This post is the English translation of Le 10 cagate SEO di cui non si dovrebbe parlare più by Lowlevel.it
FOR NEVER AND EVER AGAIN
Years are passing and new people start their SEO adventure into Marketing World, and punctually we can see some old questions coming out like never dyeing zombies.
The problem is that also some SEOs who supposedly should know that those are no no questions, start having doubts.
IMO it is the time to finally shot a silver bullet to those mythical questions, remember why they are crappy questions and proceed discussing about more important and relevant things.
This one is my personal list of the ten crappiest mythical SEO questions. Feel free to refer to this post if in the future if someone (a newbie or a client or your Marketing VP) will ask you one of them.
Every time I hear or read this question, I noticed that none specify important for what?
We SEOs often have a monothematic state of mind, and for many of us this function is usually referred to rankings; therefore what implies to rank higher.
In a Search Engine reality things are more complex and PageRank is used by Google in more than just one context.
And even though its direct influence in how Google rank a page in the SERP is not as strong as in the beginning, Google still use it as a factor that helps it in taking important decisions.
For instance, it has been noted that sites or sections of a site with more PageRank are those ones that are crawled more deeply by Googlebot. In the case of big sites, this cause that a bigger number of pages are cached by Google, therefore there is a higher probability for them to be visible and ranking in the SERP.
But we are talking about PageRank and not the Google bar PageRank. That green bar has never been a real measure of the PageRank of a page, but simply a sort of “simulation”. Google gave it like a gadget to the users, but many SEOs and webmasters transformed it in a sort of phallic totem to use to show to the world that they have it bigger than others.
It is not strange that in the last version of the Google bar the green bar has been removed from the default tools.
And I think it is time to start saying: who still talks about PageRank has a small dick.
2. Is it better the hyphen or the underscore?
Apart you and maybe my mom, no serious SEO asks this question since year 2K.Use the one that make it easier the linking with the URL and that is more comfortable for the users to type.
3. Why has my PageRank decreased?
This question comes out often because a webmaster (or the owner of the site) has observed a decrease in the Google bar Page Rank, i.e. from 4 to 3, and he believes that the Real Page Rank has decreased too.
But maybe it is not so; maybe the Real Page Rank has increased.
Ok, this may sound illogical: if the Real Page Rank rises, why the green bar metric should decrease instead?
Maybe because the green bar never measured the Real Page Rank. Doh!!
And in those cases that the Real Page Rank has diminished, that happens because your inbound links are garbage and have been discounted, or because you have lost backlinks for any reasons and never thought to continue growing your link profile with quality links (sorry if I used “links” too many times in a phrase).
4. Are dropdown menus to be considered hidden text?
This question arises because people thinks that Search Engines want to punish who uses hidden text, which is false. Search Engines punish the fraudulent use of the hidden text.
Therefore the right question should be not about the use, but about the purpose of the hidden text: Are you using hidden text to present to the Search Engines content that you don’t want to show to your visitors?
If the answer is No, then don’t panic and archive this question.
The dropdown menus are used to solve design needs, hence they are not a trick punished by Google.
5. What is the right keyword density?
If someone asks this question, call the exorcist.
Keyword density has never been used by the Search Engines to establish how a page is related to a query.
The reason why keyword density has become so popular along the years is because also a lichen can understand it. In fact it is a simple percentage calculation.
To use keyword density is like desiring to be an aerospace engineer studying the steam engines.
If you hear an SEO talking about keyword density, you know you have found a scammer, or simply someone who has some problems in understanding the real nature of the Search Engines.
6. Why Google has penalized my site?
Usually the correct answer is: because it deserved it. But sometimes happens that what you think it is a penalization, really it isn’t.
A penalty is a special and deliberately punitive measure, determined by the engine to a person who has voluntarily and knowingly been naughty.
In all other cases, where there is no will to cheat the Search Engine by the webmaster / SEO, it is highly probable that the loss of positions is not caused by a penalty but by a simple application of the ranking algorithms.
The distinction may seem academic but is very practical.
Psychologically we can explain this penalty obsession if we understand how many SEOs look at Google as the castrating father and themselves as the wayward son who always feels guilty. This causes that SEOs believes that every ranking drop is the consequence of an incomprehensible punishment unjustly inflicted.
Hence the practical problem: when it is assumed that any phenomenon is a punishment, an SEO tends to wonder what he did wrong, when in fact the reason for a decrease of visibility could be that were not made enough good
things. In this case, the solution to the problem may consist in improving what has been done so far, instead of wandering in search of the specific underlying cause of a penalty that does not exist.
Of course there are the actual penalties due to spamming. But if you’re a spammer you should know how to distinguish a penalty from a normal ranking drops and knowing how to manage both.
So, stop asking why Google beat us with a knotty club, because those who did not do spam deliberately lose positions simply because the algorithms change and he was not good enough as an SEO. End.
7. Why my Alexa Rank has dropped?
Are you kidding me?
Maybe you were living in the dark side of the Moon in the last decade, and don’t know that we have evolved and that no person also with a minimum grade of intelligence takes into account that metric (and especially if the monitored site is not an American one).
8. Do Adsense and Adwords influence the organic rankings?
Let me tell you a secret… there are two Google:
- a technological Google;
- a commercial Google.
They speak but do not annoy each other.
Although you’ll find people who are willing to bet his own mom and maybe her pretty cousin on the opposite of what I’m about to say, the truth is that corporate investments in AdWords (or the lack of investment in AdWords) have no direct effect on organic results.
Those who are convinced of the contrary fails miserably in understanding that Google makes more money by avoiding influences between the two systems: organic and advertising. It ‘s logic that escapes to entrepreneurs who seek maximum immediate gain but should be understandable to anyone with a business vision based on the acquisition of more long-term trust.
This dichotomy is really the key that allowed Google to wipe out all competition in a world that, when Google was born, was full of Search Engines mixing organic results and advertising as if they were Rum and Coca Cola for a Cuba Libre.
Same story with AdSense.
However … the engineers at Google who are pursuing the highest quality of organic results are certainly interested in acquiring as many signals as possible about websites. If these signals can be extracted through the AdSense script published on the websites, I do not exclude that this “data mining” can happen, now or in the future.
The simplest example that comes to mind is the identification of sites’ networks that refer to the same subject: an AdSense’s code common between sites corresponds to an explicit statement about the nature of the network itself. This statement is not by itself a good thing or bad, but we must be aware that when Google prefers providing a variety of subjects in the SERP, so a network belonging to the same person might have less chance to dominate them.
9. Is the meta tag keywords important?
Simple and fast answer: no.
If you answered yes, you are living in Jurassic Park.
10. The 10th crap mythical question is yours…
So, if you have heard one crappy question, please share it in the comments.