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SEO Myths – part 1

  • Post published on 11 Apr 2015 by Marta Gryszko

This time I decided to discuss three SEO Myths that like to be repeated among us. Some of them are rather new but one has been around for a few years and this will be the one I’m gonna start with. I hope you’ll like it and comment on my article.

Myth no 1 – Website traffic influences its Google rankings

One of SEO bloggers has written that even a temporary rise in website traffic can influence its rankings in Google. It was supposed to be only a few days.

Some time ago I conducted a test to check that myth. I chose the website that had not been given any new backlinks for a long time before the test so that any other element couldn’t influence the result of the test. That’s how the weekly statistics looked like during the test period:
The changes in Google rankings for this website didn’t change more visibly than before the test had started. No effects was noticed as the result of the rise in numer of visits. Even though this myth seems to be quite possible. First of all I decided to conduct the test on the so called second-hand domain (the one that had already been used my another owner before I bought it) which didn’t have an ideal history for such tests. This it the main reason of why this domain has never had any high rankings. Second of all, if I wanted to see bigger changes in rankings, the test should have lasted much longer and the traffic should have characterized with not only high traffic, but also long average time on website and low Bounce Rate, as well as other elements that would have proven the quality of website.

To sum up, I would mark this myth as possible.

Myth no 2 – The title tag is one of the strongest ranking factors

The title tag seems to have lost its strengt over the last few years, especially when it comes to websites with stable rankings that are usually the efect of another factors rather than only the website’s title (ie. content and backlinks). I’ve noticed that changes in titles haven’t given the effects so fast as a few years ago. It’s still a strong ranking factor in Google but its change (ie. removing the main keyword) not always influence the drop in rankings at least about 10 positions. For a website with top rankings it doesn’t matter if we change the main keyword or some of the long-tail keywords, as the changes will be almost invisible.

I conducted a few test for that and only in one case I noticed huge drop in rankings, but only for niche keywords. What’s worth mentioning is the fact that those phrases were the one that had rather low ranking as it was between 11 and 20 position. The rest of them which had higher rankings hadn’t change.

Just like before, also this one I mark this myth as possible.

Myth no 3 – Google is going to introcude a new algorithm called Knowledge-Based Trust (KBT)

The news about the change which was supposed to be intruced by Google was passed by after publishing the document titled “Knowledge-Based Trust: Estimating the Trustworthiness of Web Sources”.

OK, let’s make it clear: this document is only a detailed description of some tests and suggestion to base on the trustworthiness of the website during setting rankings. This trusthworthiness was supposed to steam from the analysis of whether a website publish facts or information that hasn’t been fully confirmed yet. It is confirmed by the information in the source material:

We propose a new approach that relies on endogenous signals, namely, the correctness of factual information provided by the source.

We note that source trustworthiness provides an additional signal for evaluating the quality of a website. We discuss new research opportunities for improving it and using it in conjunction with existing signals such as PageRank (…)

As you can see, there’s no mention about planning to remove the Google PageRank from search engine’s algorithm in order to introduce a whole new algorithm. We can only see the information that it the trusthworthiness may be a usefull ranking factors if we mix it with some old ones, including PageRank.

It lookes like some of us have moved too far with their interpretation of the information about the document we’re discussing. We even have a confirmation from a Googler John Mueller who told us it’s only a research material. Here’s the link to the video:

This time I find the myth busted.

That’s all for now. If you like the way I write about myths, don’t forget to leave a reply and I’ll try to publis this sort of information more often.

Marta Gryszko

I've been working on SEO since 2005, focusing on long-tail SEO. I'm a partner at Wake App - the owner of SEO tools such as SEO Station and Brandle. I also own a SEO company: INFEO Marta Gryszko. Follow me on Google+ and Twitter.

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