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The worst SEO myths on the web in 2020

SEO myths can be difficult to distinguish from fact and fiction. However, in order to ensure effort is not wasted on pursuing SEO fallacies, we must ensure we know what is going to make a difference to our SEO campaign and what isn’t. In doing so, this allows us to spend our time working on elements which matter.

Myth 1: HTTPS Doesn’t Affect Keyword Rankings

Google has made it no secret that they penalise websites that are not HTTPS secure when using the Chrome browser. If you have ever visited a website and it displays the website is not message or has the red warning icon next to the domain address, this is Google’s penalization for site owners not encrypting their website with SSL. 

Further, Blogspot released a research piece they did on the relationship between SSL encryption and consumers online. In a nutshell, a survey was created asking Australian, UK and US consumers if they would continue browsing a particular website if the browser indicated it was not secure (like the example provided above regarding Google Chrome). The findings of this were that, in Australia, 77% of consumers would not browse the site leaving only 23% who would. This alarming statistics should be more than enough motivation for those websites who are not encrypting their website by HTTPS to do so.

Myth 2: An SEO firm is endorsed/approved by Google.

Unfortunately there are many SEO firms falsely promoting they are endorsed by, or have some affiliation with Google. This is completely false and extremely misleading for those who do not know better. The fact of the matter is that SEO firms, influencers, media sites and the rest do not know 100% for sure what Google will be rolling out or what factors will be more effective in promoting a website. SEO methods used by each reputable firm are ones which have been fine-tuned over many years and have a consistent track record in produing results. This being said, no firm knows 100% for sure Googles Algorithm and never will.

Myth 3: You need an XML Sitemap to be found on Google.

While sitemaps are great to have to assist crawlers to navigate your website, they are not crucial for Google to discover your website, but XML sitemaps do fast-track the process. In an article published by Casey Henry, he found that without an XML sitemap, Google Bot took 1375 minutes to crawl new content and just 14 minutes to crawl content with a sitemap. 

“The experiment was to see if submitting a Sitemap to Google and Yahoo would decrease the time it took Google to crawl and index the page.  The results for this blog were amazing!  When a Sitemap was submitted the average time it took for the bot to visit the new post was 14 minutes for Google and 245 minutes for Yahoo.   When no Sitemap was submitted and the bot had to crawl to the post, it took 1375 minutes for Google and 1773 for Yahoo.   The averages were calculated on 12 different posts, 6 with Sitemaps being submitted, and 6 with the Sitemaps not being submitted.” Source: https://moz.com/blog/do-sitemaps-effect-crawlers.

Myth 4: If you are guest blogging… Stop.

This myth takes us all the way back to 2014 when Matt Cutts (Former Head of Webspam at Google) when Matt released a tweet “If you are using guest blogging….. Stop”. Obviously the content assumed for this post was wrong but it threw the SEO industry into a whirlwind as guest posting was a great way for websites to network and build a community. The fact of the matter is that while Google bot is smart, it’s not that smart, it cannot differentiate between two link sources. Matt later cleared up the controversy with:

It seems like most people are getting the spirit of what I was trying to say, but I’ll add a bit more context. I’m not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.)

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