I apologise for lumping all SEOs together in the headline, some are good and some are still bad, but as the layman or ‘content person’ knows, there are a lot of opinions out there.

If you came via the blog homepage, the header image on this post showed Jupiter, Mercury and Io from Roman myth. 

Myth is a word that crops up a fair bit in SEO, such is the knowledge of the ‘inner workings’ of the Google ‘algorithm’.

Here are three of the oft-debated opinions that are still out there.

Myth One? 302 redirects do not pass link equity

I wrote a guide to doing just enough SEO for content managers. In it I recommend changing all 302 temporary redirects to 301 permanent redirects because, on the advice of a number of agencies I’ve spoken to in the past, I understood 302s did not pass link equity to the new page.

Just Google the matter and you’ll find many people saying the same, including Matt Cutts himself (Google webmaster).

It would therefore make sense to change these 302s, many of which are incorrectly used anyway when a redirect in fact remains in place permanently.

However, it seems there are dissenting voices out there about these redirects. Some have shown that 302 redirects pass link equity, just not as much as 301s.

And then recently I read this post by Barry Schwartz summing up a Google Hangout with John Mueller, a webmaster trends analyst at Google, who said the following.

When we recognize [a 302] is actually more like a permanent redirect and 302 is something that you may have accidentally set up, then we do treat that as a 301. We say, instead of indexing the redirected URL we index the redirection target.

Of course, remember that a redirect might not be necessary anyway. Many people archive web pages and redirect to similar content, rather than providing a more obvious explanation for the page’s removal to the user. 

For example, changing a page to state an offer has now ended is preferable to simply redirecting this page to another category or even redirecting to an archived offers page.

302 sign

Myth Two? Social signals matter

Some strenuously say they do, others strenuously say they don’t. Both camps tend to point out the same thing though, there’s merely a correlation between social signals and ranking.

Relevancy and popularity are two sides of the same coin. A post that is shared a lot has increased reach and therefore garners more backlinks.

Back in 2013, many were convinced that Hummingbird was going to begin to take account of social signals.

Some suggested +1s had an impact on Google ranking and others (such as Moz) conducted studies that showed otherwise. Just check out the number of articles we devoted to the debate.

One thing is for sure, the argument became moot in 2015 when Twitter once again partnered with Google to give the search engine access to the ‘firehose’ of tweets.

Now, you can see Twitter activity in real-time in the Google SERPs.

Check out my screenshot below when searching for ‘Star Wars’, there’s a tweet listed that was posted ‘6 secs ago’.

This is a direct imperative from search for companies to improve their Twitter presence and is one factor that may eventually make this social-search correlation become a regression (showing causation).

star wars google search

Myth Three? Content is king

Of our three myths, this is the one where consensus perhaps reigns (no pun intended).

Content is king: a mantra of content marketing agencies. The intention is to convey the importance of creating a digital strategy with the user in mind, where content for content’s sake is a waste of time.

However, this mantra may persuade the naive to think that SEO will largely take care of itself.

To contradict another cliche, SEO is definitely not dead.