Do you ever hear things and say to yourself, ‘that can’t possibly be true’? Or, after reading industry blogs and articles keep seeing the same inaccuracy being repeated over and over again even though you yourself know better?
Matt Cutts, Head of Webspam at Google hears this sort of stuff all the time. It’s part of his job, and spends time debunking or perhaps validating claims or questions with YouTube videos, made by people commenting on his previous videos.
1. Paying For Google AdWords = Higher Organic Rankings
The myth: If you pay for Google AdWords, you’ll rank higher in organic searches (as a sort of treat from Google)
The second myth, the exact opposite: That you’ll rank better in the organic search results if you don’t buy Google’s ads.
“We sort of feel like we should get those two conspiracy camps together and let them fight it all out,” Cutts said. “And whoever emerges from one room we can just debunk that one conspiracy theory.”
2. Google Changes Its Algorithm to Force People to Buy Ads
Another common myth, one that’s as devious as it is false, is that Google changes its algorithm to lower site traffic so that said site are forced to buy ads to compensate for such a drop.
“There’s a related conspiracy theory, or myth, which is Google makes its changes to try to drive people to buy ads. And having worked in the search-quality group, and working at Google for over 13 years, I can say, here’s the mental model you need to understand why Google does what it does in the search results.
“We want to return really good search results to users, so that they’re happy, so that they’ll keep coming back. That’s basically it. Happy users are loyal users, right? And so if we give them a good experience on one search, they’ll think about using us the next time they have an information need.
“And then, along the way, if somebody clicks on ads, that’s great. But we’re not going to make an algorithmic change to try to drive people to buy ads,” he said. “If you buy ads it’s not going to algorithmically help your ranking in any way, and likewise, it’s not going to hurt your ranking if
3. Best way to rank No.1? Black-hat techniques.
Cutts has said that he – and Google – wants webmasters to start thinking for themselves more, rather than rely on things they read on dodgey forums, and wants people to refrain from jumping on fads that promise number one ranks.
“Never be afraid to think for yourself,” Cutts said. “It’s often the case that I’ll see people get into kind of a group think.”
Cutts gave the examples of article directories, guest blogging, and link wheels as some “fads” people believed would help you to rank number one.
“And if you think about it, if somebody had a foolproof way to make money online, they would probably use that way to make money, rather than packaging it up into an ebook and selling it to people, or patching it up into a tool and selling that to people,” Cutts said.
4. SEO Tools Will Solve All Your Problems
Cutts has also issued warnings about SEO tools that promise the world: those that market themselves as the ultimate and only tool to rank number one on Google.
There are loads of automated SEO tools and software packages out there, sold on various webmaster and black hate forums, but despite their assurance, most of them leave footprints which Google will eventually track down.
“And so the idea that you’re going to be able to buy some software package and solve every single problem you’ve ever had, is probably a little bit of a bad idea,” he said. “I read an article recently where someone was talking about using some automated software package, and trying to do white hat SEO with it, which to me sounds like buying a gun and trying to use it as a hammer.
Cutts warns that you can potentially dig yourself into a hole.
“Just because somebody says they made a lot of money online doesn’t mean they really made a lot of money online,” Cutts said. “If they really made a lot of money online, they’d normally keep doing it, rather than tell you about it. So just approach some of the tools and services and products that you see on the various boards with a little bit of caution.”
No Myth – Give the searchers what they’re searching for
Rather than tricking Google into thinking your site should be placed at the top of its search engine, think of Google in the way it wants to rank pages, and think about how your site should be meeting these goals.
“And if you keep the mental model of, what is Google trying to do – we’re trying to return great search results for users – then that helps you figure out how to align yourself with those goals, because if you’re aligned with those goals, then we’re going to want return the high-quality pages that you’re making.
“If you’re not aligned with those goals, if you’re trying to do fly by night, churn and burn, black hat, spam, stuff that only lasts for a couple of weeks before we catch it, you’re always going to be working in opposition to the algorithms, and you’re always going to be working in opposition to regular users and what they want to see,” Cutts said. “So they’re going to be kind of angry when they run across your stuff if they’re at all tech savvy.”