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Busting the top 15 SEO myths of 2014

James A. Martin | July 17, 2014
It's tough to tell what's real and what's myth today when it comes to SEO best practices. So we asked the SEO community to bring us up to date on the current state of link building, content marketing, social media and more.

Google's head of webspam, Matt Cutts, famously denounced guest blogging for SEO purposes in January. Cutts' blog post led many to assume that guest blogging of any type could place you in Google's crosshairs.

"Guest blog posting got nailed by Google because many websites, called spam blogs, were created to manipulate the search rankings," says Dan Stelter, an independent SEO consultant. "They had very low-quality content, and SEOs blogged on them with the sole intent of gaining a link. Others have done similar things, so if Google finds hundreds of links acquired through guest blogs, they'll probably penalize you."

"Today, you should blog with the sole intent of building authority in the eyes of your target market. And you do that by getting exposure on high-profile websites," Stelter says.

Myth 9: No Follow Links Have No Value

Backlinks marked as "rel=nofollow" don't provide the same kind of value that regular "follow" links do, because nofollow links don't pass PageRank. Nonetheless, nofollow links are "still extremely important for businesses," according to Blue Fountain Media's Paley.

"Studies have shown nofollow links have some value in search engine algorithm rankings, and they act as an important part of what Google sees as a 'natural' backlink profile," Paley says. "Not having any nofollow links in a backlink profile is sure to raise a red flag with Google, as it makes your website look as if it is only actively building links instead of naturally getting them as well. Furthermore, just because a link is marked nofollow doesn't mean it won't generate traffic and leads for your business."

Myth 10: Mobile Search is the Same as Desktop Search

Some people believe desktop and mobile search are essentially the same thing, but according to Paul Holman-Kursky, director of content marketing, Extole, that's not the case. "Even though Google dominates browser-based search on mobile devices, apps are growing more dominant in the mobile landscape," he says.

Apps account for 89 percent of mobile media time, according to Nielsen, and the mobile Web accounts for the remaining 11 percent. In addition, 50 percent of mobile searches are performed with local intent, according to MDG Advertising. "This means that when people search on a mobile device, they're often looking for what's near them in the physical world," according to Holman-Kursky.

Bottom line: Marketers, especially ecommerce brand managers, should develop mobile-specific strategies.

Myth 11: Lots of Internal Linksare Good

Internal links, or links that point to other pages on your site, were once an important on-page ranking factor. Recent research from search marketing company Moz, however, shows that the number of internal links on a page is now near the bottom of the list of search engine ranking factors.

 

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