SEO Myths Debunked by Google – 2010
We all know that Google keep their full ranking recipe a secret as well guarded as Heinz Ketchup, Coca Cola & Southern Comfort –however, over time google has confirmed some of the ingredients – usually after SEO community has published documented evidence. I have written this in June 15th 2010 & the information here is as valid as the supporting information available at the time. A lot of this is common knowledge but I found a few small surprises!
25 SEO Myths Debunked by Google
SEO Myth 1 - Google uses information from analytics in its ranking factors
False – Google deny this, there are some who won’t believe it – but Google will have a major PR disaster if this was later proved to be true.
SEO Myth 2 - If you build too many links you will be penalized
False – say Google – maybe so but can you think of any other way of ending up in the G-Police audit list?
SEO Myth 3 - You need to submit your site to google to be found
False – Google say that websites will be found if quality established sites link to it & say that its un-necessary to use ‘add URL’.
SEO Myth 4 - Google uses the meta keywords tag
False – Google clarified this is not in their algorithm at all – this has been long dead through abuse.
SEO Myth 5 – Meta description is irrelevant
False – Google have also clearly stated that it’s used more now than 8 years ago http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtSzi2MUegs hence a lot of confusion in the SEO community reference to ‘description’.
SEO Myth 6 - Duplicate pages or similar pages on site will be penalized
False – whilst Google advises to avoid dupes & they say that the algorithm will figure out any dupes & merge info, hence only one page of 2 is shown – which is why many assume it’s a penalty.
SEO Myth 7– it’s necessary to use meta robots & robots.txt
False – Google advised to use this if you don’t want the content crawled & indexed
SEO Myth 8 - it doesn’t matter where the website is hosted
False – Google have clearly specified that they use IP geo-location & the sites IP is a ranking factor – hence if your site is targeting UK – make sure it’s hosted in the UK.
SEO Myth 9 – It doesn’t matter what the website name is
False – Google are quite specific about this – domains with the keyword you wish to rank for do make a difference & so does the using the correct Geo suffix TLD.
SEO Myth 10 – Flash sites don’t rank well
False – Google has confirmed that they are getting more efficient at crawling Flash. Google have also commented that full flash sites may make linking to the content difficult. Here is an example of a flash site I have optimised for martial arts Cheltenham & kung fu Cheltenham.
SEO Myth 12– Google will penalise sites that sell links
False – say Google – you can sell links but must use a rel=nofollow attribute so the link doesn’t flow pagerank .
SEO Myth 13 – I will be penalised if I sell ads
False – Google say they have no issue with any major ad networks. I guess we have to remember that Google sell ads and doing anything other than this could be considered as running a monopoly.
SEO Myth 14 – Google penalises a site for over optimisation
False Google say that they don’t penalise sites that are over optimised however advise that sites like that may not be appealing to the viewer.
SEO Myth 15 – Code Quality will affect my SERP
Nope – Google say it’s perfectly OK to leave out paragraph tags & forget to close certain tags, leaving out optional tags is in fact recommended for speed.
SEO Myth 16 – Google algorithm changes all the time so SEO is pointless
False – Google admit that there are 200 or so factors that affect SERPs and every year 20 or so are tweaked but most changes are minor.
SEO Myth 17 HTML/XML Sitemap helps increase ranking
False – According to google whilst it’s useful it has no impact on SERPs, but may help to list pages that are currently unlisted.
SEO Myth 18 Changing webhost will affect my google rank
False – Google advises to set the ‘dns time to live’ to 5 minutes when switching.
SEO Myth 19 .edu & .gov links will rocket our ranking
False – Whilst Google say that links from high PR pages (that do follow) are more beneficial – Google algorithm makes no differentiation as to who they are from
SEO Myth 20 – Links are unimportant (As one famous SEO course suggests)
False – Google confirm importance of links but play down how important this actually is by the usual smoke screen of other SEO factors.
SEO Myth 21 - Pagerank is unimportant
False – Google have confirmed that its one of the more important factors. Pagerank is also used in computation of link juice passed to your website from incoming links.
SEO Myth 22- Keyword density is important
False – Whilst google confirmed that keywords on page are a factor they confirmed that specific density is not a factor.
SEO Myth 23 – There is no restrictions site size when launching
False - Google admitted that launching sites with millions of pages is not a good idea and hinted that whilst thousands not an issue – large sites need to launch softly to avoid scrutiny.
SEO Myth 24 – Hosting Multiple Sites on the same Server/IP Range will affect SERPs
False – Google say that many webmasters host multiple sites on one server/IP Range – they have no problem with that.
SEO Myth 25 – Directory Architecture & page names are unimportant
False – Google admit these are ranking factors used in the algorithm however state these are not primary factors.
I would like to sign off with something not clarified by google but it would be nice if it was:
The old SEO Chestnut Myth: SEO is an ongoing process – True or false?
I hear this one a lot in conferences & seminars & it seemed very plausible when I first started in SEO but now with experience it kind of winds me up when I hear it.
Of course in contended markets we need to tweak/link build, check analytics for new keyword trends & build topic relevant landing pages in order to keep our clients positioned high in SERPS - so true then? I say the statement is at best false & at worst deceptive!.... - let me explain ...
By far the largest number of SEO clients are small businesses resident in small towns/districts, with little competition & usually little web traffic - let’s just say there are a 2 bakers, 2 estate agents & 2 double gazing firms in Abergavenny (small Welsh Town) – I say it’s easy to rank such customers for no1/no2 spots in Google with little more than a few links and some on page factors & these listings will remain there for years without new competition.
The statement therefore should be: ‘SEO is an ongoing process for any keyword niche where competition is strong & there is enough of it to keep pushing your rank downwards’.
I tell my small business clients: ‘we’ll rank you first then we’ll keep an eye on your SERP positions - if your rank doesn’t move in the short term then we don’t need to worry - if it does well come up with a strategy to deal with it’. Taking money from small business for SEO work on monthly/annual basis for work which simply isn’t necessary is as deceptive as the statement.
Your comments welcome
A bit about me I’m Chris G. an SEO consultant on the international SEO Services team for artviper.net. I have helped Artviper achieve P1 ranks for ‘website design münchen’, ‘webdesign münchen’ in google.de, ‘professional website design’ in Google.com.
Please go to the full version/ more current version of SEO Myths Debunked to post these. I’m interested in any myths that you have been debunked that are not on the list and any references you have to support the claim.