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SEO TACTICS and NO-NOs - True or False?





littlegiant
It amazes me how much disagreement many webmasters (and webmaster forums) are in about some specific SEO tactics and no-nos.

At least three come to mind -

It is commonly held that:

1) The link text in back links has a great bearing on SEO. However, there are some experts who claim that it has no effect whatsoever and that it's only the back link itself that counts (how many there are and where they're coming from).

2) The text put in heading tags (h1, h2, h3, etc) has a great bearing on SEO. Experts disagree and say that text in headings tags has no effect on SEO.

3) You can be penalized by search engines for putting up site mirrors. Experts claim that there is no so-called 'duplicate content' penalty. The most that can happen is that the page carrying the original content gets a lower ranking in SERPs than a page carrying the duplicate content.

So what's your position on these issues?

Also if you can think of other controversial SEO tactics and no-nos, post them here. And when I say 'controversial', I mean stuff that webmasters can't agree on rather than known so-called 'black hat' SEO tactics.
SoftStag
These are my opinions:
1) Anchor text in backlinks does have an effect. Do a search on "click here" and you will end up with Adobe's website at the top. Look at this page, and there is no text saying "click here". This is purely down to backlinks. There are also many famous backlink exercises that have been done, known as Google Bombs.
2) This does make a difference, just don't put everything in a <h1> tag!
3) Mirror sites can cause problems, but it is not significant. Search engines prefer original content, duplicate content is not beneficial.
littlegiant
That's a good point about Googlebombing and anchor text. I wonder why some of the so-called experts who are dubious about the importance of anchor text in back links haven't taken that into account.
SoftStag
littlegiant wrote:
That's a good point about Googlebombing and anchor text. I wonder why some of the so-called experts who are dubious about the importance of anchor text in back links haven't taken that into account.

Personally I wouldn't trust these people. They are giving bad advice, and there is clear proof.
mathiaus
1) Don't know. It would be logical either way but what about images?

2) Heading tags should define headings. Title of your page and sub headings. Their important but not as important as the actual content underneath them.

3) Their is a duplicate content penalty. When I used to use 2 different domains for the same site, google banned one of them. In the end I had to use 301 redirection. Search engines like unique content!
ncaditya
These are yes and no for different search engines.

MSN still uses the keywords on the page, meta tags, alt images. Google dumped meta tags long ago as they could easily be spammed.

Regardless of what they say it is much wiser to implement all those things that standard manuals on seo say. There is no loss, only gain.

Truly
Aditya
littlegiant
Mathiaus, when you say Google 'banned' one of your sites, do you mean it got completely delisted? As in, a search for your duplicate domain URL came up empty? Or did it just get no rankings? I'm very interested in this as I recently just went through a little issue with someone copying a large chunk of content off one of my sites. Also which domain did they ban? The original or the duplicate? (The duplicate I would imagine...?)
SoftStag
littlegiant wrote:
Mathiaus, when you say Google 'banned' one of your sites, do you mean it got completely delisted? As in, a search for your duplicate domain URL came up empty? Or did it just get no rankings? I'm very interested in this as I recently just went through a little issue with someone copying a large chunk of content off one of my sites. Also which domain did they ban? The original or the duplicate? (The duplicate I would imagine...?)

The problem is, Google might not know which is which.

You should put a copywrite notice on all your pages, if you are aware that someone has "stolen" a large part of your site, then contact them and tell them they are in breach of copywrite, if they don't remove it you can take legal action against them and their host.

If Google does ban you, write to them and explain the situation, they can be understanding!
eruct
Google themselves claim that backlinks play an important role in their PageRank algorithm. So I don't know how the 'experts' can refute that. Obviously different search engines use different methods but if you are going by google, which most people do, backlinks help.
Phil
One other debate is the use of Meta Tags. When I first got into web design it was common practice to cram as many descriptive words into the "keywords" tag and have long rambling descriptions in the other tags. Now the practice is to put just a few words that are also contained in the content of the document.
littlegiant
eruct, I don't think anyone (certainly not myself) was disputing the value of backlinks. What I was talking about was the actually link text used in backlinks. And despite the Googlebombing effect, I think there is some truth to overusing the same link text with regards to backlinks. What Google apparently looks for in backlinks is the most natural form of backlinking which is simply people finding your site informative and important enough to want to link to it. In this situation, it's unlikely that everyone will use the exact same link text to link back to your site. Hence if you're getting a lot of backlinks all using the same link text, it could be regarded by Google as an unnatural. Also regarding, Googlebombing, reportedly changes were made to Google's algorithm in February 2005 which rendered Google bombs largely (not entirely but mostly) ineffective from that point on.
nappa
The only way we can know for sure is we have to see the google bot's crawling algorithm, that's why we never know Smile
Marston
Who exactly are these "experts"?
littlegiant
Quote:
Who exactly are these "experts"?


I'd rather not say. However research I've done since has proven to me that some of the most revered 'experts' on the subject of SEO are really a bunch of numbnuts. About all I can say is if you're going to start studying SEO, DO YOUR HOMEWORK and use different sources. There's a lot of bad information out there.
Marston
Well put, I couldn't agree more. Wink
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