The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) industry is full of myths as with any technical business where many of the clients don’t quite understand how the work is done. However, there’s also so much to learn about SEO that it would be practically impossible for anybody to know a lot without being completely immersed in the industry because of how rapidly it can change.
As a result, clients are often confused about why certain things are done and why they can have a positive or negative impact. In this article, we’ll take a look at the ten most common things that people don’t know about offsite SEO and why they matter.
Link Volume still Matters
Perhaps the greatest myth that has come about in the aftermath of Google Penguin is that link volume doesn’t matter and quality is the most important thing. While no SEO in their right mind would ever argue that quality doesn’t matter, experts also recognize that quantity is incredibly essential.
The factor most closely correlated to ranking on the front page of Google is the quantity of linking root domains. This tells us that the link volume is still incredibly relevant and therefore clients need to be getting as many links as possible while maintaining high-quality standards.
Anchor Text can Influence Rankings
Similarly, Google Penguin targeted anchor text incredibly hard, punishing sites for having a high percentage of exact match anchor text links. As you might imagine, when a penalty sweeps through the industry like Google Penguin did people tend to go to the opposite extreme. In this case, this meant proclaiming that anchor text doesn’t matter at all and you shouldn’t worry about it.
This is entirely false, anchor text is still a ranking factor and while it might not be as important as it once was or have the same leniency that doesn’t mean that you can’t use it for your benefit. Forgetting about anchor text completely is causing you to leave money on the table.
Additional Links from the Same Domain Have Less Value
In the same study we referred to earlier, we know that the most important ranking factor is the number of unique root domains linking to a page. As a result, we can deduce that the value of each additional link from a domain has less and less value. However, don’t confuse that with no benefit. These extra links can still help you to rank; they are just less potent than the first link you get to your site from a new domain.
Link building Isn’t Dead!
If you’re not working in the SEO industry day in and day out you’ll miss the daily proclamations that SEO is dead. Meanwhile, we’re helping our clients to rank in Google and bring in thousands of extra dollars. Link building is indeed not dead now, and we’re very confident that it won’t be for decades to come.
The Google algorithm is fundamentally built on valuing incoming links, it’s what separated it from the other search engines, and therefore it’s unlikely that will disappear anytime soon. Sticking your head in the sand and pretending that link building doesn’t work is crazy, especially when other business owners are ranking and banking tens of thousands of dollars extra each month.
No-follow Links Aren’t Worthless
While it’s hard to know whether no-follow links are used in calculating the rankings, it seems fair to assume that they have some small value. This is becoming more likely in the post-Google Penguin aftermath, whereby even the most significant sites in the world like Huffington Post have started to no-follow their links.
Either way, links are designed to allow readers to get from one page to another, and the purpose of SEO is to bring people to your website. Therefore, a link has value even if it’s never seen by Google, so long as people are using it to come to your site where they might become customers.
Forum and Directory Links Aren’t ALL Spam
Link quality is more important now than it’s ever been before, but that doesn’t mean that all of the tactics that have been used in the past are spam. There has been an extreme swing to only using outreach to gain backlinks in recent years and a proclamation that forums and directories are spammy.
But this statement needs to be clarified further because while some forums and some directories might be spammy, many aren’t. Links from a moderated forum or directory can have plenty of value not least because they can drive thousands of people to your website each month. But it might also surprise you how much SEO value they can have, especially if the linking page is pinned in a prominent page only one or two hops from the homepage.
Links Gain Value Over Time
Even throw-away links from new websites can become incredibly powerful over time, which is why it’s short-term thinking to only target the largest websites. Not only do sites tend to grow, gain links and therefore pass more value over time but many experts believe links increase strength over time.
This makes sense too, why would Google value a link that’s existed for one day the same as the one that’s been there five years? The length of time a link exists should correlate to its value, primarily if a page is regularly edited. While this is somewhat speculation, we do know that pages tend to earn links over time and therefore as they gain links more of that benefit will be passed to your pages through the links.
Linking Page Relevancy is Important
It’s not just about getting as many links from as many great websites as possible, the page that is linking to yours is incredibly vital. Ideally, they are closely related as possible because this tells Google that the link is coming from somebody else who has knowledge in the field and therefore their recommendation via a link should be considered to be more valuable. As a result, you should ideally try to earn links on relevant pages not just on relevant domains.
Surrounding Text Matters
Patents that Google has filed show that they consider not only the anchor text of a link, but also the words that come before and after the anchor text. This contextual text gives Google more information as to what the linking page is about and also in what context they are linking to your pages. For this reason, it’s advantageous to get links “contextually,” i.e., from within a relevant paragraph rather than by themselves on a links or resources page.
Picking the Right Agency is the Most Important Step
Finally, what you might not know about offsite SEO is that the most important thing you can do is to pick the right agency that doesn’t overcharge for SEO. It’s easy to misstep, especially if you’re doing your SEO yourself or hiring an inexperienced agency and the cost of these mistakes can be incredibly high especially when it comes to off site SEO.
We have many years of experience helping clients in the United States and abroad to rank for competitive keywords in their industry. Through our efforts, we’ve helped them to dominate their industry, bring in more customers and turn a more substantial profit. Much of this excellent track record can be attributed to our off site SEO work which we believe is a critical part of our overall digital marketing strategy for our customers.