There are over 200 signals for ranking in Google and also a lot of outdated or wrong factors for increasing rank – here are the top 5 common misconceptions.
This theory was quickly debunked with experiment pages, people believed including your keywords in your websites code through CSS, classes, JS and other methods would increase the density and help rank for that keyword.
Northcutt tested this theory by ranking for obscure keywords only in the hidden elements, the keywords never ranked as they were never detected – disproving the theory.
Google Products are used as a ranking signal
Google Analytics, AdSense and AdWords are believed to be signals that influence the rank of your website. Some of these products can be used to improve your websites SEO but do not directly influence rank.
Matt Cutts confirmed in 2010 that Google Analytics is not used in search quality, however there is a lot of speculation around this and personally I am still on the fence. This is because Google has direct access to your website data and they can see how users are interacting on your website after they have clicked a search result. It makes sense that Google would use this information to confirm they are giving the user the best result – if your page is receiving a high bounce rate, surely it’s not the best result?
In regards to Google AdWords & AdSense – these products do not have any link to your organic results, the speculation insinuates that you are “bribing” Google which is false.
Outbound links leak PageRank
PageRank is the invisible signal that Google has for your website to determine how great your website is, this is gained through followed links from other websites.
Some people believe that have outbound followed links (links without the rel=”nofollow” attribute) will leak their websites PageRank and lower the value, this is completely wrong and actually quite the opposite. Having a followed link to another website which is relevant to your content helps build trust and authority about your topic – which is usually the main keyword you are ranking for.
You need the title attribute of inbound links
The title tag is an attribute used on ahref links (title=”description of the link”) which appears when you hover over a link before clicking.
Because of the name “title” it may have caused confusion with people thinking it acts as some sort of heading, this is not true – Google does not use this as a ranking signal. The title tag should only be used to improve user experience by showing more information about the link they will click. Hover over the link below to see an example.
.EDU and .GOV backlinks are more valuable
This myth refers to the domain extensions for .edu and .gov websites, it is understandable that there is confusion because sites which have these extensions are generally high authority sites.
However, the domain extension itself does not hold anymore weight than a .com or .co.nz extension.