December 12, 2017

SEOs Believe Some Crazy Shit

tinfoil

In a fit of boredom the other day I went back and started reading questions posed to Matt Cutts in the latest Google Moderator grab bag. If you’re not familiar with this, it’s basically a forum where Matt takes questions from the community and answers them in videos on YouTube.

As I was reading through the questions, one theme kept popping up: Not only do many of you ask questions that you should already know the answer to, but a lot of you believe some crazy shit.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with trying to learn about SEO – I highly encourage everybody in any marketing related field do so, but most of you asking the questions had profiles where you refer to yourselves as ‘seo experts.’ There aren’t questions experts should ask.

The one question that ran rampant (and thankfully Matt finally Answered it ) is the one about “how does Google treat links from Twitter and Facebook?”

I was shocked at how many people not only asked this question, but didn’t seem to know the answer already. The answer (as anybody who actually tested this can tell you) is that Google doesn’t hand code a flag or a weight for any specific sites. It just doesn’t scale well at all, and it would be a nightmare to manage on Google’s side. There’s no way they can do that manually.

But that isn’t the craziest of them all. There’s tons of accusations out there about Google Chrome having an impact on the rankings. The best part here (as one of the commenters there points out) is that Chrome is open source. If anybody bothered to look at the code, they’d see that Chrome doesn’t phone home to Google about anything.

My other favorite SEO obsession is page speed. Google mentions something about how they like fast pages, and suddenly everybody goes off the deep end talking about how you need to ensure your pages load faster or you’re going to lose rankings. Seriously, think about that for a second. Would it make any sense at all for Google to show the faster page over the page that’s more relevant to the user’s query? Something tells me that users would be more interested in pages that relate to what they searched, not pages that load fast. Sure, if all else is equal then page speed can matter – but I’d rather spend my time working on making a useful page than a fast page.

serenity

Nofollow is another fun one. I’ve never understood why so many people obsess about something that, when it comes down to it, is completely out of their control. As an SEO, you have very little control over who links to you and whether or not they use a nofollow – so why even worry about it?

Do you really believe that registering a domain name for 10 years makes it somehow more relevant or useful to the user?

How many of you still talk about keyword density or the “google sandbox?”

Guess what, Adwords has nothing to do with your rankings. Neither does your choice of .com, .net, or .org. You don’t need to submit your site to the search engines, META keywords are useless, and there’s nothing (short of hacking) that your competitor can do to harm your rankings.

How do I know all of that? I’ve not only tested it, but I’ve applied common sense into my reasoning and asked myself some very relevant questions:

1. Does this make sense from Google’s perspective?

and

Would this result in more useful results for searchers?

You’d be amazed at what those questions can tell you.

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If you’ve ever wondered why SEO has a “snake oil” reputation maybe it’s because of all these crackpot theories that some of you believe.

It’s amazing how often people over-react to anything Matt Cutts says or how easily anything that Rand Fishkin or Danny Sullivan says is taken as truth. These guys don’t know everything, and they occasionally make mistakes.

Please, for the love of god, let’s start doing our own reasoning and testing before we subscribe to any more wacky theories.

About Ryan Jones

Ryan Jones is an SEO from Detroit. By day he works as a manager of SEO & Analytics at SapientNitro where his team performs SEO for Fortune500 clients. By night he's either playing hockey or attempting to take over the world with his own websites - which he would have already succeeded in doing had it not been for those meddling kids and their dog. The views expressed here have not been paid for and belong only to Ryan, not any of his employers or clients. Follow Ryan on Twitter at: @RyanJones, add him on Google+ or visit his personal website: www.RyanMJones.com

Comments

  1. Hehe, so true about some of the SEO Marketing “experts” not really being experts at all…but to be fair just because a pier might not see someone as an “expert” that doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t have more expertise than the person who uses their services.

    There are varying levels of expertise in ALL industries and therefore some folks are simply more experienced than others…just because someone is less experienced than another doesn’t mean they have little to offer.