So this is my 200th post and I had no clue what to write about. Instead of doing a wow 200 and post wrap up with a ton of links, I decided to just write a normal one since that is what I enjoy most. When trying to think of a topic I decided that I am tired of explaining to both clients and other SEO firms a few things common myths and rumors about SEO. Here are 5 of the most common questions I get from clients, other firms and people just entering online marketing.
Meta descriptions are not important.
False. This is a big false. Not only does Google still show a meta description some of the time in the SERPs when it cannot find a good phrase or paragraph to use, but with the addition of the 30 to 35 characters underneath the site links in the organic SERPs, meta descriptions are more important than ever. You not only have to have good meta descriptions that are unique for every single page, but your meta descriptions now have to be readable, make sense and sell within the first 35 characters. Look at the example below which I pulled from the search term Bed Bath and Beyond. If you look at the organic site links for Bed Bath and Beyond, they created a unique meta description for each page that shows up and each one helps to sell why the person should click on the site link to start out closer to the products that they would want to buy. These descriptions are also the meta tags from each of the pages. You’re meta descriptions are absolutely important to have now, especially because of the added text below your site links showing up in the SERPs.
Affiliate links count as backlinks.
This is about 75% false. Affiliate links that come from a network are not backlinks. Think about what a backlink is. A backlink is a link from one site that points directly to a url on your site. Because an Affiliate link from a network usually points to that network’s server and then redirects to the merchant’s site, the backlink would technically be for the server and not for the merchant since it isn’t pointed directly at the merchant’s site. The only times that Affiliate links can count as backlinks is when the merchant is using an in house program where the urls are actually pointing directly at the merchant’s site. The one thing that you have to remember is that there are tracking parameters on most Affiliate links and that the Search Engines (SEs) can see these and do recognize these parameters. Because they have the tracking parameters they may not count the link as extremely valuable because the Search Engine may assume it is either an Affiliate link or it is a media buy or that the Merchant placed it there so it is not a natural link.
The more backlinks the better.
False. When you have a ton of relevant and good backlinks you can start to outrank other sites. However, the more backlinks that you have isn’t always better for you. It is more about the quality of the links and the mix that you have, as opposed to the volume of backlinks that you have. If all you have are blog comments or forum posts, then you will probably get mapped by the SEs and your rankings will fall overtime. If your site is about blue widgets and you are only concerned with the quantity of backlinks, you probably have links from sites about movies, about cats and food and none of it makes sense to the SEs when they are categorizing your site and content. When the SEs realize this huge random mix, your site will get dinged for categorization because the SE won’t know what the hell the site is about since the mix of backlinks is from a giant mix of topics makes no sense. You want to try to get as many legit backlinks as you can, but also try to have them from sources within your niche or topic. Make sure you categorize your site properly as well and have the links coming from those categories to your categories and pages with relevant content.
You have to have keywords in your base url.
False. Although it does seem like keyword rich urls make it easier to rank for terms, you do not need them. I am a huge believer in brandable and memorable urls because they can be repeated easily, remembered easily and linked to easily. Although they could potentially be harder to rank in the beginning, they can still rank and even outrank keyword rich sites in the long run. For the folders and extensions off of your base domain, having keywords in the urls is something you will definitely want to have. For the base domain, go with something brandable instead of something hard to remember or that is stuffed with keywords, unless your goal is one time visitors and not repeat customers.
I already have a backlink from one site so I don’t need anymore.
Half True. Years ago if you had a backlink from a site, you didn’t have to worry about having any more. With Google and other SEs obsessing over what is new, right now and immediate, having new backlinks from authoritative sources and news sites helps to show that your site, your content and your pages are still relevant. Think about the SERPs, they show news feeds, tweets and other things that are happening right now. You also have to remember that the goal of a Search Engine is to show relevant and up to date content. If they don’t show the most relevant and useful content then people stop using it. If your backlinks are 5 years old from a site, even authoritative sites, there is a chance that your content may begin to look outdated. By having new links from new pages and new articles on authority and other sites, it shows that your copy and content is still legit, still something worth linking to and still relevant over time. Although this cannot be proven I definitely think that you need to keep up with building backlinks and also getting more from the same authoritative sites that you already have links from, if your original links from that site are old.
Thank you again for reading and I hope you enjoyed my 200th post. If you have any other SEO myths you’d like me to talk about, or you just feel like sharing something, please feel free to leave a comment below. Please also feel free to share your own favorite SEO myth and whether you think it is true or false and why you think it is true or false.