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Cutts Talks SEO ‘Myths,’ Says To Avoid ‘Group Think’

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Cutts Talks SEO ‘Myths,’ Says To Avoid ‘Group Think’
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In the latest “Webmaster Help” video, Matt Cutts talks about SEO “myths”. He responds to this question:

What are some of the biggest SEO Myths you see still being repeated (either at conferences, or in blogs, etc.)?

There are a lot of them, he says.

“One of the biggest, that we always hear,” he says, “is if you buy ads, you’ll rank higher on Google, and then there’s an opposing conspiracy theory, which is, if you don’t buy ads, you’ll rank better on Google, and we sort of feel like we should get those two conspiracy camps together, and let them fight it all out, and then whoever emerges from one room, we can just debunk that one conspiracy theory. There’s a related conspiracy theory or myth, which is that Google makes its changes to try to drive people to buy ads, and having worked in the search quality group, and working at Google for over thirteen years, I can say, here’s the mental model you need to understand why Google does what it does in the search results. We want to return really good search results to users so that they’re happy, so that they’ll keep coming back. That’s basically it. Happy users are loyal users, and so if we give them a good experience on one search, they’ll think about using us the next time they have an information need, and then along the way, if somebody clicks on ads, that’s great, but we’re not gonna make an algorithmic change to try to drive people to buy ads. If you buy ads, it’s not going to algorithmically help your ranking in any way, and likewise it’s not going to hurt your ranking if you buy ads.”

Google reported its quarterly earnings yesterday with a 21% revenue increase on the company’s own sites (like its search engine) year-over-year. Paid clicks were up 26% during that time.

Cutts continues with another “myth”.

“I would say, just in general, thinking about the various black hat forums and webmaster discussion boards, never be afraid to think for yourself. It’s often the case that I’ll see people get into kind of a ‘group think,’ and they decide, ‘Ah ha! Now we know that submitting our articles to these article directories is going to be the best way to rank number one.’ And then six months later, they’ll be like, ‘OK, guest blogging! This is totally it. If you’re guest blogging, you’re gonna go up to number one,’ and a few months before that, ‘Oh, link wheels. You gotta have link wheels if you’re gonna rank number one,’ and it’s almost like fad.”

To be fair, some of this “group think” stuff has worked for some sites in the past until Google changed its algorithm to stop them from working .

He suggests that if somebody really had a “foolproof” way to make money online, they’d probably use it to make money rather than putting it in an e-book or tool, and selling it to people.

“The idea that you’re going to be able to buy some software package, and solve every single problem you’ve ever had is probably a little bit of a bad idea,” he says.

“It’s kind of interesting how a lot of people just assume Google’s thinking about nothing but the money as far as our search quality, and truthfully, we’re just thinking about how do we make our search results better,” he says.

Google’s total revenue for the quarter was up 19% year-over-year, which still wasn’t enough to meet investors’ expectations.

Image via YouTube

Cutts Talks SEO ‘Myths,’ Says To Avoid ‘Group Think’
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