SEO best practices are constantly changing and evolving, so it can be tough to keep up with what's true, what's been exaggerated, and what SEO myths have made their way to the forefront. In fact, Google changes it's algorithm 500-600 times per year and has made 10 major updates already in 2014, so it's easy to see where SEO myths might get their start. To make matters even worse, SEO myths have also changed and evolved over the years.
Not being able to identify what may or may not be an actual myt can cause companies to alter their strategies incorrectly or miss out on opportunities. The more you can know and understand, the sooner your company can move forward with methods that really work.
Below lists some of the most common myths that we've seen in 2014, and unfortunately, they don't seem to be disappearing anytime soon.
Myth #1: Link building is over.
Link building as we used to know it--earning links on a large variety of websites, earning as many links as fast as possible, keyword rich anchor text, etc.--might be over, but general link building is definitely not over. Head of Google Webspam Matt Cutts wrote a blog post back in ___ that said guest blogging was over because it was producing too many spammy and unnatural links. He later clarified that guest blogging is a great practice, but only if links are earned naturally and through authoritative websites. In other words, links need to be for the benefit of the reader, not for SEO reasons.
Unfortunately, people took this to mean that link building was too risky and you would be penalized for external links. Companies then decided to put their energy elsewhere and avoid link building altogether. However, it's important to realize that what Cutts said changes nothing. Link building was always supposed to be for readers with SEO being just an added benefit. If you can maintain that purpose and build links on authoritative sites where they are relevant, link building is still an excellent practice and one of the single largest factors that determine where a website will rank.
Myth #2: Social media signals impact search rankings.
Everyone wants to believe this myth, and while it might be true someday, this is not yet the case. While posting on Google+ can help your site get indexed faster, your rankings will not change depending on how many people are in your circles, retweeting your content, becoming a fan of your Facebook, etc. Google has even made an official announcement saying that social signals do not affect your SEO.
However, you should still put a focus on social media for other reasons that could affect your rankings. For example, more people will see your content if you're sharing it to a relevant social audience, so more people are then likely to link back to it naturally (which will help your SEO). But social signals directly improving your rankings? That just isn't true.
Myth #3: It helps to optimize your anchor text with keywords.
Again, this was a best practice a while ago, but those days are over. Google wants to see that links are natural, so using anchor text like "click here" or "this article" appears much more natural than linking to something that says "best Italian food" or "cheapest design services." Keyword rich anchor text is a clear indicator that you built that link specifically for the purpose of SEO improvement and not for the benefit of readers. If you do optimize anchor texts, you're in serious danger of appearing to be over-optimizing for your website, which is a common SEO mistake many webmaster still make.
Myth #4: Nofollow links have no value.
This is one of those myths that has been around forever and just won't seem to go away. Although they don't pass PageRank, nofollow links do have value in the same way that social media has value--they help expose your brand to improve traffic, and they open you up to natural linking opportunities.
They are also crucial to your backlink profile. If Google sees that you have zero nofollow links, this will raise a red flag that you're only building links and not earning them naturally. The moral of the story: Nofollow links definitely have value (they always have), and they aren't something you should be ignoring any longer.
Myth #5: SEO Tools Alone Will Get Me To Rank.
There are many great SEO tools and software available for tracking, managing, and performing research for your campaigns. However, they alone won't get you to rank. Most tools and software programs are automated systems designed to provide best practice suggestions. These tools will guide you but they alone won't get your website to rank.