With so much misinformation about SEO having been dispensed over the years, it’s hard to know what’s true and isn’t true – making it all the more difficult to separate the proverbial wheat from the chaff, as it were. Concerned about the potential harm misinformation about SEO can ultimately cause, I decided to compile an alphabetical listing of the most popular and persistent SEO myths, to either debunk or confirm their factuality.
Since the arrival of Google Adwords, there has been an ongoing debate over whether or not running an Adwords campaign can improve search engine rankings. Ultimately, only Google knows the answer to that question for sure. However, to my knowledge, there is no credible evidence to support the notion that Adwords can improve your search engine ranking. If there were indeed concrete evidence to the contrary, it stands to reason, everybody would just start an Adwords campaign to boost their rankings.
2. Anchor Text
Although it can be other colors, anchor text is typically the blue, hyperlinked text you see on a web page – the words that you click onto take you to another page. For example:
Okay, but is anchor text important? Yes, it is because it’s a crucial element in the search engines complex algorithmic formula that helps determine the rankings of websites.
For example, suppose you have a blog that reviews digital camera’s; the more links you have with the words “digital camera reviews” in your anchor text, the greater your chances of increasing your ranking for the keywords digital camera reviews.
3. Alt Tags
Alt tags are used to display a short text description of an image. It gets displayed when you hover your mouse over the graphic. But are Alt tags an important part of SEO?
It depends on whom you ask. Some experts dismiss the importance of Alt tags altogether, while others tout its importance. Personally, I used to léan in the direction of “not important,” until I read a couple of outstanding articles that made me rethink my position.
SEO expert Bill Hartzer makes a strong argument for the use of Alt tags. In his article, Search Engine Optimization: Why Image Alt Tags are Important.
“There is strong evidence that the search engines are now giving more weight to Alt Tags than they are the Title Tag or even an H1 Tag on the page. What?!? Yes, that’s right. You do need to make sure you use proper Title Tags and H1 Tags, but more SEO value for organic search engine rankings can be gained by using proper Alt Tags than using proper Title Tags or H1 Tags.”
And in his article, Why You Need to Stop Ignoring Image Alt Attributes, AJ Wilcox of OrangeSoda.com makes a compelling common sense argument:
“Keyword usage in image alt text is classified as having minimal importance by a consortium of SEO experts, but that doesn’t mean it’s worthless. It is yet another opportuníty to declare your relevance to your given keyword. The little things add up to big things together, so don’t ignore them.”
I agree with AJ. A lot of little things in combination do indeed add up to big things.
4. FFA Pages
FFA is an acronym for “Free-For All.” Here’s an example of an FFA page:
In a nutshell, FFAs are basically web pages of worthless links where anyone can submit their website’s URL for free (hence the term Free-For-All). One of the biggest and oldest SEO myths is, if you post your website’s URL on FFA pages, you will get massive traffic, as well boost your link popularity and search engine ranking. Here’s the truth: People who visit FFA pages do so only to post their own ads – not look at someone else’s. And any traffic you do get will be completely worthless!
In addition, FFA pages are considered both spammy and scammy, and posting on them could adversely affect your website’s reputation with the search engines – which could in fact hurt your ranking – or even get you banned. Why? Because in essence, FFA pages are nothing but link farms – and you know what Google thinks of link farms.
My advice: RUN, DON’T WALK away from FFA pages!
5. Header Tags
Header tags, for example H1, H2 are standard HTML elements used to define headings and subheadings on a web page.
Are they important? To my knowledge, there is no credible evidence to suggest that header tags have an effect on search engine rankings one way or the other. My advice: If you’re currently using header tags, continue using them if you wish. If you’re not using them, don’t worry about it.
6. Keyword Density
Question: What is the correct density of keywords on a web page?
Answer: There isn’t one.
Yes, I know this topic has been debated back and forth, but personally, I don’t think keyword density even exists as a calculable numeric constant. In other words, don’t worry about the correct keyword density. And don’t worry about counting keywords. Just create your web pages naturally, without trying to force or stuff keywords where they don’t belong. Then, let the proverbial chips fall where they may.
7. Keywords in Domain Name
Do keywords in a domain name help your ranking?
Based on my own personal experience, yes, having your primary keywords in your domain name does help with your ranking. To what degree, however, only Google knows the answer to that. But since Google uses over 200 signals to determine the ranking of websites, I can’t imagine keywords in your domain name not carrying some amount of weight.