SEO Myths Busted By Google - Lets Set The Record Straight

There is so much SEO misinformation out there, so let’s bust some SEO myths (backed by Google references) and set the record straight.

Please note this post will be updated as news comes out. At GCD we follow along with all the latest news and updates from Google daily to ensure we are providing our clients with the most up to date information and knowledge on SEO.

The key to being not good, but great at SEO (search engine optimisation) and most things, in fact, is keeping up with the times. We need to embrace change as our world evolves. I started out professionally in SEO in 2013 and some of the things I was first taught are no longer acceptable when it comes to SEO. Therefore, today I want to take you through some common SEO myths which have been busted by Google employees, or Googlers as they are called.

Yes, you can have more than one h1 heading on a page

When I started out in SEO, and for many years, the general rule, was one h1 heading per page. This is the main title of the page. Many SEO tools and auditing tools in fact will still give you a red flag if you have more than one h1 heading on a page however, in 2021 John Mueller from Google confirmed that whether you have none, one or multiple h1 headings on a page – this won’t impact your SEO efforts and rankings.

“You can use H1 tags as often as you want on a page. There’s no limit, neither upper or lower bound. Your site is going to rank perfectly fine with no H1 tags or with five H1 tags.” – John Mueller

Personally, I feel like it is common sense for a page to have one h1 heading and then subheadings below that. However, if you have a case where you have multiple h1s and they are not easy to update, then I wouldn’t stress or pay an arm and a leg to get them fixed.

Bold text can help with SEO

I have to admit, this one did surprise me when I heard it in 2021. Google confirmed that bolding text on your page can help your SEO and help Google to understand your content better.

Again John Mueller confirmed this during a Google Search Central SEO office-hours hangout recorded on November 12, 2021.

“So usually we do try to understand what the content is about on a web page, and we look at different things to try to figure out what is actually being emphasized here, and that includes things like headings on a page. But it also includes things like what is actually bolded or emphasized within the text on the page. So to some extent that does have a little bit of extra value there, in that it’s a clear sign that actually you think this page or this paragraph is about this topic here.” – John Mueller

Now I wouldn’t go away and start bolding your text like crazy. One tip I did see on Twitter, however, is if you see Google bold some of your text in the search results, then that’s a good hint 😉

Keyword density is not a ranking factor

A lot of people swear by getting the green ticks in SEO plugins like Yoast and Rankmath – however, please do not, these do not guarantee great SEO. Most of these SEO tools do highlight that you need to mention your keyword a certain amount of times for good SEO, aka keyword density.

However, it’s worthwhile noting that keyword density is not a ranking factor and this was confirmed by Google at the end of 2021 on Reddit.

Link exchanges are against Google guidelines

If other sites link to your website naturally because they genuinely want to endorse you – this is awesome for your SEO. However, note that I have used the words ‘natural’ and genuine’ in there.

If you and a friend or another business purely go, ‘I’ll link to you, if you link to me’ that will help your SEO in no way shape or form as link exchanges are clearly against the Google guidelines.

This has come up multiple times over the years including in a Google Search Central Hangout from July 2021 (when you hit the play button it should take you to the 9:30 mark when the question was asked):

You can ignore “toxic backlinks”

A lot of SEO tools and such will highlight low-quality backlinks and emphasise that you need to disavow or get them removed. John Mueller recently on the 6th of January 2022 on Twitter, said you can generally ignore these toxic links that have been autogenerated.

However if you or someone like an agency has paid for links to your website and they are low quality – these ones you should definitely disavow and clean up in order to not harm your websites reputation.

Do you have an SEO question you’d like help answering? Contact us and we might just be able to point you in the right direction.

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