5 SEO Myths You Can Forget About in 2024

Illustration of Seth Trammell



Mar 28, 2024


min read

In the rapidly evolving world of digital marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) remains a cornerstone of online visibility. However, as algorithms evolve and the digital landscape changes, so do the strategies for effective SEO. 

With 2024 upon us, it’s time to dispel some of the persistent myths that have clouded the SEO industry. These misconceptions not only mislead digital marketers but also hinder the potential of websites to reach their optimum online presence. 

In this article, we'll debunk five SEO myths you can leave behind in 2024, shedding light on strategies that truly work and those that belong in the past. Using the most up-to-date documentation and chatter around theory in the world of SEO we’ll dispel some of the most enduring misnomers in SEO.

SEO Myth 1: Meta Descriptions Are a Ranking Factor

One of the most enduring myths in SEO that needs to be put firmly out to pasture is that Meta Descriptions are a ranking factor (they’re not) and that they hold enough value to justify time and effort. 

So why don’t we consider them a ranking factor? Well, if we are to believe Google itself, they say as much as John Mueller did here back in 2020:

Ok well according to this, they still matter for the search result snippet — right? Here, the phrase “search result snippet” is that little bit of text you get under each entry that we in SEO often call the meta description.

As of January 2024, Google additionally changed its documentation on meta descriptions and search result snippets to indicate that the meta description element was not a primary source for these snippets, and that the body content was primary!

Now, you may say to me, “But it says Google sometimes uses it when it's more accurate than what's on the page!” 

The problem there is that you actually have a bigger problem if you’re relying on your meta description in that your page content isn’t relevant and valid, and you’d be better off spending your time changing that than writing a 155-character blurb Google will likely ignore. It’s my opinion that meta descriptions are something we can push way down the line in order of priority when making optimizations.

SEO Myth 2: Toxic Links Need To Be Disavowed

It’s well known that not all backlinks hold the same value, and some despite looking nice and coming from a high DR, can still hold no value whatsoever. Link builders and SEOs have always been on the lookout for spammy backlinks and tried to protect their sites from being inundated with them. 

Some major tools like SEMRush go so far as to alert site owners to unhealthy or “Toxic Links” in their portfolio. I know I’ve had more than one site owner come to me in a near or full panic after seeing this alert. 

After the initial panic of learning they have “toxic links,” the recommendation from SEMRush and others is to “disavow” these toxic links using the disavow tool in GSC.

The problem here is that there’s a fair amount of good data showing disavowing links provides no uplift at all!

Glenn Gabe has been a strong voice railing for disavowing the disavow link tool and his case study on disavowing links is the strongest evidence that this just isn’t something we need to worry about. 

I think SEOs can all agree there’s enough out there to worry about when it comes to backlinks and Google. So for this one let’s put the disavow tool to rest and focus on things that can actually bring value to our websites. I’m ready to call the myth of toxic backlinks busted for 2024 and beyond.

SEO Myth 3: The More Keywords You Use on a Page, the Higher It Will Rank

One of the oldest and most persistent myths in SEO is the idea that the more keywords you cram into a webpage, the higher it will rank on search engines. This notion, known as “keyword stuffing,” has been debunked repeatedly — yet it persists. 

In 2024, search engines like Google have become much more sophisticated. They now prioritize the relevance and context of keywords rather than their sheer volume.

Google's algorithms have evolved to understand user intent and the contextual meaning of content. This means that simply filling a page with keywords, without regard for coherence or user experience, can actually harm your SEO efforts. Instead, the focus should be on integrating keywords naturally into high-quality, informative content. 

The goal is to create content that resonates with your audience, answering their queries and providing value rather than trying to game the system with an overload of keywords. Leave this strategy back in the early 2000s if you still subscribe to keyword stuffing.

SEO Myth 4: Content Doesn’t Matter

Despite the constantly changing algorithms and SEO tactics, the adage "content is king" remains truer than ever in 2024. Debunking the myth that content doesn't matter in SEO is critical. The reality is that creating a high-quality, engaging content strategy is one of the most important things we as SEOs can do to increase our visibility in search long term. Google and other search engines have continuously updated their algorithms to prioritize content that provides real value to users.

What does this mean for SEO practitioners? It's not just about creating content. It's about creating content that resonates with your target audience. 

Content should be informative, well-researched, and tailored to address the needs and questions of your readers. It's also about the freshness of content. Regularly updating your website with new, relevant content is always seen favorably by search engines. 

In essence, quality content is not just about pleasing search engines but about providing value to your audience and boosting your SEO efforts. High-quality content builds credibility, engages readers, and encourages them to share, all contributing to better search engine rankings.

Myth 5: Clicks On the SERP Aren’t a Ranking Factor

For years it’s been argued back and forth whether or not Google looks at clicks on the SERP and user interactions on the SERP as a factor in ranking and for years Google has always maintained the attitude of “Nope, not a factor.” 

Arguments raged on both sides saying Google should be trusted here and others saying essentially, “No way, they’ve got to be lying.” Well in late 2023 due to an anti-trust lawsuit against Google where certain internal documents were made public, we got our answer.

Clicks and user interactions are a ranking factor:

Thankfully SEOs have Cyrus Shepard keeping an eye on this and reporting via Twitter on the documents that came out showing how in the not-so-distant past user interactions and clicks were absolutely a “Pillar of Ranking.”

The documents in this case have really illuminated the ways in which interactions on the SERP could still be in use as ranking factors today. It’s worth noting that with the age of these docs and their now public status, this could all change, but it also bears noting this does make sense. Here we can see broken down even more what SERP interactions play into ranking which include reads, clicks, scrolls, and even mouse hovers!

As SEOs, it's important to be flexible mentally and always able to adjust your thinking or even dogma on a particular issue at a moment’s notice as new information comes out. This is one case where that flexibility should come in handy for those who don’t think SERP interactions matter. This emphasizes the importance of having click-worthy titles that draw a user in is just as important as having one with that target keyword in it.

How To Master SEO in 2024

Mastering SEO in 2024 requires a blend of understanding the timeless principles of SEO and adapting to the ever-evolving digital landscape. Staying informed about the latest algorithm updates and SEO trends is crucial. Regularly educate yourself through trusted SEO blogs, webinars, and industry reports. 

Not sure who to follow and what’s important? Let the SEO experts at GR0 guide you and do all the heavy lifting and new sifting for you!

Also, leveraging analytics tools to track and analyze your website's performance can provide invaluable insights, helping you make data-driven decisions.

SEO in 2024 could signal a massive change in how we think about search and how we think about search engine marketing in general. What will almost certainly remain true is creating content and a website focused on your users will always be the right move. Engage in active community building, social media interactions, and content marketing strategies that resonate with your audience. 

Lastly, do not shy away from experimenting with new tools and tactics, such as voice search optimization and AI-driven content, while maintaining a strong foundation in traditional SEO practices.


State of SEO 2024 | Search Engine Journal

SEO trends for 2024 | Edmond Business

Meta Tags: What They Are & How to Use Them for SEO | SEMRush Blog


Case Studies