on the search results, it’s completely irrelevant whether you have a completely correct HTML code or not. Of course, it’s recommended that you do your best and enable your visitors to easily view the content of your website, i.e. that the HTML code doesn’t interfere with the operation of the website itself.
This list isn’t final because the practice has shown that the core operation of the algorithm changes several times a year. It’s a matter of days when we’ll discover dozens of new myths. Google is increasingly leaving decisions to its artificial intelligence systems that take into account visitor behavior, seasonal trends, and personalization.
Also, these factors that we’ve presented may be in the category of myths today, and tomorrow they may have a positive (or negative) impact on SEO. So, the best advice is to take all our suggestions with a dose of reserve and to test and experiment on your own until you come up with the right answer for your specific case and your website.