On certain topics of SEO you’ll find that opinions will vary from professional to professional concerning various optimization practices and their overall affect on your SEO campaign.
As a professional SEO consultant I’m privileged to see various methods and their end-results on a daily bases. Here are a few misguided explanations about SEO practices that I’d like to debunk.
Bad Links Can Hurt Rankings.
This is one of those misguided SEO suggestions that put the market in a major tailspin. It’s true, a bad link might hurt your rankings but it doesn’t happen often. You can’t control who links to you and Google knows this! Anyone who saw a major hit during the infamous Google updates where often involved in bad link building practices.
Bad links are better understood in it their plural form, as “links”. More often than not, penalties associated with bad links are a result of bad link building strategies and poorly run campaigns.
For example; if you buy a link building package from a company that is selling the same link package to multiple websites. When search engines like Google see the same links coming from the same websites in the same pattern, over, and over, and over again, it becomes clear that your trying to manipulate the system. Any link is a good link – as long as it is organic in nature.
A/B Testing Equals Poor Rankings!
Used by many websites to compare two different versions of a website, some have suggested that A/B testing can hurt rankings. Although the risk of duplicate content is real, there is no evidence that rankings have been penalized due to testing. If anything, increasing click through rates, time on-site and page views will improve your search results in the end.
Don’t Buy Backlinks!
Eh, what? I’m not allowed to advertise?
The main reason for buying backlinks or banner ads should be to increase your traffic, your reach and put your product/service in front of your target market. If you are buying links to increase your ranking then your page stands a chance of being penalized but acquiring links from legitimate, niche sites is encouraged and necessary to grow your business.
Matt Cutts himself has said that Google takes into consideration your “intent”. What is the purpose of acquiring the link? Don’t go out and snatch up 100 backlinks because you’re “advertising”, promote your website naturally, and the pay off will come.
Note: Consider using the nofollow attributes on your links for added protection.
Keep The Good Stuff For Yourself.
If you want increased traffic from a good article the smart choice is to place it where it can be seen. When published with an authoritative site your article gets noticed and any inbound link pointing back to your site will add value and increased traffic from the source.
Quality Trumps Quantity.
Often we’re told that before we even consider increasing the content on your website that we should make sure that it will be useful information to someone. Well, you should be doing this instinctively but it’s important to remember that quality does not beat out quantity “every time”. For example … if two people write AWESOME articles on the subject of Barn Door Installation who’s article do you think is going to rank higher … a 2,000 word article or a 200 word article? See.
Yes, the goal should be for your readers to like and share the information you publish but making it as long as possible helps.
Phew. That felt good.