There is so much information available online about SEO, that many are driven to consider ‘how hard can it be?’
The fact is, much of the information out there is somewhere between outdated and useless. So many conflicting theories and myths are peddled that it can be hard to extract the information of real value. We thought we’d put together a small article to respond to points we so often hear….and perhaps dispel a few stubborn myths.
1. “I read that online directories no longer hold value, is this true?”
2. “I heard that exchanging links can damage your rankings and you shouldn’t do it”
3. “I heard posting comments on blogs has no effect on search results”
4. “I read somewhere that taking part in forums will have a negative SEO effect”
5. “Buying links is against the rules and you can get penalised”
6. “Only natural links will give your site any value”
1) Directories do hold value, in fact it is possible to market a website just using directories and still increase rankings hugely. In general search engines do not hold anything against directories. Google even used to state that being in Yahoo and DMOZ directories is actually a good thing. The trick here is to choose high quality directories and not get involved with automated directory submissions which hold little or no value. It is all about quality and not quantity.
2) Exchanging links and having a links area within your website can still hold a lot of value if done correctly. Swapping links with; unrelated websites, poor valued websites, websites that are involved in spam, or having your link placed of a page that has hundreds of other links is only likely to damage your website. When exchanging links with other webmasters, instead of thinking about gaining a link or increasing your rankings try and say to yourself “do I really want my business listed here?”.
3) Posting comments on blogs has got to be one of the easiest ways to gain links to your website, and therefore is targeted by spammers hugely. If you come to a blog that has 789 comments and instead of each commenter using their name they have used keywords then avoid, it will hold no value. The key here is to actually find blogs that are related to your business, genuinely read their post and answer positively with a decent comment that will attract people to link through to your website. Try and get into a frame of mind that the only way to attract traffic is directly through your comment and not indirectly from ranking higher in the SERPS.
4) Again forums are very similar to blogs, just join a handful of decent forums that are based on your business topic and answer threads to show that you have knowledge and experience in your field and to genuinely help people with their problems. I see so many thread posts in forums with signatures having keywords stuffed in them and completely unrelated to the forum they are in.
5) Buying links is against Google’s rules, but Google used to state being in Yahoo directory is a good thing and that costs $300 per year. So is this classed as buying a link? Again, this is about judgement- if in doubt, come and ask our advice. Directories are there for you to advertise in, they are not trying to hide that fact, plus they have to review and submit your website, I wouldn’t necessarily class this as buying links. I would add however, that some directories are not trying to develop a decent online portal and have been created purely to make money or build links. Knowing and judging the difference can be a fine line.
6) “Only natural links will work.” What does this mean? Many believe that you need people to naturally link to your website but for many businesses this is not going to happen. We believe it is natural to market your business online, we believe it is natural to hire a marketing company or SEO company to do your online bidding. What is unnatural is the way some people carry out this process with fake blog posts, mirrored websites, poor valued links from low valued websites, spamming, automatic directory listings and so on. Good SEO is about a adopting a natural process in your marketing.