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Last updated: May 19, 2020
There are tons of myths doing the rounds in the world of SEO that just never seem to fade away. The main reason why SEO myths exist is because Google itself is still a bit of a mysterious beast.
The Internet is the perfect breeding ground for these myths and misconceptions. Some SEO myths get busted quickly, others are much more stubborn and just never leave the building.
The below 8 SEO myths are the ones that I personally come across most. So let’s get them busted, once and for all!
- Higher Moz DA Will Lead to More Traffic
- Long Form Content Always Ranks Better
- Updating the Published Date Will Give a Post an SEO Boost
- Deleting Content Will Hurt Your Rankings
- Updating a Top Ranking Post Will Make It Lose Its Rankings
- Bounce Rate Is a Ranking Factor
- More Posts Means More Traffic
- SEO Is a One-Time Magic Effort
1. Higher Moz DA Will Lead to More Traffic
The Moz DA score has been a popular metric with bloggers for many years. There are even bloggers out there who are somewhat obsessed with that score. Their goal is to increase DA because they believe that a higher DA will lead to more traffic to their sites.
Domain Authority is a score between 0 and 100 that, according to Moz, predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages. The score is calculated mainly based on backlinks. That is, backlinks that Moz has discovered.
The problem with this is that backlinks are just one of many ranking factors. The other problem is that Moz has always been notoriously bad at tracking backlinks.
So what this essentially means is that Moz DA has always been a meaningless metric, a metric that Google certainly doesn’t care about.
Moz even admitted themselves that their link data used to suck. And if their Domain Authority calculations are based on data that sucks, then what value does a website’s DA have? That’s right, nothing.
And while their new Link Explorer appears to be a lot more accurate, there is still no point in checking the DA of your website. It’s nothing more than a vanity metric that really doesn’t mean or do a whole lot.
I once sold a website on Empire Flippers for 21K that had a staggering Moz Da score of one. That’s right, one. And all traffic to this site was organic traffic. Go figure.
Ignore your Moz DA score and focus on growing your organic traffic by publishing quality content. Use a tool like Semrush, Ahrefs or Keysearch to track your progress.
2. Long Form Content Always Ranks Better
No, it doesn’t.
Quality content, typically, ranks better. And quality content can be 600 words, or it can be 3,000 words. Word count is irrelevant and is certainly not a ranking factor. Sure, quality content often leads to long-form content, but they are certainly not the same.
It’s one of the biggest SEO myths that has been doing the rounds for several years. So many people, including SEO experts, still believe that you always need to publish long-form content. As a result, we see tons of fluff content appearing on the Internet just to get that word count up.
Quality content does NOT equal long-form content. Publishing long-form content for the sake of publishing long-form content leads to fluff, vagueness, reader boredom, and other awful things.
Avoid making this common blogging mistake. Don’t write for Google, write for your readers instead. And when you genuinely write for your readers, you will find that you’re actually also writing for Google.
It’s not long-form that makes your content rank, it’s the quality that makes it rank. Focus on writing quality content that provides answers to questions people are asking in Google. Don’t worry about the word count, it’s not important.
3. Updating the Published Date Will Give a Post an SEO Boost
Republishing blog posts is often a hot topic. Updating an old post with new fresh content and other improvements is a great thing to do, but changing the published date to today won’t give the post any SEO boost at all.
If your updates to an old blog post are good, you can certainly get an SEO boost from that. In fact, I personally spend more time updating old content than publishing new content, because I know how much I can gain from doing that.
But there is no need to republish. The only reason you would want to set the date to today is if you want that post to pop up in your RSS feed, or in your latest articles widgets.
Other than that, you can leave the published date as is. Google will re-index your post and take your updates into account.
Feel free to republish a blog post if you want that post to feature in your RSS feed or home page, but don’t expect any SEO boost from it. Any SEO boost will be a result of the updates you’re making, not of the date change.
4. Deleting Content Will Hurt Your Rankings
Everyone should conduct a content audit at least once a year. Go through all your blog posts and roughly group them as follows:
- Awesome content
- Okay content
- Rubbish content
All posts in the third category should be dealt with.
Sometimes it’s worth merging 2 or 3 posts into 1 bigger, much more awesome post. Other posts can perhaps be updated by adding some more relevant content.
And then there are posts that are beyond repair. These are typically posts that are super thin content and don’t serve any purpose.
If they are truly beyond repair, they should be deleted, as they can bring your whole site down, especially when you have a lot of them. Once deleted, make sure you 301 redirect them to other relevant URLs. If there is no relevant URL available, you can simply let them go 404 (not found error).
Deleting content, as part of a carefully conducted content audit, can do wonders for your website. If done properly, it won’t hurt your site’s rankings and can actually increase your organic traffic.
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5. Updating a Top Ranking Post Will Make It Lose Its Ranking
I see a lot of comments like the below in different Facebook groups I’m in. It’s true, so many people do actually believe that you should never touch a post that is ranking number one, out of fear that it will immediately lose its top ranking.
Reality is, you should always update a #1/2/3/N post when there is a need to do so. Adding or changing a product that you recommend, updating or changing outbound links, updating paragraphs that are not relevant anymore, etc.
Keeping your content up-to-date is a good thing and if done properly (important -> properly) it will help you stay in the number 1 spot rather than slowly losing it to new competitors that pop up every single day.
Leaving content dormant is one of the worst things you can do as a blogger. To not touch a #1 post just because it’s a #1 post is not at all conventional wisdom, it’s a myth that requires busting.
Many light years ago, Nokia dominated the mobile phone market, until they decided to fall asleep and not innovate. Then Apple came along with the iPhone and basically made Nokia vanish overnight.
Would you rather be Apple or Nokia?
The same principle applies to blog posts. Just because they are number one, doesn’t mean they will stay there. You need to continuously look after them and keep them fresh and shiny.
Updating a top ranking post will not have a negative impact on your rankings, provided the updates you’re doing are actually good updates.
6. Bounce Rate Is a Ranking Factor
Bounce rate has never been and never will be a ranking factor. It’s nothing more than just another metric that gives you some insights into the behavior of your website.
Look at it this way:
Imagine someone lands on one of your awesome articles after finding you on Google, stays on your article for six minutes, and then leaves. Now, what if a user lands on your article, clicks on an internal link after five seconds, and then leaves within ten seconds.
The bounce rate in that first scenario is 100%, and 50% in the second scenario. But the first scenario is actually a much better result and a much more positive signal to Google that your content is legit.
Time on page, or dwell time as some may call it, is much more important than bounce rate, because time on page says a lot more about the quality of your content than bounce rate does.
A high bounce rate doesn’t have to be a bad thing. So if you’re worried about your high bounce rate negatively impacting your rankings, don’t be.
7. More Posts Means More Traffic
A lot of bloggers believe that they should post as frequently as possible. Some can even get stressed about it when they don’t meet their deadlines.
While consistency is definitely a positive signal, the quality of your content is sooo much more important than the quantity. You’re much better off publishing one beautiful, top-quality piece of content per month than writing four mediocre quality articles.
I’ve seen websites growing in organic traffic despite not publishing new content in six months. Now, I won’t be recommending to let your blog go dormant for that long, but I do recommend you stop worrying about having to write content frequently.
Posting more frequently will only lead to more organic traffic if the quality of your content remains good. If the quality is suffering, swift your focus from quantity back to quality.
8. SEO Is a One-Time Magic Effort
I often receive requests from bloggers who want me to “fix their SEO”. They want me to go into their site, do some SEO magic, and all will be good forever after.
Unfortunately SEO is a lot more complicated than that. SEO is always a long-term commitment. Sure, there’s a lot of short-term technical quick fixes one can implement in a site to make improvements, but that’s only a small part of what SEO is really about.
Most work will go into site structure, keyword research, content writing, content optimization, and so forth. All of that is an ongoing effort. And with the Google algorithm changing almost on a daily basis, we also need to keep tweaking our SEO strategies.
SEO is a long-term commitment and needs your ongoing attention if you want to be serious about organic traffic.