7 SEO Myths That Won’t Go Away Demystified By Google Engineers

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It is commonly known that once a myth has been established it is hard to get rid off. Since December, 2013 we posted a total of 41 “SEO Myths That Won’t Go Away” on May 2014, September 2014, September 2015 and January 2016. Today we are adding 7 new SEO myths, all debunked by Googlers John Mueller, Gary Illyes, Andrew Lipattsew and Paul Haahr.

Myth 1. 302 redirect does not pass pagerank (link juice)

A 302 redirect is an http status code that is used to indicate that the resource (page) is temporarily located somewhere else and that the client/browser should continue requesting the original URL. When a 302 redirect is used on a server search engines need to determine whether to keep the original page or replace it with the one found at the new location.

Some SEO’s believe that 302 redirects do not pass Page Rank, but that is not the case according to Google. Here is the answer from Google’s John Mueller on a question regarding this subject.

302 redirect

Myth 2. Links within PDF documents do not pass PageRank

There is still confusion among some SEO’s on whether links in PDF documents pass Page Rank and other ranking signals. Google’s Gary Illyes confirms here that links in PDF files pass Page Rank.

PDF links

Myth 3. Having a large number of NoFollow links pointing to a site can lead to a Google penalty

There is still some confusion out there that a site with a large number of links with the rel=nofollow attributes pointing to it may be at risk of receiving a Google penalty.

But Google’s John Mueller ensures us that Google takes these links out of the PageRank calculations, and out of the algorithms when they use links. John demystifies this myth below.

No follow links

Myth 4. Google can parse and understand the text embedded in images 

On Twitter someone asked Gary Illyes of Google whether Google’s crawling and indexing technology can understand the text embedded in images. Here is Gary’s answer:

Text in images

Myth 5. Google uses click data and bounce rates as a ranking signals

Although on the surface it may make sense for Google to collect and use click data and bounce rates as ranking signals, they continue to say that click and bounce metrics are spammable and not always convey user behavior correctly. Google is therefore, contrary to what many SEO’s believe, not in favor of using it right now is a signal for ranking, according to Googler Andrew Lipattsew. He discusses this subject further with Ammon Johns, Eric Enge, Bill Slawski and Rand Fishkin in this video starting at the 20:40 time mark.

Myth 6. Higher ranking positions in the SERP’s get more clicks

It is not true that higher positions in the Google SERP’s receive more clicks. At the SMX West 2016 “How Google Works: A Google Ranking Engineer’s Story” Q&A, Google engineer Paul Haahr revealed that position 10 in Google SERP’s gets more clicks than positions 8 or 9 combined because many users don’t want to click Next Page. In addition, position 7 does get more clicks than position 10. Watch the video at time mark 19:08.

Myth 7. Words in URL’s must be separated by hyphens, not underscores

Using hyphens between words in URL’s is an established and common practice in SEO-friendly web design. Google, in the Search Console Help recommends using hyphens in URL’s between words and WordPress automatically generates hyphen-URL’s for new posts. But now John Mueller of Google said in a recent Google Hangout on Google+ that Google doesn’t really care about underscore versus dashes. Watch his remark at the 21:41 mark in this video.