In case a friend calls and tells you Matt Cutts has said SEO is dead and link-building out, remind him of these undying myths and 10 tips to keep alive in your business:
Myth 1: Anything you Build People will Visit
Content marketing establishes its existence on this motto. Build a fantastic website with the best content and see traffic rush in. Not so!
While great writing and excellent content takes a big part of SEO and what your site clearly needs, you also need links, a firm technical base, rapid downloads, and other advantages.
Myth 2: Link-Building is Dead
Building links will not guarantee movement to your site.
Cutts never said links were dead, rather the opposite.
Cutts said Google has tried excluding links from the algorithm but the results were “much worse.” It will take years before they can possible disappear, according to Cutts.
What to do?
Do not go buying links. Hire an experienced guy to develop a strategic link acquisition program and to assist you implement it. Use strategic ways to obtain links that will make it appear natural.
For instance, you regularly sponsor a charity affair each year, tying it up with local news and press releases. All those tied back to you. This is a simple way of acquiring natural links to your site as part of a link-building plan, but NOT a link-buying one.
A link-builder will find so many other ways of innovating while keeping it entirely natural but with a little push. Most importantly, hire well since this is the most highly assessed area of SEO at present.
Some methods may be out; but links are not.
Myth 3: Using Google Analytics Allows Google to Spy on You
You need analytics. However, some clients have no Google Analytics on their site because Google they think spies on them, so they work blind.
True or not? Well, yes and no.
Example: If you are making multiple domains intended for criminal acts (as Google thinks) and these sites all have the same Google Analytics code then, yes, Google is aware of what you have done – linked the sites and made yourself known as the owner.
That is one sure way of outing yourself. If you have a penalty or you decided to merely start a new site without fixing the old one and used the same Google Analytics code, you still get booted out.
Does Google use Google Analytics as part of site positioning? No.
This is common sense. These are distinct parts of one company which do not interact at that level. Besides, many sites do not use Google Analytics, so if Google used Analytics to find out the results, it would probably be worse than excluding links as a ranking factor.
Bad data in = bad product out = bad business. Are you a regular company with a regular site? Go ahead and add Google Analytics. Only NSA does the spying.
Myth 4: Ranking (Positioning) Does not Matter
Some people will say ranking is not important and that traffic is what they measure. Although there is truth in that, it can be misleading.
Top 10 may not be as true now as before since with geolocation, personalization, and other factors, you cannot pull up an exact top 10 which everyone else sees.
Ranking has definite numeric order and stop and end points; but positioning is a more loosely defined placement within the SERPs.
Ultimately, converting traffic is the most important metric when measuring the ROI of you investment dollars, the difference between 1st and 5th and 5th and 10th greatly affects the flow and amount of that traffic. Hence, while we cannot ascertain what is seen in the site in the SERPs, we can have a good idea of the opportunities for traffic increases and where drops and where these are happening if we follow the keyword positions.
Position does matter. Rankings maybe not.
Myth 5: Social is the New Link Building
No. You can get links from social but only when you leave the walled garden, not from sharing itself (Google+ excluded here).
This is because in the history of Facebook and Google and Google and Twitter, neither company wants to give Google consistent access to their fire hose, so Google simply cannot factor them into the algorithm.
When Google tried to factor Twitter into the algorithm in the past, you ranked well for Twitter; but that changed when Twitter pulled the access from Google.
Link-building is still the new link building.
SEO Tips to keep you alive
Look now at the really important things: most common missed SEO opportunities.
1. Google Authorship
Is this or is this not helping with rankings? We often miss the very basic idea that an image by your result in the search engine increases your click-through rates.
Make sure, however, that you add this only on well-written, good content and give your site that extra lift.
Wherever you cite your business name (or where anyone else has listed it), make it the same – the name, phone number, contact, address, etc. – not just similar.
Google prefers specific content, so keep topics clear and precise. Keep an average content of over 600 words per page to avoid being penalized for being thin.
Make sure your site URLs are absolute and not relative in your code, not too long and containing multiple query parameters. Rewrite them.
5. The Alt Attribute
Use alt tag properly. It belongs on every image on your site (sometimes it will be empty).
This is a tag for the blind. Treat it with respect.
6. Page Speed
Check your site on the Google Page Speed tool. Speed counts especially in mobile. Aim for a score above an 85-90.
Your robots.txt doesn’t block your web page from being indexed, only crawled. If you want to block a page from being indexed, leave it off the robots.txt and add a noindex tag.
If you try to recover your site and you fail the first time, get an expert to help you. Google penalties are tricky subjects. You may not know enough about penalty recovery to get your site out of penalty status, which can take very long.
A site auditor will know what to look for and how to communicate with Google in order to get the best outcome.
9. New Sites
To make sure Google will not find your new site: lock it down with a login. Robots.txt will not prevent site indexing and Google does not need a link to find you.
10. Get a Site Audit Every Year
How to keep up with new aspects of SEO?
A yearly site audit will help you avoid issues, avoid penalties, and make sure you your site is running smoothly. An SEO professional can also help you build out strategies and assess missing income opportunities.
A good auditor is worth their weight in traffic, conversions, and missed penalties. Hire someone with real knowledge and expertise.
SEO is not Black Magic or Even ‘Cow Dung’
Remember the past when SEO was called “voodoo” or “black magic” by unknowing people?
SEO is based on the rules of a mathematical algorithm. This means the site meets or doesn’t, certain points on a mathematical scorecard and your site is then adjusted accordingly.
Although the search engines have not given those rules, we can test against the algorithm and do things we know work because a + b = c. Math is predictable, testable, and somewhat verifiable.
While Google may still consider SEO as “cow dung” – it is not, as long as you do it right.
Original article adapted from Search Engine Watch.
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