Exposed: Search Engine Ranking Myths

In this age and time, even a hobbyist blogger understands the basics of SEO. Those who expect to make money from their blogs will undeniably put in significant effort in making their web sites more search engine friendly.

Here are what most people would focus their optimisation efforts on:

  • Achieving some sort of keyword density ratio in posts
  • Bolding or emphasizing keywords
  • Getting linked from other related web sites and blogs

Want to know something I’ve learned? All of the three things mentioned there have little (in fact it’s close to zero) effect on how well your site ranks for search results you’re gunning for. Continue reading if you want to find out why the above are literally duds when it comes to SEO.

Keyword Shouting Gets You Nowhere

Google and Yahoo! are established companies when it comes to Internet search technologies. Surely you’d think that they have probably gone past the kindergarten approach of search engine marketing?

Remember the days of mid-1990s when Google was just in its experimental stage and Yahoo! was the Internet search company? Do you remember how significantly irrelevant top search results are for almost anything you searched for?

Some smart people figured out that Yahoo! seems to like repetitive mention of keywords. The more you mentioned certain keywords, the higher you’d rank for that term.

This lead to one of the earliest forms of (blackhat) SEO: keyword repetition. Porn and warez related web sites are among the first to exploit Yahoo!’s love of repetition. Chances are if you searched for “Windows 95” back then, the first ten search results will be inundated with pages containing immense amounts of these keywords:

  • Windows 95 keygen
  • Windows 95 cracks
  • Windows 95 serial numbers
  • Windows 95 serials
  • Windows 95 retail serial
  • Windows 95 retail keygen
  • Windows 95 oem
  • Windows 95 oem iso
  • Windows 95 download

Thankfully nowadays, result pages are more relevant and tend to match significantly closer to what we’re looking for in the first place. Why? Simply because pages that are unrealistically saturated with keywords are ranked much lower or are totally ignored by modern search engines.

Bigger Does Not Necessarily Mean Better

Another old-school SEO technique employed is the act of bolding or emphasizing (and sometimes both) keywords. Traditionally, similarly marked up texts are meant to be highlighted for their importance in a body of text.

Innocently enough, the first generation search engines take this into account when ranking web pages. Again, blackhat SEOs spotted the trend of pages having bolded and emphasized keywords ranking higher in search results. The result was inevitable; bolded and emphasized keyword laden spam pages took over top spots in search result pages for lots of popular search terms.

Again, search engines overcame this problem by enhancing their relevance sorting algorithm. Artificially high amounts of bolding and emphasizing are no longer ranked so significantly. Soon, they were history as such pages are almost immediately penalised as spam pages.

Relatives Are Not The Only People You Would Be Linking To

“If you want to rank high for search term, you should get linked from other search termweb sites.”

This is one of those myths that sound so realistic that many automatically think they’re facts. Read my lips: relations doesn’t matter. Links are links!

Take a step back, and analyse this “related web links” theory a bit. Linux and Microsoft Windows are related. Both are operating systems. If you were to put this theory into practise, then only having them linked with each other would make them become “related web links”. Begin to see the ridiculousness of this concept?

Does this mean a link to Slackware Linux by New York Times bear little to no weight because they’re not related to one another at all? Does this mean McDonald’s and Burger King should link to each other to gain significant SEO boost because they are related?

Again, taking a step back, isn’t everything related if you zoom out a little bit? Now, does the “links from related web sites” theory sound a bit less realistic?

The most important thing to consider when linking is who you’re linking to. Do not link to link farms, splogs and any other web nasties. To put it simply, do not link to web sites that you won’t visit. It’s as simple as that.

I will be sharing two things that any webmaster can apply to his web site that will improve search engine rankings significantly in a post I’m composing. If you want to be the first to find out when it’s released, I suggest that you subscribe to HTNet’s RSS feed.

Tags: , ,

What Say You?

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>