Domaining MBA Monday: Common SEO Myths You Should Know In 2013

Domaining MBA MondayI’ve talked a lot about buying and selling domains in this series so I thought it was time to give a little love to the Domain Developers in the audience. Developing a domain name into a real business is a lot of work but can absolutely be well worth the reward if you can generate meaningful traffic and revenue. However I’m not talking about MiniSites, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, MiniSites are dead, but development is alive and well and SEO is a key part of the development puzzle, in fact it’s often where the traffic comes from.

The SEO world is full of myths that might sound good in book and blog posts, but don’t actually pan out. Some of these myths were originally true but many have become myths as Google and Bing have updated their algorithms over the years. The problem is, blog post talking about some SEO trick might have been popular in 2006 might still be out there on the net, even on the first page of Google because the site it’s on is a high-authority site. However a high-authority site can still have outdated content and it only takes another blogger reading this content to start the spread of misinformation, or myths.

I have been doing SEO since the mid-90’s and I’ve seen the game completely change while the same myths live on. It’s time to put those myths to bed, and where better to do it than in today’s MBA Monday. Ready? Let’s dispel some myths:

  1. The Longer A Domainer Is Registered For The Better It Will Rank – this myth was created a long time ago to encourage people to register domains for a longer period of time. Network Solutions definitely used it the most and certainly did trick a lot of people into doing 5+ year registrations to ensure their site ranked as best as possible. What they forget to mention is that it’s a completely disproven myth…but it is a great way to make more money for them! Matt Cutts from Google has come out himself and said that this is false so you can kick that myth to the curb.
  2. Backlinks From Blog Comments on High PR Blogs Are Incredibly Valuable – many SEO books and posts talk about the practice of posting comments on high-authority blogs to rank better for specific terms. This is a bit like using your neighbors WiFi so you don’t have to pay for it yourself. It used to work when nobody had secured their WiFi networks but now it’s next to impossible. The same is true for blog comment backlinks. There was a time when some major blogs had “Do Follow” links allowed in their comments, now 99% of the blogs out there provide “No Follow” links. If you have tons of “No Follow” links this will now hurt, not help your link profile.
  3. Automated Tools Can Generate A Large Volume Of Valuable Backlinks – ah the good old days! There also was a time where automated tools could build very valuable links, that did really happen and I know many people (myself included) that saw some great results from this. That was quite a while ago and now many of these tools will actually get you de-listed or hurt your rank for the exact terms you want to rank better for. The rules of SEO have changed but many of the tools haven’t – remember, they make money selling the tool, not building a better tool.
  4. An Exact-Match Domain Will Get You On The First Page Of Google – this one has always been a myth. Having a good domain can absolutely impact your rank, but much of that impact comes from more people clicking on exact-match domains than any SEO powers the exact-match domain itself has. No matter how you slice it an exact-match domain will not get you on the first page of Google for a competitive term. An exact match domain with solid backlinks from sites like New York Times, TechCrunch, etc. could definitely get you where you want to be, but it’s not the exact-match domain itself, it’s all about what you do with it.
  5. .COM Ranks Better Than .NET Or .ORG – this is another myth that has never been true. Matt Cutts from Google has said it himself many times, a .COM has no ranking advantage to a .NET or .ORG. There are plenty of competitive search terms where non exact-match .NET and .ORG names outrank their .COM counterparts. Once again it all comes down to what you do with the domain. The value you will get from a .COM domain will often be type-in traffic, which is a very good thing, but has nothing to do with SEO. More traffic is always good so to maximize traffic having a .COM gives you an advantage, but a .COM has no advantage over .NET or .ORG when it comes to ranking well in Google.

There are more myths out there! Feel free to share some myths you’ve heard or ask about something you think might be a myth. Comment and let your voice be heard!

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • J S January 7, 2013, 6:24 pm

    Nice article Morgan!

    One thing I will say, if I have had many EMD’s for low competition searches rank page #1 and many times in the top 3. Its been a while since I have played with this, but in the past it has worked very well.

    I would also believe the word’s in the URL even after the extension continue to match. On one of my sites I have many long tailed post’s that hit #1 for their respective term and where alot of traffic comes from. I have done 0 SEO for this site.

    Cheers

    Reply
  • Morgan January 7, 2013, 7:29 pm

    @JS – thanks, really glad you liked it! While there are exact-match domains that rank well for low competition search terms this has much more to do with simply having a site in that niche vs. having an exact-match domain.

    There are small bonuses for the domain itself however you are correct that the internal page name is valuable. Also remember that many longtails are easy to rank for and might not need much SEO work.

    SEO really comes into play when you’re trying to rank well for high-competition, high-CPC search terms.

    Reply
  • Donny M January 7, 2013, 10:41 pm

    Good article.

    On the EMD, Def very important to have. The reason why is many people will look at the url for a trust factor. If you have org, net or even a dash in the name people will still tend to click the add or even URL that sounds more trusting and that would be the .dot. I always do but that is me.

    For example, If anyone did a campaign on google and lets say you had two domain names. Which one will get a higher conversion. It will be the .com with out the dash. In Seo it is the same way with results. The .com will always have a higher conversion. That is not to say you cant do it with a .net but why would anyone do that knowing that such a trust factor exists.

    First one- CaliforniaPlumbers1.net
    Second one CaliforniaPlumbers1.com This one would win.

    Donny-M
    IMO

    Reply
    • Morgan January 8, 2013, 10:00 am

      @Donny M – good point and agreed. In a head-to-head battle .COM will beat other TLDs for conversions. That being said, this is less about SEO and more about how strong the .COM brand is and how well people respect it. The only caveat here is .ORG domains which I would think have higher conversions for people searching for non-profits. Remember your average web user sees a .ORG domain and assumes it’s a non-profit, many people don’t realize that anyone can register these names.

      Reply
  • JG January 8, 2013, 3:12 am

    Great article Morgan, and very timely as we are just refining our SEO at http://www.artFido.com now and have been advised by many SEO companies that they can quickly improve our ranking on google by implementing many of the things that you refer to in your article that no longer work or have been dismissed by google themselves! Thanks so much for taking the time to write the article. Cheers

    Reply
    • Morgan January 8, 2013, 9:57 am

      Thanks for the positive feedback @JG, really glad you enjoyed the article! Now it is more important than ever to really screen your SEO company to make sure they know what they’re doing.

      Reply
  • Jon January 9, 2013, 7:27 am

    Thanks for clearing up some of these misconceptions Morgan, yes automated backlink tools should be avoided like the plague.

    Reply
  • Dangerous Google SEO January 14, 2013, 7:13 pm

    @morgan,

    RE #2, While NOFOLLOW links don’t help your pagerank, they DO help your link count. YES, i’d much rather get a do follow link withIN a blog rather than the comments. But Google isn’t going to penalize a site because millions of people comment about it and link to it in blog comments. Google can’t tell if 1 person left 1000000 comments or if a million people did.

    The Following Are Checklist Items I’d Like to Contribute:

    0. Use Google+.
    Google is pushing it really hard right now.

    1. Don’t guess at your keywords.
    – use google adwords traffic estimator to accurately plan
    – create emotionally surprising content for that keyword and related alternates
    – compare traffic vs ctr vs conversion.
    (the terms that bring the biggest traffic don’t always bring sales)

    2. If you’re not a professionally trained writer, hire a college student for $35.
    Google reads grammar. You’ll get penalized

    3. Phone call bloggers.
    Ask them to link to you. Offer unrefusable value back. They never get calls. You’ll stand out.

    4. Use a high speed server.
    Google wants to feel fast. They can’t if you’re site takes longer than 2 seconds to load. Use a site like Pingdom or other to test yours.

    5. Join 20 DOFollow Discussion Forums.
    Do NOT use the signature to place links. It’s all duplicate content. Personally write DIFFERENT signatures with varying anchor text links to your site.

    6. Use Reddit under the right SUBREDDIT. It’s DoFollow.
    And bloggers link to Reddit all the time

    7. Don’t use directory links.
    There’s an actually Google HELP doc that say’s you’ll be considered spammy

    Partially stolen from sparkah.com/guerrilla-marketing-strategies

    Reply

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