7 Modern Age SEO Myths

One of the challenges that the world of SEO presents us with is its lack of clarity. The search engines obscure their algorithms, and as a result, SEO is really a best practices game. You can learn more about what works best by constantly testing ideas on your site, but ultimately your overall SEO strategy will be part art and part science.

Layer on top of that the fact that the search engines continuously tune their algorithms, and the result is an unstable landscape. Worse still, there is tons of misinformation published, often as the result of the ignorance of the author. Some SEO myths have been with us forever, but today I plan to focus on the newer myths that have been emerged only in the past few years.

7 New SEO Myths

1. All Guest Posting is Bad: This myth is the newest of them all, and it was spawned by Matt Cutts blog post of January 20th, 2014 called: The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO. In this post Cutts details the many ways that people have abused the concept of pursuing guest posts to obtain links to your site. In fact, he goes so far as to say: “stick a fork in it”.

However, it is foolish to translate this into the notion that all guest posting is inherently evil or bad. The article you are reading right now is effectively a guest post. However, I don’t publish articles here to obtain links for SEO, I do it because I value the Forbes audience, and because of the reputation and visibility benefits it brings.

If you are pursuing guest posting make reputation and visibility your primary goals, and you should be just fine. Might there be some SEO benefit? Possibly, but you will make poor choices if SEO is your main goal. Let any SEO impact be a side effect rather than the primary goal and you will be far better off.

2. Social Media Signals Drive SEO: This one has been popular for the past few years, and you will see articles that argue that social media is the new SEO. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are many reasons for engaging in social media, and your business almost certainly should have a social media strategy, but don’t do it because you think it will drive your rankings in the search engines. For some backup of this, you can reference these two articles:

  1. Google’s Matt Cutts: Are pages from social sites ranked differently?
  2. The Totally Mathematical Reason Social Matters to SEO

Pursue social media as a way to build your own visibility online. Find out what social media sites have your target audience on them and develop presences on them as a way of connecting with them. Google has repeatedly denied any use of social signals as a ranking factor (other than personalized search using Google Plus) and Bing has abandoned even the personalization aspects of social signals and has instead decided to show social media information in their right sidebar.

Bing's Social Sidebar

3. Link Signals Are On Their Way Out: There are many who believe that link based signals are no longer a good ranking signal, and that Google must find an alternative. The Russian search engine Yandex recently abandoned links as a signals, and that only adds fuel to that fire.

The fact is that inbound links to a web site remains a very strong ranking signal, and it will remain that way for some time to come. The search engines won’t move away from using links as a ranking signal until the have a better signal source, and they don’t have that yet. In fact, Google’s Matt Cutts recently confirmed that they have tested a version of Google that does not use links as a ranking factor, and they abandoned it.

4. Google’s Search Results Are Broken: Another popular myth is the notion that Google has a severe problem with their search engine, but nothing could be further from the truth. Here in the US their market share remains quite steady at 67.6% (source: comScore, January 2014 data), and internationally in most countries the Google market share is 80% or higher. Google’s search business does not currently face a major threat.

5. AuthorRank is a Ranking Signal: In June 2011 Google announced Authorship Markup. This new initiative involved a method for tying content you publish to your Google profile page, which in turn provides Google better methods for tracking what you publish online.

This rapidly led to speculation that Google would track the authors who were the most authoritative and reward them with higher rankings. Google unwittingly fueled this speculation with their own statements. The most famous of these was the following statement from Eric Schmidt:

Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.

However, little evidence has emerged that there is much happening with that as yet. The only exception is that Google’s Cutts verified that they use an AuthorRank like concept as part of their In-Depth Article feature:

Matt Cutts Tweet on AuthorRank

An example of that can be seen here:

Article source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericenge/2014/04/15/7-modern-age-seo-myths/

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