Nearly every blog in the digital marketing sphere has a post about SEO myths. Whether it's “10 SEO myths I hate”, “5 SEO Myths in 2015 or “15 SEO myths from the experts”. These blog posts are popular and for good reason. There is a lot of rubbish on the web about SEO and even major publishers provide terrible advice on SEO. Therefore people want to be educated on what is great advice and what is going to land them in a world of pain.
As an SEO professional I love these pieces, anything to make our industry more transparent is a big plus for me. With this in mind I went about creating a definitive list of SEO myths, a one-stop resource for all those SEO myths, lies and misconceptions.
I will be updating this blog on a regular basis so if there is a myth I have missed put it in the comments and I'll give you credit!
So sit back, scroll down and start reading from myth number 1 (or jump right in by selecting a myth from the index below).
SEO as service
Google specific myths
From the community
Saved for your myths, put them in the comments!
Let’s hit this one first because if this one was true then the rest would be meaningless...
1. SEO is dead!
The most common of all SEO myths and the most incorrect! No matter how many people declare that it is dead, SEO will never die, it simply evolves. It is certainly true that SEO has moved on from ‘tricks’ utilised to get a website to rank (some of which are mentioned in this post). However, rather than dying it has evolved into a more encompassing role which suits modern search engine algorithms.
2. The search engine will do the work
How often do people flippantly say: "Make great content and people will find it"? Well the sad truth is that in 99.9% of cases they won’t. Like anything in life if you don’t tell someone it’s there no one will find it. Search engines do a great job of indexing content and understanding what its about but most industries are now competitive in search engines so getting your content indexed is not enough to be found.
3. SEO is a hoax, scam or shakedown
With all the spam emails, cold calls, guaranteed #1 spots, $99 a month gold level packages and disappointing results it must be hard for business owners to remain optimistic about SEO. It usually requires people to have a positive experience themselves before they really believe in it. The truth is SEO is a proven marketing method with some of the best ROIs possible in marketing, but like any major investment you need to fully assess and research the company you are going to give that money to. Don't be scared to ask for a reference or two.
4. Google despises SEO agencies
Yes, Google and other search engines despise and penalise spammy SEO techniques but no decent SEO agency should be getting involved in these techniques anyway. Google in fact encourages SEO – they publish their own SEO guide and have a page about hiring an SEO company which states “Many SEOs and other agencies and consultants provide useful services for website owners”.
5. SEO is a one hit service
We hired a company to optimise all our pages 5 years ago so why do we need SEO now? Well, for one, I hope your website has had new content added in the last 5 years for starters but with that aside a one hit on-page optimisation job is rarely enough to rank in industries with multiple competitors. SEO should be seen as an on-going investment, how frequently you have active SEO work happening really depends on the competitiveness of the industry you are in.
6. Target: Rank #1 for this keyword
I don’t know how many times a client has come to me and said I want to rank number one for a short generic keyword (or as some people call them a vanity keyword). I always make two points: 1) Does ranking for that keyword really matter in isolation? Instead should you not focus on what matters to your business like an increase in leads or sale? 2) Very rarely ranking #1 for the industry generic keyword really matters. Ok, it will bring a lot of volume to your website but how many of those people turn into customers? The focus should be on the medium and long tail keywords that actual convert or research based queries to capture leads at an early stage.
7. SEO is cheap
Although you get offered SEO every day for $99 per month the type of SEO you should be investing in doesn't come cheap. Keeping up to date in one of the fastest moving marketing method requires dedication from an SEO. Add to that the multiple skill sets now needed (keyword research, writing, outreach, design, user experience, crawling and indexing, on-page etc) means you should be hiring knowledgeable and skilled people. Unfortunately these people are rarely cheap.
8. You should guarantee me #1
Another myth perpetuated by spammy SEO offers we all receive. No SEO worth their salt will offer guaranteed ranking positions. This is because they can't honestly ensure it happens. Often companies who offer these type of guarantees chose the keywords themselves. Often these keywords are non-competitive and don't provide valuable traffic. Google themselves say it best "Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings".
9. SEO ends at on-page optimisation
Some people would have you believe that all you need for SEO success is to add some keywords to your title tags and insert those keywords on your page. While good on-page optimisation certainly helps, the SEO process today is much more advanced and diverse. As search engines become more advanced the skill set required for SEO becomes larger, today it includes things such as; Keyword research, Crawl efficiency, Data structuring, Social share-ability, Site speed, Mobile optimisation, Usability and user experience, Content marketing and Outreach.
10. A special relationship with Google
I STILL get emails from SEO companies saying they can "call Google to sort out my rankings" or "purchase rankings from Google". The truth is no agency, on the SEO / organic side of digital marketing, has a special or partner relationship with Google. As per the Google guidelines "Beware of SEOs that... allege a "special relationship" with Google, or advertise a "priority submit" to Google. There is no priority submit for Google."
11. Rankings should be the main KPI
Rankings are a metric every SEO should be aware of. However rankings should never be the sole reason for SEO and therefore the main KPI. A professional SEO will focus you on the funnel which matters - organic traffic which brings organics leads or sales and ultimately provides you with a positive ROI.
12. Anyone can learn SEO in a week
Sure, you could get the basics of SEO in a training session or week self taught however the job doesn’t end there. Google update their algorithm over 500 times per year so you need to keep on top of things and continually learn. Today there are so many aspects to SEO that it is tough for any one person to become a true expert in them all.
13. SEO is for our IT department
There certainly is a technical part to SEO but that doesn’t mean your IT department should be doing the work. Just because they can network your printer doesn't mean they can optimise your website. SEO will, for most larger projects, involve some technical work however the vast majority of SEO work today is marketing based. More importantly SEO is a standalone skill set that most IT people don’t have the time to master.
14. SEO is for our web designers
It is very common for a web designer to bolt-on SEO to your web design. While I am sure there are agencies which do have the skill sets to do both effectively I have never seen an example of it. I am sure a lot of SEOs could build you a website but it will take them longer and be less effective than a website built by an expert, the same is often true in the reverse. Like most outsourcing you chose to do it because you want a specialist to help, this should be especially true in SEO, you really don't want your website in a hands of someone who knows just enough to be dangerous.
15. SEO after your website is designed
Web designers are likely to push this myth because it serves them very well. They can get a website live quicker (thus getting paid quicker) and then re-charge you for any changes. Perhaps I am being a little harsh on web designers here but getting an SEO involved in the early stages can make sure you launch with an optimised and well structured site (and you're not going to be spending the weeks following launch amending the site you just paid for).
16. Keyword research is not needed
Some clients want an agency to "jump into the real work" but keyword research is always a necessary and needed step. Without keyword research you will find it difficult to know what you should be optimising for and if you have any content gaps. As a client keyword research is your opportunity to get involved and ensure your SEO company is not just targeting high volume keywords but ones which also meet your business goals.
17. Link building is dead!
Perhaps the most common ranking factor based SEO myth. Today links, and their authority and relevancy, are still the highest weighted ranking factor. The industry has moved on from the spammy techniques of old such as directory submissions, "web 2.0 links", article spinning, link networks and blog comment spam but link earning is still essential. Every two years Moz surveys over 100 leading SEO professionals to get an insight into their beliefs on how the search algorithm works, to de-bunk this myth you can see in this chart below the top two factors are still link based:
The big takeaway here is this: "Links are still believed to be the most important part of the algorithm (approximately 40%)."
18. SEO is a dark art
Only the deceptive and low quality SEO service providers want you to keep thinking SEO is a dark art. This is so you don’t ask questions, get more educated and understand if they are delivering you value for money or not. In truth the SEO process is pretty simple to understand from a client level: optimise your pages so search engines know what the pages are about, ensure they can be crawled efficiently and then earn links to increase the strength of your website. Of course this is a simplistic overview but understanding the SEO basics as a client will really help.
19. Social metrics are ranking signals
This myth has got much stronger in the last few years. Some people will have you believe the amount of likes, shares and comments (social metrics) you get on sites like Facebook and Twitter is a direct ranking factor and will increase your rankings. At this point in time social metrics don't have a direct impact on rankings and I cannot see this changing in the near future with the reasons being that social metrics are far to easy to manipulate and search engines are unlikely to want to give that type of 'power' to third party sites. So if you buy likes and shares don't expect it to positively influence your SEO efforts.
20. Social has no influence on search
Above we looked at how social metrics are not a direct ranking signal HOWEVER a lot of people confuse this to believe social has no influence on search which isn't true either. There is an indirect influence that social media plays in search rankings. An increase in social media marketing will make your website visible to more people, the more people who visit your sites the higher the likelihood of an influencer visiting your site who has the ability to link to you. Below is a great graphic to illustrate this by AJ Kohn which he created for his post, Social signals and SEO:
21. Duplicate content is always dangerous
This one is from Dan Shure over at Evolving SEO:
" The greatest unneeded panic I see from webmasters, site owners and even some SEOs is over "duplicate content". They fear it in their title tags, their descriptions, and on-page content. Let's be clear - this form of duplicate content will not cause a penalty. It will not de-rank your site. And it's usually not as high priority as about 99% of other things you should be doing to improve your SEO and website. The only duplicate content that will cause a penalty is if you run a site that just scrapes all of it's content from other sites calling it your own. Don't get me wrong - it's good to make your titles, descriptions and on-page content unique as best practice. But most duplicate content is nothing to freak out about! "
22. You have to use meta keywords
Meta keywords are no longer used by major search engines. Meta keywords were previously a ranking factor however they were very easily abused so their existence on your CMS (content management system) are a remembrance of the past and only really serve to let your competitors know what you are trying to rank for.
23. User metrics don’t matter
It is very difficult to prove or disprove that user metrics such as bounce rate, CTR (click through rate), pogo-sticking, dwell time and time on site are part of the ranking algorithm, however what we can safely assume is that these metrics are at least used to improve the algorithm. At the very least CTR gives the search engines feedback on the quality of their results and dwell time lets them know if searches were happy with the content they were led to.
24. Keyword density
This might be the most long-standing SEO myth and you still see it mentioned and even in practice today. The number of words you have on a page divided by the amount of times you mention the exact keyword you are looking to rank for is not part of the algorithm. Does having a keyword you are targeting mentioned on the page help? Perhaps, but any content is naturally likely to have that. Search engines are smart enough to understand your content without the need for you to mention it a 'magical' percentage. In fact, with the advances in semantic understanding the need to actually mention keywords is becoming less and less.
25. Linking to big sites will boost rankings
The myth that linking out to big sites like Wikipedia will somehow 'tie' you to these companies and make you more authoritative (and thus rank better) is a fallacy. Inbound links increase your authority and therefore your rankings. Sure linking to good quality sites from your content can be positive as you are providing a better user experience and this can have direct positive influence on your rankings, but is not a stand alone ranking factor.
26. Hidden text just for search engines
Referred to as cloaking by those in the industry, people will have you believe this is a good way to show extra content and keywords to search engines but in a way which doesn’t look spammy to visitors. However this is certainly a no-no for search engines. They want crawlers and people to see the same content, if this wasn’t the case people would simply fill their website with thousands of words of content purely for ranking. Google has a page on this which contains the below video and states "Cloaking refers to the practice of presenting different content or URLs to human users and search engines. Cloaking is considered a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines because it provides our users with different results than they expected."
Automation is associated with bad and spammy SEO and rightly so, as soon as an SEO tactic seems effective people try to automate and scale it (such as blog commenting). Search engines are quick to pick-up and penalise these automated tactics. However some automation in SEO is needed and positive. An example of this is a script which generates the title tags on a site with 100,000 or more products.
28. You need a full site rebuild
I hear this a lot, usually as a sales tactic from a web design agency, and it is really unfortunate that the vast majority of the time it is untrue. Most SEO issues can be fixed without the need to completely change your website.
29. Submitting your site to search engines
Back in the 90s search engines asked you to submit your website and keywords but this practice has been useless from the start of the millennium. Although some of these submission pages are still live they aren’t used by the search engines and you really don’t need them. Just write unique content and earn some links and your content will start to be indexed.
30. Fill your footer with anchor text links
Adding site-wide internal footer links in a tiny font isn’t going to help those pages rank unfortunately, this tactic has been abused and seen its day. Search engines now give much less weight to links in the footer. Try and use a more natural, content based, way of linking internally.
31. The more tags on your blog posts the better
Publishers new to SEO sometimes pick up the nasty habit of adding as many keywords to their posts as possible as tags, fuelled by the myth that more is better. Tags can help group your content, create internal links and get pages indexed however they should be implemented in a controlled way which will also make sense to the user.
32. Linking to all your pages from the homepage
It’s dangerous to assume that just because the home page is (usually) the most authoritative that linking to all your pages from the home page will increase their rank. In reality (for sites bigger than half a dozen pages or so) not only would this have a huge drain on your link ‘flow’ it would also make for a terrible user experience. You need to put in place a hierarchy so that, in the example of a basic e-commerce store, a category links to a sub-category and the sub-category links to the products.
33. The more links the better
Links into a website are still a huge ranking factor however more links isn’t always better. As search engines understanding of context and relevance continues to improve then the weighting on relevant links will increase. Add to this that search engines already understand the authority of a link and you get a situation where one highly relevant and authoritative link is worth much more than 1,000 automatic directory submissions.
34. Long content will bring top rankings
Longer content does correlate to better rankings however it's worth bearing in mind; 1) Other ranking signals will take priority (domain authority, page authority, links etc) and 2) Adding poorly and quickly written content just to rank higher won't help.
35. Building a brand will make you rank
Quite a recent myth is that search engines love brands and therefore building a brand will help you rank. Building a brand, in isolation, will do very little for your SEO efforts. This myth likely started because big brands rank well (correlation) but being a brand didn’t do this (causation). These brands often rank highly because they attract higher traffic which leads to more natural links, major media sites naturally link to them and most have a high SEO budget which they can afford due to their off-line success.
36. Scrapers cause penalties
If a scraper goes through your site, takes the content and re-publishes it on their non-authoritative site will it cause you to get a penalty due to duplicate content? The answer is no and you shouldn't waste time disavowing them. Large blogs have thousands of scraper syndications of their content and they aren’t spending 24 hours a day disavowing them. Search engines are smart enough to figure out what is happening here.
37. Only exact anchor text links are worthwhile
If you get a link to your site with exact anchor text of the keyword you are targeting it influences search engines to make you rank better for that keyword - assuming the link is relevant and authoritative (more on this below). With that said a link without exact anchor text is certainly worthwhile, not only will brand and generic anchor text links help you have a natural link profile (exact anchor text links are one of the biggest indicator to search engines of link manipulation) but you will get the authority from the link no matter what the anchor text is.
38. Keyword anchor text don’t help rankings
Although the power of anchor text links is becoming debatable and getting the right balance is very difficult in modern SEO (due to the potential penalties accosted with them) they are still effective in increasing rankings. I would advise not to try and take advantage of exact anchor text links and instead use natural anchor texts (i.e. what works best within the text / context).
39. Guest blogging is bad for SEO
After Matt Cutts called time on guest blogging the perception of it turned bad very quickly. Ok, guest blogging (like most other link earning tactics) got abused and something needed to be done however it can still have secondary (and arguably primary) benefits for SEO. Ramsay Taplin of Blog Tyrant provided us with his view on this:
40. Target all keywords on your homepage
I wrote a post a couple of years ago about selecting keywords to target on a page and in it I discussed this subject as one of my biggest pet peeves. People brand new to SEO seem to be under the misconception that they can target all their target keywords on their homepage. All sites need a structured approach to keyword targeting to 1) Take advantage of all pages on the site and 2) Do justice to the keywords you are targeting on the page.
41. Only one link from a domain will be useful
If all things are equal a link from two separate domains is better than two links from the same domain, however that doesn't mean getting a second link from a good website isn't worth it. Links from separate pages count as separate links so you will get the benefit from the second link but keep in mind that search engines can tell the links are related so there are diminishing returns and site-wide links can be a target for penalisation.
42. SEO is easy
Although the basics of SEO are easy for anyone to learn, mastering and implementing it is another thing all together. Google, Bing and other search engines spend millions on patents, improving their algorithm and high end technology so figuring out their next step ahead of the curve (or even keeping up to date) is hard work and takes dedication.
43. No follow links are useless
Taking no follow link as 100% none value passing (this point alone is debatable) no following links are still not useless. The referral traffic from these links might lead to a lead or sale on your site but with this aside the extra traffic builds up awareness of your service and could even lead to more links (anything that increases relevant traffic to your site has the opportunity to do this).
44. External links are bad
Some people would have you believe that linking externally from a page is bad because it takes away 'ranking powers' from your page and passes it onto the external site. While your link would certainly pass value to the external site it won't have an negative impact on your site. A search engine wants to provide searchers with the best answer to a query so if external links are needed to make your page better then don't be scared to include them. (I link out to many external pages in this post because I believe it adds value to you as a reader).
45. Meta descriptions need to be full of keywords
Meta descriptions aren’t, in isolation, a rankings factor at all. They are your chance to entice the searcher to click through to your listing so write them for people and not for search engines. The only benefit of having a keyword in your meta description is that they will be bolded if someone searches that extra phrase which could lead to a higher click through rate.
46. I need exact keywords in my content
The key to writing content is to write for the visitor and not the search engine. Sure having a keyword on the page may have a tiny impact on your rankings but if it’s done in a way which looks spammy to the visitor then you have lost the battle. Add the fact that search engines are getting much better at understanding content it could be argued that it doesn’t matter how you say what you service is (with exact keywords or naturally) the search engine will understand it.
47. I need to update my homepage daily
Read something about fresh content related to changing your homepage daily (or frequently)? There really is no need for this, yes search engines like fresh content but it’s only really needed when the query has intent where freshness is required (such as news). Most homepages don’t get updated regularly and rank just fine.
48. Adding a Twitter module for rankings
I’ve heard tons of designers and clients saying lets add a Twitter module to the site because search engines love fresh content. Truth be told this will make pretty much no difference from a ranking perspective so only use a module if you think it will be better for the visitor.
49. The H1 is the most important element
The H1 is a ranking element but only a tiny one (from on-page optimisation factors only the title tag is more influential than the H1). It’s more important to have a clear message at the top of your page for the visitor to understand your content than to have a keyword heavy H1 for search engines.
50. The more pages I create the better
This is a dangerous myth because people who usually use it tend to forget quality is more important than quantity. Spinning out hundreds of nonsensical pages will do very little for you, but a couple of in depth, well researched and written pages could do wonders.
51. The ending of my URL is hurting my site
Have .html or .php at the end of your URLs think it could be hurting you because you read something about SEO friendly URLs? Well the good news is this makes no difference to your rankings what the conversion of your URLs are (so don’t pay for a full URL re-write of your site). It is likely to give you more short term pain than long term gain. URL structure does matter, especially if you have non-static or non-word based URLs that people will not what to share or link to, but the ending of your URL has no impact.
52. I need a keyword in my domain
The influence of exact and partial match domain names has been in rapid decline. In fact, research from Moz shows less than 2% of websites with an exact match domain name rank number one for that query. The truth is having the keyword in your domain name shouldn’t be the reason you chose that as your domain, think how it will work with your wider and more long term marketing strategy.
53. You need to specify “index, follow”
Search engines assume your content is indexable unless you say otherwise so don't waste your time or resources by tagging every page as “index, follow”.
54. A sitemap will boost my rankings
A sitemap can help get your content crawled and indexed but having a sitemap has no influence on your rankings, certainly not in the sense that you get a boost for having one. Google themselves confirmed that in 2008.
55. Reciprocal linking works
Asking other websites (or even worse using a company which facilitates this on a larger scale) to link to you in exchange for a link back to them is one of the easiest link manipulation tactics for search engines to detect and devalue.
56. Buying an expired domain for a head start
99% of the time if a domain is expired with great authority it will have baggage attached to it that the previous owner has failed to shake off, whether that’s a manual penalty or a toxic link profile. Most SEOs would only advise you to buy an expired domain if it’s the best one from a branding viewpoint and has been vetted for any issues.
57. Domain age is impossible to outrank
I actually hear this one really often from clients, they have a competitor who has been online since the internet was created (ok, maybe not that long but you get the picture) and they are sure the only reason they rank highly is because of domain age. Old domains do tend to have better authority but that is just a by-product of how long they have been active online. Produce better quality content than them and earn better links and you will rank above them.
58. Personalised search = no rank tracking
It’s true that search is getting more personalised and people see variants of results based on their history and location however these variations are still pretty low. This means the value of rank tracking remains intact. Location based searches are the biggest affected and because of this rank tracking companies now have options to be able to track rankings by location!
59. Search engines won’t check CSS
Has your SEO company tried to be super clever and hide the latest ‘search engine trick’ in your CSS file. Well tell them not to bother, they check there as well! As a general rule of thumb trying to hide something from a search engine isn't going to work out well.
60. Use your own sites to link to your main site
When I reached out to our channel manager at Hubspot they said the SEO myth they hate the most is this one, so they asked me to use an extract of Rebecca Churt's post:
“ The chances of this (linking to your site from other sites you control) doing much for you are slim to none. It’s like voting for yourself a thousand times in an election: It will still only count as one vote. Search engines are smart enough to know who a particular domain's registrant is, and they'll see that it’s the same person as your primary domain. And if you're reading this and thinking, "But what if I just change my registration information?" then you are clearly thinking like a spammer. Don’t be that person. ”
61. Adwords increasing your organic rankings
Everyone wants to think Google is only a money making enterprise that only cares about you paying for ads, while there are arguments for this Google have been very strict in ensuring their paid service does not bias their organic results. I often get asked "Does using Adwords help our SEO?" well, Google themselves have clearly stated “Advertising with Google won't have any effect on your site's presence in our search results” and I would take them for their word on this one.
62. PageRank is the KPI to track
PageRank was revolutionary and has led to the advanced algorithm Google has today, however, Toolbar PageRank (which most people refer to when they say PageRank) was never updated regularly enough to be a KPI. Today it is practically useless as Google confirmed in a hangout that it is “Probably never” going to be updated again.
63. Google will just take my business model
It’s true Google is providing a lot of services direct in search. This can be seen in content such as weather, answers, lyrics, calculators, flights and insurance however this is not a reason to be hesitant about SEO. Organic traffic is the cornerstone of successful online business and the amount of people searching certainly still isn’t slowing down. Add to that the fact that the vast majority of people still chose to go to an ‘expert’ site rather than utilising Google's services and you really should have no hesitations at all.
64. The disavow tool just helps Google
Some people say "don't do Google's job for them by disavowing your own links" - well thats just cutting of your nose to spite your face. The disavow tool can help you as well. Massively. The previous process of removing troublesome links was hard work, emailing and chasing up unresponsive site owners (who often asked for payment to remove your link), the disavow tool can save you a lot of time and get you out of that penalty.
65. Google rankings are based on +1s
There is no evidence to suggest that Google +1s have any impact on rankings. +1s can influence search though! If you are a connection of someone who has +1'd a piece of content and you search for that service it is likely to appear in your search results. I wouldn't call it a ranking factor because in isolation the +1 does very little, it's more a benefit of your Google Plus social media work.
66. User intent is not important
As long as my page is ‘optimised’ for the keyword, the intent of the user doesn’t matter – well with the introduction of Hummingbird that will change. Google really does want you to pay attention to intent and match your content to it. Google now has the ability to understand the meaning behind words and, as their aim is to provide users with the most helpful content, if you haven't thought about user intent and matched your content to it you won't rank for that keyword for much longer.
67. Google Analytics gets you penalised
It’s been a myth for a long time that if you use Google Analytics then Google could use that data to penalise you for things such as a low conversion rate, high bounce rate and short time on site. It’s so easy to manipulate Google Analytics data that it would make no sense for Google to use this and they have confirmed that they don’t. (Although that’s exactly what they would say isn’t it!?)
68. Keywords don’t matter anymore
Following the release of Hummingbird many digital marketers put another part of SEO on the chopping block, keywords. It’s extremely hard for a user to search without using keywords and while that is the case they will always be important. Sure we need to understand keywords to a deeper extent than we ever have before but keyword research and keyword based page optimisation is still extremely effective.
69. Everything Google tells us is the truth
While we all need to remain on Google’s good side it is wise advice to take what they tell us publicly with a pinch of salt. A lot of people would say that Google sometimes says things to create fear and make you fall ‘in line’ purely because they can’t get the algorithm to do it for them effectively.
70. Google will never figure it out
Come up with a link scheme that is so geniusly layered and masked you think there is no way someone could figure it out and penalise you? Think again. While you might get away with quick tricks on a small scale as soon as you ramp it up you will get on their radar (a place you don’t want to be). Google makes it their business to figure out manipulations and penalises them (to keep search results fair), the chances you can outsmart them on any type of scale really isn’t worth your effort.
71. There are 200 Google ranking factors
As a big fan of his work I asked Gianluca Fiorelli, SEO Consultant at ILoveSEO, what his biggest SEO myth is and this was his...
" You will see a lot of posts about Google's 200 ranking factors, most of which are created in order to get to the magic 200 number and therefore confuse indexing, correlation factors and some myths as ranking factors. So take this number with a pinch of salt or as Gianluca put it in his Moz post on this subject “We can say that "200" was an approximated number, perhaps offered to journalists in order to explain how complex Google's algorithm is. If the audience had been composed of information technologists, Alan Eustace would probably have used another wording. ”
72. Citations have replaced links
Sure, citations help with local organic visibility but people are always quick to declare “link building is done” and this is another example of this. Links are still an important local ranking factor. In fact links are the second highest factor on Moz’s local search ranking factors, a resource which tries to create an accurate picture of how local search rankings work by surveying a panel of experts.
73. Google Local pages are the only way for local
Don’t get me wrong, your Google Local page is a great way to attract local attention in Google but it sure isn’t the only way. Traditional SEO can be applied to a local strategy very easily and to great success, you just need to throw into the mix some quality local content.
74. Higher Google Plus metrics = higher ranking
I see this advice get given regularly as people fail to understand how local SEO works. As Google Local and Google Plus is linked people say that getting more followers on Google Plus will help you will rank higher locally. The truth is, although there is certainly no negative to having more Google Plus followers (unless you pay a third party for them), those signals in isolation are going to have no impact on your local rankings.
From the community
This space is saved for SEO myths from the community, put your myth in the comments below and ill post it here and credit you!
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