When I work with clients on their projects, I often come across some misconceptions that some people seem to have about SEO that I felt it’s time to debunk them. If you would like to learn more about SEO, please review the Complete list of 200 SEO ranking factors, updated for 2018
1. Google uses Google Analytics Data
A very common SEO myth is that Google Analytics Data is fed into Google’s search algorithm to provide data about time on site and bounce rate. Now, bounce rate and page on site are very likely taken into account when available, however, they are not provided by Google Analytics Data but through a variety of other factors.
In 2010, Matt Cutts busted this myth in his video on Google Analytics and SEO. He clarifies that due to privacy concerns the Google Search team never receives data from the Google Analytics team.
This also makes sense if you consider that not every website has Google Analytics installed, so those that don’t would ultimately have a disadvantage. It is not in the interest of Google to disqualify a website with great content from showing on the site, over a logistical issue such as the lack of Google Analytics code on their site.
2. Google AdWords Ads Help with SEO
I think not a single client that I have helped with Google AdWords has never asked this question. 😉 While I am not sure how this rumour started, it is certainly a SEO myth.
AdWords allows your website to gain exposure in search results for keywords for which your website might not rank organically on the first page of search results. Hence, AdWords ads can give you access to a broader audience than your organic ranking, if the search term is very competitive.
SEO, on the other hand, refers only to competitiveness in organic search results. That said, AdWords can help with identifying relevant, conversion-driving keywords. These keywords can then be used to optimize important webpages and product pages.
The existence of TrustRank is yet another SEO myth. It all started with a “word mark” (note, it was NOT a patent as often claimed) Google filed in 2005, which has since been “abandoned.” When looking at the actual trademark application for this word mark it is easy to see that the abandonment date of that word mark is February 29, 2008.
Yet many SEO professionals still claim that TrustRank plays a “massive” part in search engine rankings. In 2007, Matt Cutts recorded a video clarifying that Google does not use TrustRank.
4. Links from .edu or .gov Domains Weigh More
Another question I get often is how a client can get links from .edu and .gov domains, because they have heard that these weigh more than links from other top-level domains. This is actually not the case, as Matt Cutts clarified in a 2010 video
5) Google Follows NoFollow Links
Google has confirmed in the past that it does not follow nofollow links.
I assume that this myth originated when Google issued a statement that “in general, we don’t follow them.” The same paragraph did clarify however, that “using
nofollow causes us to drop the target links from our overall graph of the web.” Google went on clarifying that “the target pages may still appear in our index if other sites link to them without using
nofollow, or if the URLs are submitted to Google in a Sitemap.”
If the whole context is taken into account, it becomes clear that Google DOES NOT follow nofollow links.
Up to you now. Please help spread the word to clear up these myths and start optimizing for what truly matters: great content, relevancy, and user experience. Thank you!