10 SEO Myths Marketers Should Leave Behind in 2020
- August 3, 2020
- Posted by: Manju Rai
- Category: Business & Digital Marketing Tips
There’s no dearth of tips and tricks on how to rank better in 2020 on the Internet. The advice is passed on in the form of articles, news reports, analyses, and video tutorials. Some of the freely available advice is quite useful; some may lead you astray.
But, it is hard to know what really works and what does not.
Unless you are an experienced digital marketer, you may have a hard time discerning which SEO strategies popular in 2020 actually deliver results and which ones are plain myths based on outdated information or misquoted articles and statements from Google.
The truth is that we don’t know exactly how search engines work. There’s no way to know how Google ranks billions of web pages on the Internet for various search queries. A lot of what SEO experts do is based on results obtained from trial-and-error over the years.
While experienced digital marketers can detect unproven SEO techniques or myths that continue in 2020 more easily, those with limited experience in the field cannot test every technique or claim based on hearsay or incomplete information.
Here in this post, we discuss 10 SEO myths that are popular in 2020. Read on.
SEO Myth #1: Syndicate Content Will Always Hurt Your SEO
Many bloggers and website owners publish syndicated content on their websites. It refers to a situation where you publish an article that has earlier been published elsewhere on the Internet; you mention the source and do not take credit for the content.
So, does this practice hurt your SEO in any manner? To understand the answer, you need to first ascertain if you are violating the rights of the original content creator. With syndicated content, you do not violate the original author’s Private Label Rights (PLR) if –
- You clearly mention the source of the original article
- The original author has offered a Creative Commons license for reposting his article(s)
If you follow these steps, syndicated content will not have a negative impact on your SEO or damage your website’s ranking in any manner. Search engines will not perceive syndicated content as ‘copied content’ or penalize you for publishing content that has already been published on another website.
Put simply, as long as you cite the source and stick to the content offered under the Creative Commons license, search engines do not look upon syndication as plagiarism. However, article spinning and ‘copied content’ will actually hurt your SEO.
This is exactly what John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google inferred in Google Console Help.
If you pay attention, you may have noticed a large number of high-authority websites publishing syndicate content.
Done correctly, it can help you reach a wider audience and provide them with more useful content, especially if you regularly send out newsletters, email updates, etc. to your subscribers.
SEO Myth #2: Links Are More Important Than Content
There was a time when having more backlinks was more important than content to rank your web pages in Google. That was a long time ago. This year, it’s better to stop believing in this long-busted myth.
The first time Google made a serious effort to penalize websites that abused link building techniques and resorted to keyword stuffing was in April 2012 when it announced the Webspam Update.
Backlinks are still important. But, they are not more important than content! Considering content as less important has been one of the most popular SEO myths of yesteryears.
Google employees Matt Cutts and Andrey Lipattsev confirmed way back in 2016 that the first three ranking factors include:
All of these three factors are equally important. One is not more important than the other.
Therefore, besides building a link profile, it’s important that you invest your time and energy to create great content or enrich previously published pieces. Pay attention to the latest content marketing trends to turbocharge your digital marketing campaigns.
In the long run, it’s a natural link-profile in combination with great content that will help you move your website higher up in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). This is exactly what professional eCommerce SEO professionals do.
SEO Myth #3: XML Sitemaps Will Automatically Improve Your Website’s Search Rankings
The XML sitemap’s main function is to assist search engines in crawling and indexing pages of a website. Search engines are keen to find out if your website has added any new pages. With an XML sitemap, Google knows that your site is up-to-date.
But, does XML sitemaps automatically improve a website’s search engine ranking?
The short answer is ‘no.’
Not submitting an XML sitemap is one of the most common SEO mistakes made at the time of launching a new website as it augments the search engine’s page crawl and content discovery process.
Sitemaps are especially helpful when –
- You are launching a new website
- Your site was recently launched and there are not many external links to it (search engines craw by following one link to another)
- Your existing website has a large number of pages (say, more than 500)
- Your site has a huge archive of articles, reports, etc. that are not intuitively linked to each-other
Sitemaps help websites gain more visibility but, it’s clearly mentioned in Google Webmaster Central Blog that “a sitemap does not affect the actual ranking of the pages.”
SEO Myth #4: Backlinks from All Kinds of Authority Websites Aide in SEO
SEO experts are always on the lookout for backlinks from high-authority websites.
After Google began penalizing websites for low-quality backlinks a few years ago, SEO professionals began using guest posting on third party websites as a strategy to generate high-quality backlinks.
But, many digital marketers believe in the myth that backlinks from all kinds of authority websites helpful in SEO.
The reality is that you cannot take ‘relevance’ for granted. Therefore, when you acquire backlinks from a high authority website, you must take context into consideration.
For instance, if your website offers ‘financial advice’ but gets a backlink from a high authority website that publishes content on ‘weight loss,’ it may be of little help.
SEO Myth #5: Domain Authority is everything and Google Takes It Very Seriously
Until 2013, the search engine giant Google used to assign a PageRank score (up to 10) to a web page. In 2016, Google made it clear that the search engine was no longer using the metric anymore.
When PageRank score disappeared from the scene, many third-party domain-authority scores such as Ahref’s Domain & URL ratings, Majestic’s Trust & Citation Flows, and Moz’s Domain & Page Authority became popular among digital marketers.
These scores do reflect the worth of a webpage but, they are never a true reflection of how search engines such as Google perceive or value a webpage.
This year, stop believing in the myth in 2020 that Google takes domain authority seriously.
Gary Illyes in Oct 2016 made it clear that Google does not have the concept of “overall domain authority.”
SEO Myth #6: Security Is Not Really Important for SEO
You may have noticed that URLs start with either ‘HTTP’ or ‘HTTPS.’ The extra ‘S’ in ‘HTTPS’ stands for ‘Secure’; the ‘S’ here comes from SSL (Secure Socket Layer) – a cryptographic protocol. Therefore, HTTPs means that the data served or processed at an URL that begins with ‘HTTPS’ is encrypted or your data requests are made using the SSL.
Until a few years ago, only websites that received online payments from customers or websites of government agencies used to be HTTPS-enabled.
In August 2014, Google formally announced that it had begun considering HTTPS as a ranking signal. At that time, it meant that if your website continued using the standard HTTP, its ranking could drop.
After October 2017, Google began displaying a ‘not secure’ label before URLs that did not have SSL enabled in the Chrome web browser.
Put simply, enabling SSL for your website is now an absolute must. Not only is it important for SEO but users may also avoid websites that are labeled as ‘not secure.’
SEO Myth #7: Spend More on PPC Advertising to Improve Search Engine Ranking
Will Google favor your website in organic SERPs if you spend more money on PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising?
No. It’s a myth that continues to misguide digital marketers in 2020.
Google’s algorithms for ranking pages and handling PPC ad placements are different from each other.
A PPC marketing campaign can sure help you point out long-tail keywords that your SEO marketing plan should avoid focusing on. You can also combine your SEO and PPC campaigns to increase return visits to your portal or establish your organization as an authority in the area you operate in. But, shelling out more money for a PPC campaign will have no direct impact on how your website fares in organic search results.
Simon Mikail is one of the founders and head of operations at 405 Ads. Simon serves as an online marketing manager to businesses and agencies worldwide. His overall business and marketing experience has helped hundreds of business owners get their presence done right when it comes to today’s online world.