SEO is full of myths and misconceptions. In fact, nobody exactly knows about the algorithms search engines use in their ranking systems. Of course, all of us know that backlinks are very valuable in SEO. We have concluded that on-page SEO is not less important than high-quality backlinks. Nevertheless, there are some SEO topics that cause a lot of discussions among professionals and amateurs. There are a few SEO factors which importance and influence are very arguable. All of us know about these SEO factors, however, some of us overestimate their importance. I decided to write this blog post in order to destroy some of the popular myths that prosper in the field of SEO. I hope my explanations and descriptions will be clear and accurate. Let me start from one of the most popular myths about SEO.
1) SOCIAL SIGNALS ARE IMPORTANT IN SEO
This is the first myth I want to diminish. What are social signals? Social signals are supposed to be your website’s activity on social networks. A number of times your website’s blog posts are shared, liked and commented are called social signals. According to this popular myth, the popularity of your website on social networks makes a direct impact on your website’s SEO. People assume that search engines monitor all the popular social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Tumblr, Instagram, and others in order to identify the popularity of a particular website on social networks. From a logical point of view, this ranking algorithm could be very beneficial. If a website is liked, commented, and shared, this must mean that the web resource is good. If social networks included your activity on social networks, they would enhance the quality of their ranking system.
Let me assure you that social signals have no power in SEO. Whether your website gets 1 million of likes or it does not get any, search engines do not pay any attention towards your activity on social networks. There are so many bloggers and online entrepreneurs who are preoccupied with building social signals for search engines. All of their hard work is meaningless and useless. What is more, people pay money to get more likes and shares on social networks. I do not claim that likes, comments, and shares are absolutely useless. Today, social networks are the best sources of web traffic. From the day I build my blog till nowadays, the most part of the web traffic on my blog comes from Facebook, Twitter, and Google +. I can assure you that SMM (Social Media Marketing) is more effective than SEO. In fact, to get serious volumes of web traffic from search engines, you need to work very hard during a very long period of time. A new website has no chances to get good positions on SERPs. As all of us know, a website that is less than 6 months old is considered to be a new web resource. This means that a new online project will not appear much on SERPs during the first six months of its life. Therefore, social networks are crucial for any types of online projects. Nevertheless, I want to assure you that social signals have no power in SEO. Here are some of the facts that prove my position.
a) GOOGLE IS NOT ABLE TO INDEX ALL PAGES ON SOCIAL NETWORKS
Most of the people think that Google is absolutely almighty. To be honest, Google is very powerful, however, it has its limits. Thus, Google is not able to index all everything on the Internet. Google bots are set to index the most important pages on the Internet. If you are already engaged in link building, you know that there are loads of websites and domain names that are not indexed by Google. The number of pages on the Internet is not counted by millions or billions. Their numbers are much bigger. Therefore, Google and other search engines try to crawl the most important and valuable web resources on the Internet.
Today, the number of tweets per day is more than 500 million. I am talking about Twitter tweets. Let us add a number of shares on Facebook, Google +, Tumblr, Instagram, and others. Finally, we will get several millions of shares, likes, and comments. Most of the data is not important. What do people usually write in tweets or in comments? Here are some of the most popular phrases: “Cool”, “Good”, “Wow”, and so on. Now, imagine of Google tried to crawl and index all of this nonsense. As I have previously mentioned, the power of Google is very limited. For this reason, it strives to index and crawl the most important and valuable pages on the Internet. There is no need to prove than less stronger search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex do the same thing.
b) WHEN IT COMES TO SOCIAL NETWORKS, GOOGLE IS LIMITED IN ITS INDEXING CAPACITY
To some extent, Google is limited to index social networks. I remember that Matt Cutts said that they are limited to crawl and index social networks. Furthermore, he mentioned that they were blocked by one of the popular social networks. Thus, Google was blocked from crawling and indexing an entire social network during a whole month. Barry Schwartz said it was Twitter.
This fact makes is clear that Google is not almighty. If it can be blocked by Twitter, this means that Google is not able to index everything on social networks. In this case, if you were one of the engineers on Google, would you include social signals in one of the ranking algorithms? I think you would not do it. Social networks are uncontrollable, and therefore, Google does not consider social signals as ranking factors.
These are some of the reasons Google and other search engines do not treat social signals seriously. Thus, the first popular myth about SEO is crushed. Social signals do not make any influence on a website’s SEO score.
2) CTR IS A RANKING FACTOR
This is the second popular myth. CTR (Click Through Rate) measures the percentage of people who have clicked your link against the total number of people who have viewed it. Thus, if 30 % of people, who viewed your link, clicked it, your CTR will equal to 30 %. CTR is an identification of how attractive yo8ur link looks like. At the same time, better positions on SERPS will bring you’re a better CTR. It is clear that a website that is on the first page on Google SERP will have a better CTR than a web resource that is placed on the second or on the third pages. Hence, your rank on SERPs makes a direct impact on your CTR.
The myth is that CTR influences your success on SERPs. People assume that search engines consider the percentage of your CTR to give your particular ranks on SERPS. Thus, by influencing and improving a CTR of a website people strive to improve their overall appearance on SERPs. There are loads of different software that find your link on SERPs, and then, click it. It is done to improve a website’s CTR. All of these people are fooled. CTR is not a ranking algorithm. Further, I will give you some strong arguments that will prove my position.
a) A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO MANIPULATE SEARCH ENGINES
As I have already told you, there are already a lot of software and online services that let you improve your CTR. Bots will click your link on SERPs, and this, your CTR score will seriously improve. By doing this, people strive to manipulate Google’s algorithms. In fact, these people merely waste their precious time.
All of us know that Google is a very smart company managed by extremely smart or even genius people. This means that Google will never let anyone manipulate their ranking algorithms. Therefore, Google never uses something that can be easily manipulated. All of us know that backlinks make the biggest impact on a website’s SEO score. At the same time, there are loads of black hat technologies that let you build high-quality backlinks in a very short period of time. Google is aware of this fact, and therefore, it always monitors different websites and checks their backlinks. Thus, Google does not let people manipulate their ranking algorithms. Now, let us assume that CTR is a ranking factor. Thousands or even millions of people will start using bots to artificially improve their CTRs. There is no way for Google to control and monitor this process. For this reason, CTR will never be a ranking factor.
b) A GOOD CTR DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN HIGH-QUALITY
All ranking factors exist in order to find and display the best websites on SERPs. Thus, search engines use ranking algorithms to identify the best web resources. High-quality backlinks mean that a website is recognized on the web. Every backlink is treated like a vote from an external website. More votes a website has, more authoritative and influential it will become. There is some logic when we talk about backlinks. A Good on-page SEO means that the material on a website is well edited. This is why on-page SEO is so important in SEO.
Here comes my question. What does a good CTR mean? In fact, it means nothing. As I have already told you, a website with good positions on SERPs has more chances to get a better CTR. If a website has a good CTR, this means that its overall SEO is good. This is the only conclusion we can make from this fact. Therefore, CTR will never be used as a direct identification of a website’s quality.
3) DOMAIN AGE MATTERS MUCH IN SEO
This is another popular myth that is widely spread in the SEO world. People overestimate the importance of domain age in SEO. I do not claim that domain age is absolutely unimportant in SEO. Nevertheless, we should not overrate its meaning.
Here is the myth. People assume that a website with an old domain name will rank better on SERPs than a website with a new domain name. For this purpose, online entrepreneurs buy expired domain names and use them in their projects. Thus, online businessmen rely more on the age of their domain names than on the quality of content their websites produce.
Let me clarify this issue for you. Domain age is important to some extent. For example, Matt Cutts said, that there is not any difference between a 6 months old domain name and a domain name that is already 1 year old. During my online career, I have seen the amount of 6 months as an identification of a web resource’s maturity. Hence, a website that is less than 6 months old is considered to be a new web resource. After 6 months, a domain name is not considered to be new, and therefore, it will appear more on SERPs. In fact, this is absolutely true. Sometimes, when I check my blog’s SEO by using different online services, I see that a software says that my blog is less than 6 months old, and therefore, it will not appear much in SERPs. I have carefully checked this on the Internet. Matt Cutts has also mentioned a 6 months timeframe in one of his speeches. Thus, we can conclude that domain age matters to some extent. Especially, if your online project is less than 6 months old, you should not expect any serious volumes of organic traffic. After 6 months, your performance on SERPs may improve. However, nobody guarantees you this.
Domain age matters somehow in SEO. Even though, it does not matter much. We should not overestimate its importance. New online entrepreneurs must emphasize their efforts and attentions at the quality of content and services their projects produce. Domain age is not a key factor.
4) NOFOLLOW BACKLINKS HAVE SOME POWER
This is another popular myth I hear loads of times. As you know, there are two types of backlinks. They may be dofollow or nofollow. Dofollow backlinks add some link juice to your website. Nofollow backlinks are not indexed or followed by search engine bots, and therefore, they make no impact towards your website’s SEO. This is a classic definition of dofollow and nofollow backlinks.
Nonetheless, the Internet is full of rumors, and misconceptions. The Internet is a perfect area for rumors to spread and prosper. Some people claim that nofollow backlinks make a direct impact on a wesbite’s SEO score. The only thing they use to prove their claims is that after they have built some nofollow backlinks, their positions of SERPs improved. These people are missing that there are loads of other factors that may have made a positive impact on their SEO. A person says: “After I have built nofollow backlinks for my client, the SEO score of his website has improved.” This is the only argument people use to claim that nofollow backlinks matter in SEO.
SEO professionals and Google’s official representatives say that nofollow backlinks are not counted by Google. I tend to believe authoritative people and experts. If someone tells you that nofollow backlinks matter something in SEO, you should know that this person is spreading popular SEO rumors. Nofollow backlinks placed on popular websites can bring you some web traffic. They may expose your online presence to some extent. These are the only benefits of nofollow backlinks. Remember those nofollow backlinks will never improve domain authority of your webs resource, and they will never improve your performance on SERPs.
The SEO world is full of different myths. I did not intend to mention all of them. However, I have already given my opinion towards the most widely spread of them. SEO is a science. As all sciences, SEO is full of facts that we should not disregard. Following diverse rumors is not a serious path to find the true answer. There will always be myths, and there will be always those, who will destroy these misconceptions.