I’d like to introduce you to a new column I’ll be running as often as required. In case the title didn’t tip you off, I’ll be exposing SEO Myths and the SEOs that have decided to proliferate them across the industry. As I said, I’m hoping I won’t have to do this very often but I’m fed up with pompous SEOs spouting off at the mouth and getting offended when someone dares to question or correct them.
So, without further ado, I would like to present to you our first case study: Aaron
Prat Pratt of SEO Buzz Box. Recently Mr. Pratt posted an article in which he discussed the fall out from his site being hacked. In the article, he linked to a quote from Vanessa Fox which he claimed proved that Google uses inbound links (links pointing to your site) to categorize your site. Pratt then made the “logical” conclusion that having spam sites linking to your site would hurt your rankings. Let me go over that one more time. He claimed that spam sites linking to your site would hurt your rankings in Google. Then to finish the post off, he asked if anyone else was tired of being “collateral damage”.
Apparently Pratt skipped basic SEO 101 when Google taught us that “There’s almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index”. Also, this premise has been tested several different times, several different ways. If I recall correctly, one test even pointed 700,000 spam links at a single site and had no affect on the target site’s rankings whatsoever. So, if in fact Mr. Pratt’s site was hacked, it was likely the links FROM his site pointing to spam sites along with the incredibly spammy content that hurt his rankings, NOT the links from the spam blogs in the UK linking to his site.
When I pointed the error out Mr. Pratt responded by assuming that I must not have understood his post if I dared to question him. “Read my post again before you start making foolish claims.” And, I must have some sort of agenda to boot. “I also notice that you resent me, interesting.”
I did not misread his post and I do not resent Aaron Pratt or his site in the least. I simply wanted to correct error in his post. Normally I would have left it at that and you’d never be reading this post. However, after unsuccessfully trying to defend his position, Mr. Pratt decided to delete the post, the comments, and act like the whole issue never happened. I was hopeful that was an indication he had realized his error and decided not to perpetuate this myth any further. Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be the case… (Note: unfortunately this post has been deleted…hence the link to Google’s cached version)
So, Mr. Pratt, congratulations, you and your spam links myth have been the first (but probably not the last) to be exposed. Enjoy!
UPDATE: I feel the need to emphasize this point just a bit more. Pratt stated that his site was ranking well for Viagra terms and that his traffic was “through the roof” until he figured out what was going. Let me say that one more time, his site RANKED WELL for Viagra terms. RANKED WELL! One could make the logical argument that not only did these spam links not hurt his site, but obviously must have HELPED his site if he was ranking well for Viagra related terms. Those phrases are some of the most competitive terms around. If spam links hurt your rankings Mr. Pratt (or anyone else who’d like to take up the “Inbound links CAN hurt” position), how do you explain this?