35 SEO Mistakes & Myths You Should Avoid
SEO mistakes and myths have become a rising trend with all the pseudo-intellectuals of the internet marketing era . This post is not only intended to let you evaluate if you are commiting those SEO crimes but also as a heads up to those ‘experts’ who have been following their grandma obediently . Well then this post might turn out to be an ugly realization to them, for the rest of you who have been enjoying my posts regularly, have fun as always !
SEO Is Free
This is the biggest misconception people carry. It may seem free if you neglect the time liability! A major part of SEO is taken by keyword research and link building, in fact far more time than actually making the post and publishing it! So if you think that ‘time is money’, is a false implication, then yes, SEO is free (but are you sure your SEO guy feels the same way? I don’t know…)
SEO Is A One Time Magic Wand
I get a lot of questions from people asking me to ‘tell’ them what SEO tips are and how to do ‘SEO’ for their blog. Well, first of all , SEO is no black magic, so we cannot ‘perform’ something on a blog called SEO and get magical traffic. SEO gives best fruits when done as a habit . A habit of using keywords in the major places , a habit of marketing it properly and a habit of having PATIENCE ! It is not a product, it is, in fact an ongoing process .
Alexa Rank will influence your SERPs
Alexa is a separate web entity established with no affiliation to google what so ever. In fact we can call them competitors in the real sense in global statistic counting and web metrics. Why would a big entity follow its competitions metrics? On a different note, traffic comes first, then there is an improvement in Alexa, not the other way round and your search engine rankings have nothing to do with your alexa score.
Subscribe to Google RSS for SEO Secrets
You would not believe the number of RSS subscribers Google has, presuming we are counting only the ones who are waiting there in a hope that some day Google will magically reveal its algorithm which they can catch and become SEO masters. Well bad news for them! That is not going to happen !
- Official Google blog or Matt Cutt’s blog for that matter, like any other blog, is written for the sake of sharing insights by the authors.
- Those are not exactly SEO blueprints that will get you oodles of traffic in any way .
- So if you are still waiting for that magical post when Google tells you their ranking secrets and algorithm, I won’t stop you , just please let me know when that happens…
Google Is The Only Search Engine
- Google may be a good search engine, in fact the best! but in no way is it the only one! and neither is it the only source of traffic to any blog.
- Don’t make your blog marketing, ‘Google centric’ .
- Because they keep changing their algorithm and someday even your marketing methods might be tagged with a red flag like the recent panda update and you may lose a major source of traffic .
- Make your marketing and traffic generation well distributed and that will make you less dependent on the search engines and save you from their frequent algorithm ‘improvements’ .
SEO Firms Are SEO Experts & Results Are Guaranteed
There are a lot of new firms out there which claim to be ‘BIG’ SEO companies, not to mention they are themselves struggling to reach even the 100 k alexa mark and to get a non-zero PR and are struggling to rank for their own keywords. They may even resort to PPC and paid links to get an instant boost but that is their trade secret which I must not reveal …OPSS !
Choose your reference wisely, is the source imparting research based content? Do they have their own results and flowcharts to flaunt from their own experiments with various viral blog marketing strategies? Then they might be worth spending time on .
SERPs Is Permanent
If you think that your url will stay on the current SERPs forever then think again ! There are 14 billion sites on the internet and all of them are struggling to take the podium that you are resting on now. So , if you are feeling lazy about building those extra links then , be ready for a rude shock in the SERPs .
Keyword Stuffing Is Onpage SEO
I think many people are following the 4 % keyword density rule after knowing that Google made keyword stuffing blackhat ! It is not that simple . Search engines aer advanced creatures and there are many ways in which the relevancy of the page is determined and this 4% rule will not make your page Onpage seo loaded in any way, if you neglect the other obvious relevancy signs.
More Links Means Better SEO
Unfortunately a variant of the above myth is true, but not the exact phrase! SEO is still , and will always be a numbers game BUT more number of authentic links will get you the ranking you deserve and not just a lot of random links.
Every link-back is a back-link
Good tongue twister but this the biggest reason why people lose out on PR and SERPs both and remain clueless forever ! Just getting a link from a guest post , or an article directory or any other good PR source is not enough . Google needs to index those links for them to be counted as backlinks . The next myth will make it clear .
Backlinks Don’t Need backlinks
Getting a link from a high PR source is not good enough , you need to build backlinks for your backlinks for it to get indexed and this will also pass on good PR juice and natural trust link profile to your backlinking efforts . Its no use getting a backlink if it is not being of any advantage to you is it ? But ironically common sense will always be uncommon ….
A premium theme/plugin Will Make Your Onpage SEO Skyrocket
- This is the biggest scam of the internet era ! While a good framework will make your pages SEO friendly but that is no magic !
- Search engines work on a concept called LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) which helps them ‘decide’ what a page is about at the time of indexing .
- It is upto you , how you feed the BOT when it arrives to index your content .
- A good framework will save your time by doing the basic things itself but that is not the Alfa and Omega of SEO .
- If you can feed proper html to the bot when it indexes your content then you can outrank any framework or CMS for that matter .
- The only people who will disagree with this will be the salesmen (as I call them) who make a living out of affiliate sales from these resources .
More Money Spent Means Better SEO
More money spent does not necessarily mean good service ! There are a lot of the above mentioned ‘BIG’ SEO firms who are feeding their families from ripped off and not to mention ,unsatisfied clients ! Choose your firm wisely !
Make 1000 longtail, short (crap) posts and you will lead the market
I see that smirk on your face ! You are thinking of your competitor who is getting 100 times more traffic than you by making many short posts isnt he ? Well here is some good news , these type of posts may get traffic but these are people who are ‘fooled’ into believing that the search result is a credible source just because Google has listed it as a search result !
So even if they get thousands of visits from such tactics , how many of them , do you think will actually take action ? Like becoming a fan on social networking sites and signing up for email lists and making affiliate purchases ?What use is the traffic if it is, well…..useless ! That helps in no way for someone of that kind of reputation to become an authority and no one buys anything , not even an idea , leave aside affiliate sales !
That reflects in their bounce rate ! So dont worry about your competitor getting more traffic , if the recent panda update does not deter them then their monthly dues will !
This is the biggest myth doing the rounds ! Please someone show me a legitimate source claiming that the sandbox exists! Yes , google does remove sites from their index if they are caught for blackhat but that is not the sandbox penalty. It is just a normal cleanup drive for pages that were wrongly indexed and ranked due to their 2009 caffeine update! So those pages did not deserve the postiton that is why they are removed . So the page did not deserve to be there in the first place , so nothing to be sad about ! Sandbox was dropped in the year 2005 itself.
What SEO Plan worked for your Friend will work for you
There is a good reason why you dont use your neighbours clothes ! I see people borrowing SEO strategy blueprints from their ‘friends’ and make an obvious mess out of themselves !
- Every site has different requirements and must have a tailor made SEO action plan or blueprint and one size does not fit all !
- What keyword rank a person reached with 100 links would even be possible for your keyword for just 10 links or it may even need 500 !
- Always have a good tailor made SEO action plan by knowing your competition and target audience otherwise you will become , what the blogosphere calls ‘just another blog’ !
PR Indicates SERP’s
- PR has got nothing to do with how well your post ranks !
- PR will at the most increase your crawl rate and reduce index time.
- Your SERP rankings depends on relevancy and 200 other metrics.
You Can Force Feed Meta data To The Google Bot
While there is a Meta Data field in your theme or CMS does not mean the bot will pick up that exact version that you feed it .
- Based on LSI , it will pick up the most relevant keywords and phrases and use it as a description in the search results.
- So if you are trying to trick search engines into believing that they must rank you for that shiny keyword with oodles of monthly traffic while your post is hardly anything to be called content then its of no use .
Getting A Link from A Spammy site is the end of your blogging career!
This is the worst one someone can pull on you ! There are even two sides to the debate . There are people who argue that getting a backlink from a bad neighbour will get you a penalty and then there are people who argue that – If that was true then , your competition would make many crappy sites and link to you and get you penalized , so it has to be wrong !
Well , both of them are particlly correct !
- The thumb rule is , if you have a bunch of good authorative links and then some one does blackhat spam on you then it wont affect you since Google already made it clear that they understand that a web master can’t control who links to them .
- BUT if you have yourself engaged in getting bad links and your competitor adds more links to it then you are in big trouble .
- In all normal cases , if you have a bunch of good backlinks then you are virtually imune from these attacks .
Linking to good neighbors increases authority!
- There is no direct relation to this hypothesis that linking to a high PR site will benefit your SERP in any way .
- It may give an additional resource for your readers to relish and it may get you noticed by the site owner and link back to you in his future posts ,but its a matter of luck and chance not SEO .
Internal Linking Is Always Good
Half knowledge is harmful and same applies to SEO . While Google has been very vocal about internal links with relavant anchor texts will help you rank higher , how people misinterpret it is by linking all posts to all posts ! That is like competing with themselves .
If you feel that a post is really related to the topic that you are writing then only link to it and that will increase your relavancy score for both the posts . If you tend to force yourself to link all posts to all posts then it is a PR drain to all your posts and none of them will rank in a bid to compete with each other !
Getting Nofollow links Is Useless
It may not directly affect your SERPs and PR as much as a dofollow link of the same PR does but even nofollow links from high trust sources will give you a higher trust rank to your domain and can also result in referral traffic if placed wisely . So dont undermine the nofollow tag !
Adding nofollow to external links will save your PR drain
Google has changed the way they treat the nofollow tag and while they may not pass link juice to a nofollow link but they will still drain it from your link . So its a loss even if you make it nofollow . This goes with googles logic – If its not worth linking to then why link to it even with a nofollow ? and it is right ! So choose your links wisely.This is how the new Nofollow behaves
As you can see , that even if the nofollow tag is added to the first three links , the PR is still drained but not credited to the destination site .
SEO Is A ‘don’t try this at home’ act
You will see a lot of posts that try to scare you by using all sorts of srace tactics about how an SEO campaign gone wrong can drown your business and why you should hire them to make sure they ‘professionally’ lift your business to the stars! Scam! SEO is no rocket science and you can make your blog or site SEO friendly by following a few steps from good blog sources on your own, and by using them in your daily blogging journey .
Content Is The Only King
Yes this is the most ruminated cliche in the blogosphere yet very few of them follow it ! Anyway, that is not our point .
- Assuming that you have churned out excellent content , is that enough to get you where you want to be ? Absolutely NOT ! Without proper marketing , even a good post can be buried in your archive .
- So have a good blog marketing plan ready to make sure your post gets the love that it really deserves .
Slow and Steady Wins The Race
This phrase is partially true and was the golden rule in grandmas era for a simple reason – there were less sites and negligible competition as compared to the current scenario . Good content and viral promotions and link baits occassionally need the ‘viral snowball’ effect to give you that extra push and that takes the extra effort that grandma did not have to take in her days !
Panda Update will hurt your incoming link juice from youe WEB 2 pages
It will infact benefit you ! This might sound spiritual but bear with me – all traffic on the internet remains constant and it only keeps flowing from one site to other !
- So if a big player loses ranks and traffic does not mean that you having a smaller blog which is going in the drain for sure , your squidoo lens marketing will still aid you !
- On the contrary , their loss is your gain and I will explain how to bank in on the traffic that the content farms have lost in my next post .
- You might want to subscribe to our RSS feeds to stay tuned .
Paid Links Will Always Hurt SEO
They will ….if they look paid! What does that mean ?
Say you have purchased a link from a site for a month’s payment. Then for some reason, you don’t pay the site and they remove your link, then it looks like obvious paid link to the search engines. So, always try to get thematic editorial links (hint: write guest posts) which are permanent, rather than buying blogroll links .
Blog Commenting Is Link Building
This trend started late with the ‘I am a proud dofollow blog’ revolution , and people ended up writing literally thousands of posts on how to hit gold using comment links and all sort of crap ! Instead of clarifying my point here I would like to ask a simple question – Have you heard about Search Engines indexing feature called “Random Surfer Model” ? If not then here it is – According to this algorithm , a link is valued more based on the position on the page it comes from .
While this is not how they directly put it , they wanted to evaluate how a real user behaves and clicks on another link on the page to land on another page . So , they used a combination of two algorithms namely the RSM and the intentional surfer model . Which made them value a link like a real human would prefer to visit it . Like an higher placed editoral link is always good value than that of a permanent site wide footer link which is easy to trace and rarely gets any human love !
Now imagine where your link building stands when the actual link that you are getting comes from a page with lots of links already and placed so low on the page ? Assuming that the page even has a PR of 10 for your convenience , and there are 50 comments on the post, do the simple math , 10/50 . Bad decimal right ? Now to break your sugar dream , we had just assumed that the site will be PR 10 and there will be limited comments (50) which is unfortunately too good to be true . Some food for thought there ?
If you dont submit a sitemap to Google then your site will never show up in the Search results
Google bots are the most advanced thing that happened to the internet and believe me more so because of Google’s 2009 Caffeine update ! They want to index your content and not penalize you for not having submitted a sitemap . That helps for sites with higher number of categories and does help in increasing crawl rate but fortunately the reverse is not true . If there are incoming links to your page then it will be crawled and indexed .
PPC Ads Will Affect Your SERPs
There are again two sides to the debate , there are people who think buying adspace will increase their SERPs and others think the exact opposite ! Well , both of them are not correct in this case . Because the organic search results are never affected by what PPC a blog uses .
Frequent updates means better SERPs and PR
Not at all ! atleast not directly !
- Yes you will get more traffic from the logic that since you have move posts indexed there are more chances of getting SE traffic but apart from that there is no direct correlation to post frequency and rankings .
- That would be true only from a crawl rate point of view .
High crawl rate means good SERPs
Again , crawl rate and index time does not have anything to do with your ranking . Usability and relavancy are one of the top most things that must concern you , leave the crawling to the bots.
Good SERP Means Good Traffic Always
- Depends on what you rank for and the search trends in that time phrase .
- If you are a leader in SERPs for a non competitive term then that means no gold mine !
- If your SEO strategist claims to have ranked you for a long tail keyword then please give him a piece of your mind.
Valid XHTML Helps In SERP
This a popular misconception raised by theme developers and the least harmful of the lot , so I have listed it as the last one of grandmas stories . Because valid xhtml has nothing to do with SEO directly other than a sense of satisfaction that your theme has a valid code !
Are you committing any of these mistakes ? are you a victim of any of the above mentioned myth ? Please let me know and if you think your friends are committing any of these then also let them know !