The most popular SEO misconceptions are myths related with link building that emerged over the years due to the rapid growth of the SEO industry. Google’s attempt to destroy link networks has changed the way SEO’s approach site promotion which gives more importance to social media marketing and less importance to traditional link building.
From my experience and after talking with other bloggers and webmasters I came up with these 7 misconceptions that are worth knowing.
1. You should not link your own websites together
Linking your websites together is bad because Google may consider them as a link network.
This is a misconception that is going around for a number of years making website owners believe that they cannot link their own websites together. In a recent video (April, 2013) Matt Cutts explained that there is nothing wrong with linking your websites together provided that they are related and that they are less than five. So, if you own less than 5 websites and linking them together offers value to the reader, you can go ahead and link them without taking any risks.
2. Internal links can put you into trouble
When you use internal links with keyword anchor text, you run the risk of getting a penalty by Google.
I have read in various websites that keyword rich internal links are ‘dangerous’ and should be avoided. This is not only a misconception but it is also bad advice since internal links are good for SEO. In summary, internal links are useful because:
- They help search engines discover more pages from your website
- They help users find out more about a certain topic
- They help search engines identify the most important pages in your website (they have the greatest number of internal links)
- They increase the time users spend on a site as well as the number of pages per visit
Some best practices for internal linking:
- Use no more than 7-8 internal links per page
- If you cannot place the link naturally in the text you can use the full article title and add something like this in your copy: “for more details about SEO read my previous article: 10 SEO tips for startups”)
- Do not always link to the same page or pages but try to vary your linking
- A great way to use internal linking is to add a ‘Related posts’ section below each article/product with links to 4-5 related pages/products.
More information on the Video below:
3. The only way to increase your rankings is through link building
Link building is the only way you can use to increase your website’s ranking in the SERPS
This is another SEO misconception that almost destroyed the whole SEO industry. SEO is not about building links and it never was! Unfortunately for the sake of quick profit various companies started selling link packages and they tricked a number of people to believe that SEO is about building thousands of artificial links in order to increase rankings.
In fact link building of this kind can lead to penalties and websites losing their ranking over night after the release of Panda and Penguin.
If link building is not the proper way to increase rankings, how can I promote my website?
There are many ways to promote a website without building links. Consider the following examples:
- How to get more than 100,000 visits from Google
- 10 free ways to get more visitors to your website
- How to increase website traffic
4. Guest posting is a valid way to get links
Guest posting is a legitimate way to build links pointing to your website
Another misconception that is gaining ground after Panda and Penguin is about the role of guest posting as a valid way to build incoming links. The truth is that when guest posting is done correctly it is a great way to build website trust but over abusing it can lead to penalties.
It should be understood that if a link is not naturally placed by a webmaster then it is not valid whatever the name you want to give it. Google’s view about building links for the purpose of manipulating their algorithm is clear and violations of any kind are punished (or will be punished) in one of their algorithmic updates.
5. Google uses the same ranking algorithm with Bing and Yahoo
My website ranks high in Google so it must rank good in Yahoo and Bing as well
I sometimes hear people argue: “My website is on the first page of Bing and Yahoo but nowhere in Google. I will send a message to Google to complain”. What should be made clear is that the ranking algorithm of Google is different than that used by Bing (Yahoo uses the same algorithm as Bing).
Google has a more sophisticated set of rules that is constantly changing while Bing follows a different pattern. Good SEO practices are applicable for both search engines but from my experience a website can rank higher in Bing when:
- Domain is old (more than 1-2 years)
- Tweets and Facebook likes are important
- A lot of keyword anchor text links – While Google with Panda and Penguin started penalizing websites with a large number of keyword anchor links, this tactic seems to work well in Bing.
6. Off page SEO is more important than on Page SEO
Promoting a website is more important than the content on the website and on-page SEO
Off page SEO is what happens outside the boundaries of a website (for example link building, guest posting, social media marketing etc) while on Page SEO are settings you can apply on the website for better usability and visibility.
The misconception here is the believe that off page SEO is more important for ranking purposes than on page SEO. The truth is that both aspects are necessary but on site SEO is a must for optimum results.
When you start an SEO campaign your primary concern is to ensure that on-page SEO is done correctly so one of your first steps is to do an SEO Audit to ensure that any important issues regarding on page SEO are recognized and fixed.
7. High competition keywords can bring in more organic traffic
If you want to get organic traffic you have to chase high competition keywords
When you use the Google keyword tool to make your keyword research, it is normal to select keywords that have high traffic thinking that this way you will gain more visits to your website. This is a misconception because high traffic keywords are also high competition keywords that are very difficult to rank. The end result will be zero traffic and disappointment.
What you should do instead is target low competition, long trail keywords which are relatively easier to rank and once you have top positions for a number of low competition keywords, you can go after medium and high competition keywords that will also bring in more traffic.
There are many SEO misconceptions circulating the web mainly because of the confusion caused by the various Google updates. SEO rules change all the time and if you are not following the recent developments you may end up in confusion.
The best way to minimize your risk from Google updates and to stay unaffected from any SEO misconceptions or changes it to create a high quality website with attention to design and user experience. If you can manage to offer a unique experience to your users with good quality content then success is inevitable with or without SEO.