In search-engine land there are a few SEO myths and common believes, which anyone who is in the business will hear a number of times while navigating from blog-to-blog. A few times these Internet legends turn out to be true; way more often, they are revealed to be as real as the Bigfoot. Sometimes they are the remnants of a distant past. Other times they originate from hearsay and people who do not know what they are doing, and yet, in a few instances, they originate from Google themselves. Are they lying on purpose? It could be, but it might as well be the case that something that was true three years ago may no longer be so today. Based on my experience, I can say that the statements which follow are totally false.
Google Does Not Take Into Account No-Follow Links
Ever since I opened this site, I have been noticing that no-follow links were affecting my rankings. In one instance, I got thirty-four no-follow-contextual links from one low-PR Web site. The site does not have a lot of traffic; Majestic SEO’s citation flow and trust flow average to thirteen. For those who do not know, Majestic SEO is a service that assesses the authority of a Web site. Thirteen is pretty low. Thanks to those no-follow links, I am ranking number three on page one for five different, low-competition keywords. I have no other links whatsoever pointing to the article that is ranking. The links were obtained naturally, i.e. the webmaster liked my article and linked to it. Some will argue that I may just be ranking by means of on-site optimization. I do not think so, so here is a more convincing example. I got a no-follow link from a very high-PR Web site pointing to an article I wrote. Before getting the link, I was nowhere to be seen in search, for those keywords. After I secured that link, I started climbing the SERPS slowly, finally ending on page two of Google, until the Web master decided to delete my link because he decided that my site was garbage, and did not feel comfortable with a link pointing to it. About two weeks later, I disappeared from search for the keywords in question. After I had restructured my site to look more professional, I resubmitted the link for re-evaluation, and it was re-inserted back. A week later, I was ranking on page three of Google for that search phrase again. Rather than links being no-follow or do-follow, it is the quality of the links themselves that seems to matter the most. For instance, blog comments, forum signatures, profile links and the like seem to have no effect on SERPs. In some cases, I have noticed some do-follow blog comments may have had a negative impact on my rankings for some of my articles. However, I would not put my hand on fire for this, as I would do for the validity of no-follow links. Anyone who believes that Google is not able to distinguish between a blog comment and a contextual link is severely underestimating the intelligence of the Google Bots. What matters is how the link was obtained and in which context it is being placed. The differentiation of No-Follow from Do-Follow links has likely little or no effect on the influence such links have on SERPS, although there is no question that No-Follow links cannot pass Pagerank.
Verifying Authorship With Google Will Give a Massive Boost To a Site’s Rankings
Maybe it is still a little early to tell with the same certainty I had when stating that No-Follow links effect SERPs. However, I have verified both the author and the publisher for my Web site and nothing happened. To verify authorship and publisher status, a Google Plus Profile is needed for author verification and a Google Plus Page is needed as a publisher. Verifying authorship and publisher status is very simple. I will post a tutorial on how to accomplish both tasks in the coming weeks. I was about to include it here, but I would go off-topic, and lose my train of thought. Aside from not improving SERPS, author verification can prove itself to be a double-edged sword especially for those who engage in guest blogging. Thanks to their Author Rank, Google have the means to identify the author of any article, regardless of where it is published. For the sake of the argument, suppose I am the owner of moneyearningsites.net and I guest blog on The Great Rebellion Web site. If I am verified as an author on both sites, Google will know that the person who is publishing articles on The Great Rebellion, and endorsing The Money Earning Sites Central in the process, is also the owner of the latter. This would make it extremely easy for them to devalue all such links, or even worse apply penalties to those who do not use rel=nofollow. Guest blogging is one of the few remaining white hat strategies that webmasters are left with to help their sites rank better. There is no reason to consider it a gray or even a black hat method in my opinion. If the blog owner is allowing an author to post on his site he is endorsing that person and the content he writes, thus implicitly endorsing the author’s site too. Of course, some people engage in poor quality and paid guest blogging, but there is no reason to consider this as a separate practice from buying links in general. I am hoping that when Google decides to tackle the issue of guest blogging, they do not put all eggs into one basket, and make a clear distinction between garbage and quality content. Hope for the best and expect the worst, though. Therefore, I shall be using two separate Author accounts: one for guest blogging and one for publishing on my own site. Even then, they will still be able to link all my articles I publish on other people’s blogs together, and, eventually, figure out my purposes easily. Trying to avoid verifying authorship for guest posts completely may be the best option. This is not always possible because some bloggers require from their guests to have passed Author Verification. In short, as I always say, we are living in hard times, but we better be prepared for even more hardships in the coming years, months or even weeks.
The moral of the story is that in Internet marketing and SEO in particular, sometimes it is best to test ot firsthand what works and what does not.