10 SEO Myths That Won’t Go Away

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It is commonly known that when a myth has been established it is hard to get rid off. Since December, 2013 we posted a total of 31 “SEO Myths That Won’t Go Away” on May 2014, September, 2014 and September, 2015. Today we are adding 10 new SEO myths, all debunked by John Mueller and Matt Cutts.

Myth 1. Duplicate content problems are Panda issues.

Panda is an algorithm that was release in February 2011. Its main focus is to evaluate website content and thereby prevent websites with “thin and poor quality” to get high rankings in the Google search results. The Panda algorithm is updated from time-to-time. Google has consistently stated that duplicate content issues are not addressed by Panda.

Here is a question on this subject with an answer by Google’s John Mueller:

duplicate content

Myth 2. Google penalizes for invalid HTML.

With the capability in the Google Search Console to validate HTML code many still think that Google penalizes pages with invalid HTML code. It does not. In this video Google’s Matt Cutts explains why it is important to have web pages with validated and clean HTML code and why invalid HTML code does impact rankings in the Google search results. The YouTube video with Matt Cutts can be viewed here.

Myth 3. Citations or non-hypertext links benefit Google search rankings. 

There is a strong believe among many SEO practitioners that citations or non-hypertext links have a ranking benefit in the Google search results. Google’s John Mueller recently confirmed that when Google detects non-hypertext links or citations on a web page they will consider them links, but they will not pass any PageRank. Here is the answer from John Mueller on a tweet regarding this subject:

citations

Citations or non-hypertext links can have an indirect benefit when other readers, bloggers and reporters write their own story about the same subject and then link to the site that contained the original post.

Myth 4. Capital letters in URL’s provide a ranking benefit. 

Does using capital or uppercase letters in URL’s have any ranking impact in Google search results? “Nope” said Googler John Mueller to a question in the Google Webmaster Help Forum.

John Muller anser on capital letters

 Myth 5. Web pages that are crawled by Googlebot more frequently rank higher in the Google search results.

There is a common believe among some SEO practitioners that Web pages that are crawled by Googlebot more frequently rank higher in the Google search results. Google’s John Mueller debunked this myth during a Hangout (1:34 mark in the video timeline) saying that there is no direct correlation between a web page’s crawl frequently and its ranking in the search results. The video can be viewed here. 

Myth 6. Linking to quality, on-topic websites boosts a site’s rankings in the Google search results.

There has been a persistent view among many SEO practitioners that there is a ranking benefit in the Google search results for sites that are linking out to quality, on-topic websites. Google’s John Mueller explains here, at the 41:15 mark in the video timeline, that Google does not give an SEO advantage to sites based on outbound linking.

It is obviously true that linking out to link networks and spammy sites can have a negative effect on a site’s rankings.

Myth 7: H1 tags are important page elements that increase search rankings.

Searchmetrics and other research has shown little correlation between H1 tags and rankings in the Google search results. Actually a heading in a larger font may have the same impact. H1 to H6 tags are important for consistent overall page markup, including usability and accessibility.

Myth 8: There will be loss of link authority and other signals when switching from HTTP to HTTPS links.

Last December Google announced that “when two URL’s from the same domain appear to have the same content but are served over different protocol schemes (http and https) Google will choose to index the https URL by default. This has concerned some SEO’s over whether or not link authority and signals would be lost as a result of inbound links to HTTP pages no longer being counted. But John Mueller said not to worry:

https links John Mueller

Myth 9: 301 redirects pass less PageRank than normal follow links.

The truth is, a 301 redirects and normal follow link pass the same amount of PageRank. Matt Cutts killed this myth that many SEO’s still think to be true. Here is the video.

Myth 10. More indexed pages leads to higher rankings. 

In this video Matt Cutts explains that websites with a large number of indexed pages won’t automatically rank better in the Google search results than smaller sites. He goes on to clarify that the more indexed pages a site has, the higher the chance the site ranks for different keywords. The video can be viewed here.