People read a lot of bad information about SEO – but they don’t know it’s bad information.
As a result, people believe in things that make no sense at all.
That’s why, in our industry, there’s no shortage of posts about SEO myths.
However, these lists of myths often fail to mention some of the biggest myths that real SEO professionals refuse to let go of – but should.
Here are four beliefs that truly are very popular in the SEO community – and are also provably and undeniably wrong.
Also, “number four will shock you.”
This should be fun!
SEO Belief 1: Correlation Studies Tell Us How the Algorithm Works
A lot of major SEO blogs publish lists of “ranking factors”:
There’s just one problem.
These aren’t lists of ranking factors.
We don’t know every Google ranking factor.
The only ranking signals we know for sure that Google uses are the ones Google has told us.
Google does not, for the most part, tell us what information they use in order to rank sites.
Most of the things that we suspect as ranking factors are based on inference and speculation, as well as personal experience.
These lists of “ranking factors” are actually lists of how much certain things we can measure based on publicly available data are correlated with rankings.
Correlation is the mathematical way of saying “these two things happen together more often than we would expect based on pure chance.”
Correlation does not mean that the thing we are measuring is a thing that the search engine is using to rank websites at all. It has never and will never mean that.
Google does not rank websites based on “Domain Authority,” even if “Domain Authority” is a metric Moz uses.
Correlation studies are valuable because they tell us some properties of URLs that Google is ranking well. This can be a useful jumping off point for your own experiments.
A correlation study should never act as a substitute for your own experimentation and personal experience.
The best way to identify what improves rankings is to identify specific strategies, put them to use, and measure the results. If that strategy consistently causes your rankings to increase, it is a strategy you should continue using.
It’s that simple, and that complicated.