In a recent article, the author, John Lyle, discussed some of the biggest “dirty tricks” that SEO gurus use to bury their clients and competition. In this article, I want to clarify the subject of “rel=canonical.” I’m not saying that you should never include rel=canonical in your website, but in my opinion it’s an extremely poor practice that should be avoided at all costs.
If you’re new to the business of optimizing a website, the first thing you should learn is what the search engines expect from you. While Google, Yahoo, and Bing all do a good job of keeping the algorithms and terms on their search engines up to date, none of them take care of their visitors directly.
The primary factors that they consider when determining what to display are user-friendliness, relevance, authority, and trustworthiness. When the search engines see that your website meets these criteria, they display it in the first three rows of the search results, regardless of the actual contents.
What you have to understand is that when these criteria are met, your website will often be placed higher in the rankings. This may come as a surprise to you, since Google often makes it appear that the more inbound links you have to your site, the better your ranking will be.
The logic behind this theory is simply that more links to your site mean higher ranking, which means more visitors and increased sales. However, this is simply not the case. The search engines don’t place emphasis on the quantity of links to your site.
What they take into consideration is the quality of the link and how that link is relevant to your site. In other words, they don’t care about how many backlinks you have, but the quality of the links that you have.
To illustrate the point, let’s take a look at a website that has a bunch of backlinks coming from “website A” but very few coming from “website B” and very few from “website C” and so on. The first website will certainly get some attention from the search engines, but the real winner here is in the “trustworthiness” of the links being submitted to that website.
The main purpose of a search engine optimization technique is to build links from relevant and high-ranking websites. If the website that your visitors land on is of low-quality and doesn’t relate to your niche, your visitors are just going to click off and visit another website.
While it’s true that you can place a link to a website without having any type of control over its content, if you want visitors to stick around for any amount of time, you have to offer them something of value and make them feel comfortable in visiting your site. This will keep them on your site longer, thus providing a higher chance of conversion and converting your visitors to customers.
Let’s go back to our “article with paragraph” example. Suppose that the visitor to your site didn’t like the paragraph, but liked the article; well, it’s not a good idea to place a link to that website.
In fact, the only legitimate reasons to put links on your site is if you have another page that contains valuable information to your visitors and that relates directly to your niche. Only in those situations would place a link to a secondary page be considered acceptable.
As John said in his article, there are plenty of dirty tricks out there. I’ve probably shown you enough that if you want to be a better marketer, then you need to take a good look at the topics that I’ve covered in this article.