Posted on October 10, 2014
The SEO industry has a lot of amazing people working in it, with some of the biggest names in the field really excelling at what they do. Then, at the other end of the scale, you have the people living firmly in the past or even in their own little dream world, where they sit for hours at an end, working on their campaign and wondering why it is not working or has stopped working. When you look at the work of these people you can often find similar patterns and the same old myths and ways of working that are not only a waste of time, but are potentially very risky if the search engine sniffs out their techniques and / or bad practice.
I know that quite often SEO is seemingly based on a lot of opinion and not a lot of fact, but those professionals that get results all generally believe in the same things and equally, those that fail to get results or in fact do a lot of damage, also believe in the same things, but often very different things! The myths and old tactics are still floating around, which just lead to a much poorer Internet and online experience for those people that stumble across them.
So, here are my SEO Myths that I wish would just disappear.
The More Links The Better You Rank
Years ago, SEO firms offered a set amount of links for each client they worked for. Maybe 100, maybe 200, but the more you had, the more you paid for, and this was how it seemed to be across the SEO industry. But, having 200 really low quality and crappy links is not going to give you any more benefit than having 100 of them, in fact, one quality, related and authority link will smash those poor links out of the door. Link building is about QUALITY not QUANTITY, so if you are going to employ an SEO firm to take care of this, make sure they are going out there and getting you the golden eggs of the link building world and not the ones that are going to hatch into a Google penalty when your link profile looks dodgy.
I have seen and proved a thousand times that a site can rank with just a few, high quality and natural links and I would hope that most people in the industry would say the same, because the days of needing 200 directory links, 100 social bookmarks, 50 blog post links and 25 article directory submissions every month are now redundant, because it does not work to any great reward any more. It is far better to spend one hour researching and building a first class link, than to sit there adding your site to directories that might provide you with 50, as they will not be the quality that Google wants to see.
Any Old Onsite Content Will Do
Article submissions, press releases and poor blog posts on one off WordPress sites are tactics that are firmly in the past and really do not work on any great scale anymore. These are just examples of bad off site content tactics and although there are many, many more, generally, if you are going to release content on other peoples sites then make sure it is as good as you would want to place on your own. There are a few reasons for this and if you are blogging for a high profile site and you are writing something that is shocking (and if they actually accept it) then your profile is going to tank as people will actually be reading it. Whereas if you are a small site with few visitors you can probably get away with writing drivel, but when it comes to writing for sites that have an audience it has to be quality you produce if you want the benefits from it.
You also need to think that if you are getting a link back from this content, if the article or blog you have produced is really bad, then you are just going to start leaving a trail of destruction for Google to follow, as these days it’s pretty simply to associate your site with content you have written elsewhere through link building, and you really do not want association by guilt in these cases. Choose wisely about where you blog and release content and make sure that the content you do produce is excellent, quality, related and of course unique, as you should never publish something you would not be proud to have your name on.
Repeat Keyword x 20, Rank For Keyword
I want to rank for online marketing, because my marketing online is really good and therefore when it comes to online marketing, there is no other online marketing company that you should turn to if your marketing online campaign really isn’t pulling in the best online marketing results. Did we mention we do online marketing?
You get this one straight away yeah?
Keyword density in my opinion is an overrated thing of the past. To rank for something you don’t have to have it mentioned X amounts of times on your page, or have to worry about it being in a certain % of places across your content. As long as your site is optimised for what you want to rank for you and you have enough related quality content to reinforce this, you are going to be well on your way to getting the rankings you desire. Of course, you still need quality backlinks and social signals, but worrying about how many times your keywords appear in an article is just pointless, as it is far more important to write for the user than to write for the search engine.
Google Products Spy On You
I first started getting told this one a few years ago, when Google was actually more liked by webmasters and site owners than it is now, and the basis of the argument was that if you use Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics then Google will know everything you are doing and this could affect your rankings in a negative way. This meant that a small proportion of the online world refused to have anything Google related on their site, for fear of what could happen to them. Now, whilst I am sure Google Analytics data is used as some part of performance related ranking considerations, using Google products will not allow them to spy on you any more than they do now.
Having Google Webmaster tools installed does not mean that you have more chance of getting a penalty. Using Adwords and then stopping for a month will not affect your natural search rankings. The list just goes on of these conspiracy theories.
For me, Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics are two tools that I always ask that a client supplies to me before I start working with them, or at least allow me to install. These two platforms give me more data about the client than anything else from an online point of view, so whilst there are some that worry and will not use the Google products, I actively embrace them and welcome them as part of my online marketing tools. And, if is Google is getting information from them, then to be honest, I am pretty sure they could still get exactly the same information if they wanted to without them anyway.
Use The Same Article 10 Times
Some know it as spinning, some know it as article churning, but I know it as lazy, ignorant and a complete waste of online space when it comes to taking one article and running it through some software to get 9 different variations. As the search engines get more intelligent, this kind of content creation is luckily dying a death, but as there are still so many people that insist on doing it, it will probably take a long a time to go away. The method no longer works and to be fair, it didn’t really work that much in the first place, because having one decent article, that is unique, quality and relevant is worth so much more than having ten variations that make no sense to anyone.
Anything that appears on your own site really needs to be special and well written, else there is no point writing it in the first place. If you have lots of quality onsite content then the last thing you want to do is risk getting hammered by spinning the article and turning out loads more, because you will get caught and you will suffer, as it is only a matter of time before the Panda comes breathing on your neck and punishing you for low / thin quality content, which is exactly what this method creates. Spend your time on writing quality content that your users will love, not pumping articles through software to give you content that is purely awful spam if anyone ever has the misfortune to read it.
Small Sites Don’t Get Caught Out
A bit like the tax office, people still believe that if you are a small site then you are not going to get punished, which in my experience is pretty much the opposite of the truth. No matter how small the site is, how many visitors you get or how much Adsense you make from it, if you are online and playing dodgy games then you have as much chance of getting caught than anyone else, and quite often if you take some of the latest big examples of penalties (InterFlora and RapGenuis anyone?), it will take you longer to recover than many of the big boys. Whilst the biggest penalties are usually manual and therefore do require human intervention by Google, many of the penalties that hit home on a more frequent basis are algorithmic, which means this is down to a computer which will not care who it targets and hits, because it knows no different.
If you’re online and dabbling in naughty SEO, then you have a chance of getting caught, there is no doubt about that. Just because you don’t come in the top 100 online sites makes no difference, which means that you cannot rest on the “I am too small for Google to care” pillow, as they do care, and they will hit you, no matter how big, medium or small you are.