Somewhere along the line some marketing executives and managers seem to have picked up a lot of “knowledge” about SEO – I get it recounted to me daily when taking enquiries – and it’s usually nonsense. Some of it is simply three or four years out of date, some of it was always nonsense. Astonishingly you still see some of it appearing in the poorer seo forums as well. Here’s five of the most common.
1. The more traffic you get the higher your rankings will be.
How would the search engines know? Have they been reading your log files? Maybe in a more developed web that made such information easily obtainable this might be possible but not currently.
2. Using PPC advertising will improve your rankings
Much as the conspiracy theorists would like to think so there’s no evidence to suggest that this is true. And it would be self-defeating for the serch companies as you could use adverts to get yourself into a stronger position where higher visibility in the natural search results would attract links so that the site could then drop the adverts but maintain their rankings.
3. Putting all your keywords in image alt tags/noscript tags/comments will help your ranking
Once upon a time you could do some of this and get away with it. Now if you put different text in noscript tags from what is visible to the normal user it is regarded as a basic form of cloaking. Comment tag content is read but discarded unless there’s so much of it that it’s regarded as a span attempt. alt text is read and indexed but is given much less weight than was once the case, while keyword stuffing of the tags is considered spam.
4. Google can read Flash so it’s ok to build Flash-only sites.
While it’s true that the latest versions of Flash allow some very basic reading of content there is no structure to it and it thus has very little importance. Flash navigation is still a problem for spiders too so your internal pages will not be spidered . A properly structured html site will always beat a Flash side under current conditions.
5. You should only swap links with sites which have high PageRank.
Toolbar PageRank, which is all you can see, is a waste of time. It’s seldom updated and is not really indicative of the real underlying figure. People have got hung up on PR as indicating the quality of a site – it doesn’t and never did. It’s all maths and indicates the chances of a random surfer landing on the site in question.
There are far more important things to think about when trying to get links from another site – quality of its content, relevance of the site to yours, whether the users if the two sites will find them useful, future prospects of the other site. Forget PageRank.