All I do everyday is field calls and emails from potential clients looking to boost their visibility on Google. I can’t tell you how much time I’ve spent debunking myths that clients hear from other SEO companies. It’s mind blowing that some of these SEO companies are even in business with how much nonsense they are spreading. The problem is that if I don’t debunk these myths, the client will believe that these are the necessary steps to success and will expect me to follow through with all of them. I’ve compiled a list of some of the most frequent myths I hear on a daily basis:
1. Social media will help my rankings. This one is debunked by the Head of Webspam at Google, Matt Cutts. It makes a lot of sense why it isn’t a ranking factor. For starters, it would be very cheap and easy to acquire likes, shares, tweets, followers etc. for $5 at fiverr. All you would have to do is buy a bulk order of social signals for a nominal amount of money and watch your rankings skyrocket. You can now see why this is a problem for Google. They have yet to figure out a good way of measuring the social signals and differentiating whether or not they are real or fake. Social signals are also all no-follow which we all know are not the ideal links you want pointing to your site. Social media is good for spreading awareness, sharing useful content and communicating with your audience. It plays no role in Googles search ranking algorithm.
2. I need to do blogging, directories, press releases, social bookmarking to rank higher. A lot of articles out there spew false information about needing all this extra fluff to rank for competitive keywords. It’s really just a way for them to drive the price up on your proposal. The truth is that you don’t need any of that stuff. What has always worked and what will continue to be the most important ranking aspect is quality links. Years ago press releases were used as a form of link building for some companies. Google caught on to that and shut it down for the most part. If it’s that easy to buy a backlink, you better believe Google will figure out a way to shut it down. These days it can hurt you a lot more than it helps.
There are some directories that can provide value but overall the link juice you’d be sharing is severely diluted to the point where you won’t get much out of it. I rarely use directories anymore for any of my clients unless it’s one that offers featured ad placements (see below) or something other than being placed on a giant list.
Blogging adds value to the site and it’s always great to have dynamic content but to say it’s a ranking factor is ridiculous. Simply cranking out tons of blogs has nothing to do with ranking for keywords. It has to be done very strategically and you need to be getting links to those blog posts for Google to take notice.
3. Doing Adwords and PPC will help my rankings. There is absolutely no correlation between doing PPC and gaining rankings organically. They are completely separate. Plus, that would completely crush any legitimacy Google ever had as a search engine if you could simply buy your way to the top of the organic results overnight. Gaining rankings takes a lot of time and energy. There’s no shortcut to the top. You can however buy your way into the ads overnight if your pockets are deep enough. Depending on the industry though it can get very expensive quickly. I’ve heard of some industries paying as much as $120 per click and paying well over $200k/month for Adwords. Imagine how much better their results would have been had they put a fraction of that money into SEO.
4. Google will penalize me if I _________. Google has business owners everywhere scared to death. Some businesses rely on their organic traffic so heavily that it’s their only form of marketing and gaining new customers. To lose Google would mean certain disaster. People treat Google like it’s a mine field out there just waiting for you to step in the wrong spot so they can decimate your business. It’s not like that at all. Actually it’s quite the opposite. Businesses are Google’s customers and rely on them heavily for Adwords revenue. These days if you’ve done some spammy things to your site Google will simply hold you back rather than penalize you. If you’ve noticed that your site is stuck on page 15 for a few months that might be a good indication that something needs fixing. All of this can be avoided if you hire the right SEO company in the first place!
5. Content is king. I wish it were that easy. Simply pump out thousands of articles a year and Google will totally recognize me as the authority in my industry! Keep dreaming. If it were all about content, it would be a race to see who could post a million articles in a single year to rank #1 for all their keywords. Don’t get me wrong. Content is important but it’s far from king when it comes to rankings. It’s more like the jester to be honest. It’s created to be engaging and entertaining for those visiting the site. If you have an infinite budget you can really create some amazing content for your site like infographics, videos, etc. but most small to medium sized companies are limited. If you can create content that people naturally link to then you’re doing it the right way. Mediocre content that has been rehashed a billion times will gain zero traction and is a complete waste of time and resources. It’s harder than ever to put out creative content because there’s so much noise out there these days. Especially if you’re in a boring industry like rug cleaning. Imagine trying to come up with compelling content for that industry. I’d love to hear an SEO company pitch to a rug cleaning company how they will leverage content marketing as a viable means of driving traffic.
If an SEO company is telling you that their strategy is based solely on producing content, you better make sure that every article they push out is getting shared and liked but hundreds of people. Not only that, but there better be an off-site strategy of steady links being built manually to those posts to ensure that there is some authority being driving in the right direction. If that’s not part of their strategy, you have almost no chance of getting your articles read or ranked on Google no matter how great your content is.
6. Backlinking no longer works. This one really makes me laugh. If an SEO company is telling you that they don’t do backlinking, you need to hang up immediately. All this says to me is that they have no clue what they’re talking about. What happens is that SEO companies lose sight of how to do it effectively. They experiment with different ways of backlinking, they ultimately fail and can’t figure how to do it correctly, so they tell everyone that it’s not working anymore. That’s why most of the bad companies preach content creation because it’s a no-brainer. It’s easy for them to hire somebody to create content and post it. Being able to get people to link to your website is the hard part. The companies that succeed in this industry understand the importance of being able to acquire highly authoritative links. It’s not really a debate honestly. Matt Cutts has always said that backlinks are still the strongest ranking factor right now and will continue to be for some time. Being able to effectively acquire links is the special sauce for SEO companies. It’s ultimately the difference between success and failure in most campaigns. Instead of preaching the importance, i’ll show you real data from my personal Google analytics to back up my claims. Nothing other than link building was done to generate this traffic. No directories, infographics, content marketing, social media, press releases, etc. Here are a few graphs that show steady growth solely via link building.
This data speaks for itself. If you’re not seeing results like this, then you aren’t doing it the right way. It’s as simple as that. Think of backlinking as a means of building credibility with Google. The two most important aspects are being consistent and choosing quality over quantity. One link from Huffington Post is more valuable than 100k blog comment links. I hope this data helps point a few people in the right direction. Stop worrying about doing a million different things to drive traffic to your site. Worry about how you’re going to acquire highly authoritative, relevant, targeted, long lasting links that prove to Google that you are the authority in your industry.