Search engine algorithms have become very advanced these days. From the times of keywords, meta tags and links they have come to social signals, domain authority and branding. But still many of the people in the industry remain so much uneducated when it comes to SEO that it leads to a myth being born everyday. As they say “A little knowledge is dangerous”, this seems to be the case with all the SEO myths around.
It is very unfortunate that so many people still believe in these myths and preach it to the others. So what are these myths lets have a look.
1. High PageRank helps in rankings
PageRank(PR) still holds a very strong myth around itself. Most of the people are more concerned about their PR instead of their rankings. The most common belief about PR is that a site having higher PR will rank better than sites having lesser PR. But that is not true, PR is all about getting links from pages (see the definition of PR), but the ranking algorithm is much more complex than that. Google has more than 200 ranking signals that it uses to rank pages. PR is still a ranking signal but its not the only one, there are plenty more important things to worry about instead of just PR. You can check it yourself using the SEO for Firfox tool.
2. .GOV and .EDU links carry more weight
The fact that most of the .gov and .edu sites are of very high quality and have a high PR associated with them, most of the people think that link from these domains carry a lot of weight in the search engine’s ranking algorithms. .EDU and .GOV are just another type of domain extension nothing more. This is what Matt Cutts had to say about this.
Some people ask about links from DMOZ, links from .edu or links from .gov, and they say: “Isn’t there some sort of boost? Isn’t a link better if it comes from a .edu?” The short answer is: no, it is not. It is just .edu links tend to have higher PageRank, because more people link to .edu’s or .gov’s.” (source Matt Cutts interview with Stephen Spencer)
If you can manage to get links from authority educational and governmental sites that is good for you, but they are not the only authority links you can get. There are plenty more authority sites within your niche itself.
3. Anchor text is the only ranking signal within links
Search engines are getting smarter with time and as they have come too far from keyword density and meta tags, you can not rely on the anchor text solely. I am not denying the fact that anchor text still carry weight but the things are changing very fast. Anchor text are no longer the only factor that the search engines are considering while crawling links. Bill Slawsky was awesome enough to discuss How a search engine might weigh the relevance of anchor text differently with search engine patents.
4. Meta tags help in rankings
If its except for the title tag all the other meta tags such as keywords and description are NOT important factors for rankings. Its been years since they have been dead in the eyes of the search engines. If you are still putting your efforts in optimizing these tags you are certainly wasting your time. Google made an announcement regarding this on its official webmaster central blog.
5. Linking out to authority domains can boost your rankings
If this was to be true it would have been much easier to rank by simply linking out to domains like Google, Yahoo, Amazon etc. Linking out to related and quality websites improves your user experience and trust.
Having said that it does not mean that you should not link out to authority domains. You should. Its a good practice to link to related sites and pages from your website if it serves value to your visitors. It not only increases the level of trust for your website in the eyes of your users but also the search engines if you strictly stick to relevancy while linking out. So it can be beneficial.
But do not expect to get any advantage for linking out to authority domains which serves no purpose for your website/page.
6. Keyword density is an important part of SEO
I am so sick of hearing this. Unless you are targeting a keyword that literally has no competition and yours is the only page targeting that keyword, otherwise it is not at all important.
I am so much surprised to see that how many people still believe in keyword density and practice this, considering it to be the most important factor for rankings. Check out what the well known SEO experts say about keyword density
7. Forum posting and blog commenting are the best ways of building back links
This is what I hear the most of the times on many of the forums around. Most of the people are so lazy that they can not put their effort into trying something other than this. All these people hate to agree to the fact that links from blogs and forums have been so much abused by the spammers that they have lost their value. How can a link from a page benefit you if its linking out to 100 other pages from the same page. I am absolutely not against blog commenting for links but I certainly can guarantee you that they are not the best around.
8. Linking out to too many sites can negatively affect your rankings
Linking out to sites doesn’t affect you in anyway, not positively not negatively. Unless you are linking to spamy or too many low quality sites you need not to worry about this. The more number of sites you link to the lesser link juice these sites get from you. But this does not affect your sites rankings. Read what Rand Fishkin has to say link juice flow.
9. Link Exchanging is the best way to go for building links
Search engines have always been against any kind of link partnership that isn’t natural and tries to manipulate their algorithms. Whether it be a two-way link exchange or a three-way link exchange these patterns are very easy to observe. And not only search engines have diminished the value of these links but they also penalize the sites involved in these practices once discovered. Matt Cutts announced death of cheesy link exchange a lot ago on his blog. So it is advised to keep away from all kinds of link networks.
10. Putting No-Follow on all the outgoing links will increase my rankings
If this would have been true nobody would have been giving out do-follow links to other sites. If you are mentioning a site on some page of your site that means that adds value to your site, so its a good practice to allow do-follow links on outgoing links that you trust. But I can assure you that adding no-follow on outgoing links won’t help you in anyway. Here’s what Matt Cutts had to say about this on his Google Plus profile.
Okay that was it. Now its up to you to spread the truth around. One advice I want you take from here is that, whenever you come around something you doubt about its better you do some research before you consider it to be true for the rest of your life.
I have tried my best to cover the most popular myths in the industry. If you have any suggestions or anything to add, let me know in the comments.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Akash Kumar is an aspiring blogger and writer. He now blogs at iSEOforGoogle a Google SEO Blog - providing tips and techniques on SEO and other Internet marketing aspects. You can follow him on Twitter @iSEOforGoogle