Myths within the SEO space are constantly changing along with search engine algorithms and best practices. As a result, it can be difficult to keep straight what rules are still applicable to your SEO strategy and which have changed or were never true to begin with.
This year there has been a lot of myths on the internet about different things that can hurt or help your SEO strategies that just aren’t true. Here are 5 you need to know the truth about:
Myth #1: Google Authorship or AuthorRank will help SEO Rank
Reality: While AuthorRank certainly has its benefits, there is no evidence that search results that feature a well-respected author rank better than a post without authorship.
What You Need to Know: Recently, Google removed authorship photos from the SERP. While AuthorRank doesn’t have a direct effect on everyone’s search results and no image will show up, it is still helpful for CTR to include author mark-up when applicable as it will still at least add an author byline snippet to your content. Not only will people who +1 your Google+ profile or content and are logged in to Google when searching more likely to see your content higher up in the search results.
Myth #2: HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is actively monitored by Google and any responses that get links will lead to a penalty
Reality: The reality is that links that come from HARO can be just as beneficial as any other link that is won by using good PR efforts. While there are some HARO requests that come from websites with low domain authorities that could cause manual penalties from Google, due diligence in finding out what the domain authority in question is before responding will keep incoming links from the service of the highest quality.
What You Need to Know: There are some extremely well-respected outlets that use HARO to get in touch with industry professionals. If you don’t have the time or resources to properly pitch outlets to get brand mentions or links, HARO can be a great way to translate great writing ability coupled with your knowledge of a field to earn exposure across the internet.
Myth #3: Nofollow Links have No Value at All
Reality: While links that are marked as “rel=nofollow” don’t give the same kind of value that a regular link would, they are still extremely important for businesses.
What You Need to Know: Not only have studies shown that nofollow links do have some value in search engine algorithm rankings, they also act as an important part of what Google sees as a “natural” backlink profile. Not having any nofollow links in a backlink profile is sure to raise a red flag with Google, as it makes your website look as if it is actively building links using questionable link building tactics instead of naturally getting links because of great content.
Furthermore, just because a link is marked “nofollow” obviously doesn’t mean that it won’t generate traffic or leads for your business.
(Rand Fishkin of Moz made an interesting study on Nofollow links here.)
Myth #4: Links from Press Releases Don’t Need to be Marked “nofollow”
Reality: Links from Press Releases need to be marked as “nofollow” according to Google policies.
What You Need to Know: Having links to essential content that the press release is talking about simply makes sense as you want to make sure that users can see what you are talking about for themselves. However, to use them to try and get link equity is a terrible idea. Not only could Google feasibly hit your website with a manual penalty, you also leave yourself open to other followed links from low domain authority websites that simply copy paste press releases to their website. This could further hurt your site if you are earning more followed links from low quality sources.
Myth #5: All Guest Blogging is Bad
Reality: While there is certainly some guest blogging practices that you should avoid, guest blogging is not inherently a bad thing.
What You Need to Know: Guest blogging as an SEO tool that could be used to quickly build links from a variety of sites quickly and easily is no longer okay. However, taking the time to write well-thought out, non-link bait articles for high quality domains is still as viable as it has ever been.
It is certainly harder now than ever before to get an article that is filled with links to your website published, and frankly if your guest blogging strategy puts the links before the content, you were bound to get penalized eventually. Something that is certainly true is that guest blogging for sites with low domain authorities where anyone can get published are now worth staying well clear of.
Instead, write high quality content for websites that your competitors can’t get featured on. There is more SEO value in having links that can’t be easily parroted by your competition anyway.