Whether it is business, entertainment, politics or search engine optimization (SEO), once a myth has been established it is hard to get rid off. In December last year we posted 9 SEO myths that had been previously debunked by Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search quality. Today, almost 6 months later, it was not that difficult to compile another list of SEO myths, again demystified by Matt, now with help from John Mueller, webmaster at Google.
1. URL’s disavowed by a 3rd party can negatively impact your site rankings
Having URL’s from your website submitted to Google in the disavow file from a 3rd party will NOT have a negative impact on the ranking of your site in the search results, according to John Mueller.
2. Short content is low quality content that triggers a Panda penalty
What counts is the quality of the content in terms of subject depth, uniqueness, and most of all, whether it is compelling to users. Length is not an attribute of quality and there’s no minimum number of articles a day that Google requires site owners to post, John Mueller says.
3. Rich Snippet code increases page rankings in the search results
Schema.org rich snippets code, when implemented on a web page, does NOT boost the rankings of that page in the SERPs. Video here.
4. Established sites with old domain names have a ranking benefit over new sites
Established sites with aged domain names need to update their visual appearance and content regularly to maintain their rankings against new sites. There is no ranking benefit for established websites with aged domain names. Video here.
5. Switching from HTTP to HTTPS boosts page rankings
There is currently no special ranking boost in the search results for pages or entire sites that use SSL. So switching the URLs from http://www.domain.com to https://www.domain.com, or the other way around, do not have any impact on page rankings.
Update: In August 2014 Google announced they are going to use https as a ranking signal. For now it will be a very lightweight signal.
6. Authorship boosts page rankings in the search results
Matt Gutts has hinted that authorship may play a role in rankings in the future, but currently it has no effect on page ranking in the search results. Authorship may improve the click through rate because the extra image highlights the snippet in the search results.
7. Webmasters need to disavow off topic links to avoid a link penalty
Off topic links are links from sites that are unrelated to the sites they are linking to. Webmasters do not need to disavow links that are from sites on other topics to avoid a link penalty. The disavow tool is meant for situations where there are problematic, unnatural, PageRank-passing links on other sites that can’t have removed.
8. Page rank indicate the popularity of a website
Matt Cutts explains that PageRank is a measure of reputation determined by inbound links, while website popularity is a measure of where people go on the web. The fact that a site is popular is no guarantee that it will be linked to as an authority. Video here.