One SEO professional asked John Mueller in a hangout about SEO myths.
They aren’t going to start an SEO cop website for policing the search industry or anything. But, they see these myths all day long.
There are a lot of fallacies and misconceptions about different practices in SEO. Such as: you need to write 2,000 words to rank or “having a .edu domain will help you rank better,” and LSI keywords.
Other things like “E-A-T scores” and all kinds of stuff.
Their main concern is that there are some things that are inaccurate and others that are entirely made up and not tied to reality.
His question to John is: if he could, what things would John do if he could call people out and put an end to such myths or inaccuracies?
Perhaps not today, but maybe for a thread down the road?
John explained that he finds this to be very challenging.
On the one hand, it’s possible to put together a list of myths and say “Oh, this is entirely wrong.” But, at the same time, he also sees a lot of people have good intentions and sometimes they promote things that do absolutely nothing.
And then they, on the other side, do things that do have a positive impact.
From John’s point of view, he doesn’t want to call them out and say “Oh, look at this stupid person” who believes this thing, because they’re trying to do the right thing.
Maybe their competitor didn’t realize that doing something like this has no real effect. Or maybe they saw some correlations that weren’t really causal, but they were – in actuality – random correlations.
John says he always struggles with calling some of these things out. But maybe on the whole, they (Google) should be doing more to highlight some of the common SEO myths that are out there.
He believes that the other aspect is that some myths are technically myths, but they have some rooting in reality as well, where you may say: “I don’t know, keyword frequency is not an SEO ranking factor kind of thing. But at the same time, if you don’t mention words at all on your page, then it’s not going to do your website much good.”
So, it’s like “one keyword mentioned is okay, and 100 times is way too much. And it’s like – is there a number between that that is optimal?”
So, it’s also a situation where John can’t just go out and say “all keyword mentions are bad.”
If there’s something that they see being promoted which makes absolutely no sense, John recommends sending these incidents their way.
Perhaps they can really start to work on collecting these SEO myths and publish something on the Google blog about them.
John also added that it makes sense to focus on the positive things you can do, instead of calling out all the bad things.
Instead of starting a discussion about the bad things, focus on the positive things that you can actually do for your rankings.
This happens at approximately the 13:05 mark in the video.
John Mueller Hangout Transcript
SEO Professional 4 13:05
Alright. So, um, let me preface this by first saying that I am not starting SEO cop, a site devoted to, you know, policing the search industry. But that said, you know, you see it all day long.
There are a lot of fallacies and misconceptions about different practices in SEO, like, you know, you need to write 2000 words to rank or having a .edu will help you rank and LSI keywords, that was one recently, quote, “eat score,” you know, all that kind of stuff.
So my question is, and I apologize for putting you on the spot. But, you know, there’s some things which are kind of inaccurate, some things which are wholly made up in, you know, not tied to reality. What, if I could, what things would you, if you could, debunk that you see on an almost daily basis that makes you sort of scratch your head and say, “Can we put an end to this myth or this inaccuracy?”
I mean, maybe it’s not today, maybe it’s for, you know, a thread down the road, but, you know, there are things that you see, probably every day and you say to yourself, oh, you know, that’s not true.
Now, I don’t know, I always find that very challenging. On the one hand, it’s possible to put together a list of myths and kind of say something like this is completely wrong. But at the same time, I also see a lot of people have good intentions and sometimes they promote things that do absolutely nothing.
And they, on the other side, do things that do have a positive effect. And from my point of view, I don’t want to really call them out and say like, Oh, look at this stupid person who believes this thing, because they’re they’re trying to do the right thing, maybe their confused, maybe didn’t realize it has no real effect. Or maybe they saw some correlations that weren’t kind of causal, but kind of just just, I don’t know, random correlations.
And I don’t know, I always kind of struggle with calling those kinds of things out. But maybe we should do more to kind of highlight some of the common myths. I think the other aspect there is also that some of these myths are kind of technically myths, but they have some routing in reality as well, where you might say, I don’t know, keyword frequency is not an SEO ranking factor kind of thing. But at the same time, if you don’t mention words at all on your page, then it’s like, that’s not going to do your website much good.
So it’s like, well, one keyword mentioned is okay, and 100 is too much. And is like, is there a number between that is optimal? No, but you can’t go out and say, well, all keyword mentions are bad. So that’s, I think, always kind of tricky, but I don’t know. I think if you see things where you run across them, you’re like, oh, this makes absolutely no sense.
Maybe just send them our way. And maybe we can start collecting them and see what we can do in that regard. Sometimes it also just makes sense to kind of focus on the positive things instead, and to say, kind of like, instead of calling out the bad things, because I kind of almost start a discussion about the bad things, focus on the positive things that you can do.
SEO Professional 4 16:42
I mean, yeah, I in no way ever want to call someone out. It’s just sometimes I feel like if someone believes it, they’re going to start, you know, you’re at sort of a fork in the road, they’re going to start just going down the long road, like, oh, I need to, I need to write 2000 words. And so I’m going to just fill it with fluff. That’s not and then they and then they come back later and they say, “Hey, I wrote this really long story. Why am I not ranking?” Well, you could have written this in 300 words, if you stuck to the facts, or whatever it is, you know, that’s sort of where my intent is not to call anyone out or say you’re getting it wrong. It’s more of if anything, to sort of demarcate what are best practices. And, you know, this is more myth than it is reality. So you shouldn’t go down this road.
Yeah, I think also, overall, when I look at the SEO industry, it feels like a lot of the myths from the old days are kind of gone and a lot less popular. And most of the people that are active in SEO, they kind of find good information out there.
And they publish good information. And it seems a lot more focused on actual help, rather than kind of these weird myths where it’s like, “Oh, if you do this,” like the 2000 word thing that you mentioned, I find a lot less of that. So that’s also kind of a positive thing.