Beware Of These 5 SEO Myths! They May Cost You Traffic and Conversions

seo mythsDo people still believe in the ogres and witches of the SEO world? So it seems and it’s alarming to say the least.

A recent discussion I had with copywriters and marketers in my network brought up numerous myths that I was shocked to hear about. Most of them were about recent changes in SEO brought by Google, others touched more sensitive spots like website administration and the intrinsic structure of the Web.

These myths are hard to knock out but they also put anybody using SEO in their profession at risk of losing important opportunities, so if you are among those marketers who believe them, the sooner you get rid of them, the more benefits you will bring to your business.


Myth #1 – Rel=Nofollow is the Evil


This week I ran into blogs, advertising networks and online communities that still feed the myth that rel=nofollow is a demon ready to endanger the overall SEO value of your backlinks.

Do you buy into this myth? I hope not, but just in case, let’s review a little cheat sheet for this ‘exam’.

Rel=nofollow doesn’t pass:

So you see, some things that are true: a nofollow backlink alone won’t influence your position in SERPS, it won’t get your page indexed via that link (because Google and a few other search engines won’t follow the link) and it certainly won’t help make that green bar grow bigger on your Google toolbar.

BUT that’s not enough to demote a nofollow link as junk. If you stop for a moment and think about the potential benefits nofollow links can bring to the table, you’ll notice that the package includes:

  • Direct trafficbecause to readers, a link is a link. They don’t care whether you applied a rel=nofollow attribute or it’s just a bare link. To readers, a link equals to more information to consume, so you still earn direct traffic from clicks on nofollow links.
  • Branding – you can improve user visibility for your brand through links and anchor text. Yes, search engines won’t help with that visibility, but just let one user find out about you and appreciate your work and you’ll see what I mean. ;)

Plus, there are more ‘content baiting’ goodies in it for you:

  • Social media shares – user clicks, likes your page and shares it.
  • Readership building – your blog comments and forum posts may not count much for Google, but they count for readership building through relationships. Blog readers and forum users want to see bloggers and fellow forum members get active and engaged in the discussion. It’s about what you say and what you give, not about what you show off.

Myth #2 – SEO is about Google


Now now, we’re going overboard here. Oh sure, Google holds 80% of searches according to StatCounter and just as much in terms of market share, while the remaining 20% is shared among Bing, Yahoo!, DuckDuckGo, Ask and other less popular search engines.

But– you know modern SEO is not just about Google.

It’s about Social Media shares, too. And content marketing.

Google is but *one* factor in the whole picture. If you only do SEO for Google you are missing out on so many opportunities for branding and conversions that might put your business at risk in case you incur into a penalty.

In addition to that, I strongly recommend that you don’t underestimate the conversion power of that ‘measly’ 20% of users from other search engines. Like a web designer is never satisfied of a cross-compatibility tests with only the most popular browsers, so you shouldn’t stop to the most popular search engines in your SEO project.

Remember—  it’s SEO as in Search Engine Optimization, not GO (Google Optimization).


Myth #3 – Guest Posts are for Link Building


Uhm. No. Guest posts are for getting your word out. For reputation, if you want. Maybe for content marketing. But not for link building.

Guess what? Many wonderful guest posts come with a byline and a textual site name without an actual link back to the writer’s website. And they still work! They work because all people need is your name and a mention of your brand to hunt you down and buy your products. It’s really that simple. That’s how it works with print publications and their bylines, too.

But links still have their importance in a Web publication. They’re important for people because they makes it easier to find you, as you’ll be just one click away. So, one or two natural backlinks to a special offer or a service on your site will convert greatly. Jon Morrow did that on Problogger and sweetness if it worked!

If you’re scared that Google might hunt your guest post link down, you have two alternatives:

  1. Nofollow your backlink – you’ll still get clicks and conversions!
  2. Ask the blog owner to write an introduction for your post before your (text only) byline – In the intro, they can link back to you in any way they find legit for their editorial choices. This makes your backlink genuine in nature as it’s up to the webmaster to choose whether to just add a bare link, to add a nofollow attribute or to just mention your site. Also, you leave the link format in their hands, something that a webmaster always appreciates.

Myth #4 – Blog sponsorship is dead


Nothing could be farthest from the truth. Blog sponsorship isn’t dead– it’s only changing face. It takes more effort from both the advertiser and the blogger to make it work and it requires a clear disclosure of the commercial nature of the relationship.

FTC made it mandatory to disclose in an attempt to protect Internet users from scams and to let them know that not all the content they stumble upon is completely impartial. In fact, sometimes an advertiser may request that the blogger only highlights the positive aspects of a product they asked them to review and you understand that doesn’t make the review very genuine.

There are blog sponsorship networks like SocialSpark that are FTC compliant and allow advertisers to use only nofollow links for their campaigns, thus making the whole game safe for both bloggers and advertisers.

The metrics? Traffic. Just traffic.


Myth #5 – A Google-banned website is a website to throw away


Okay, let’s get this fact straight, here— beside the fact that you can always submit a reconsideration request to Google, are you really ready to throw away years or even months of work that costed you irreplaceable time for planning, writing and marketing? If Google was a god, I bet you would have a good reason to fear him, but the plain truth is that Google is just—

Yet. Another. Search Engine.

Period.

Are you ready to throw away your work because one search engine thought your website is not worthy enough?

Please, rethink your marketing strategy. Don’t let your business fold just because of Google.

  • Use your social media channels to reach out to prospective clients
  • Send out user surveys to analyze your audience’s needs
  • Guest post and be there when readers comment on your article
  • Make the best out of other search engines
  • Use word of mouth (or word of mouse, too, or email!) to get the word out about your business
  • Uhm… remember good old business cards? You know, they still work like charm at networking events. ;)

Oh, and let’s not forget about your website— it’s yours, it’s there for your users. Make it shine like a gem, whether it gets back into Google’s graces or not.

You know, at the end of the day, the only obstacle to success may be you. Don’t let it be that way.

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About Luana Spinetti

Luana Spinetti is a freelance blogger and copywriter based in Italy. When she's not writing, she will be drawing artwork and making websites. Web Marketing and SEO are in her basket for work-enhancement and for fun (but it still earned her a gig as a SEO consultant in 2012). Find her at LuanaSpinetti.com or at her Twitter account @luanatf.

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