SES Berlin 2010: SEO Mythbusters

Good morning everyone! Welcome back to another session at SES Berlin 2010. The next session of the day is called “SEO Mythbusters” – and the panel looks pretty awesome: We do have Martin Sinner (Idealo) who will be moderating and as panelists there are Heiko Eckert (bigmouthmedia), Ralph Tegtmeier (fantomaster), Johannes Beus (Sistrix) and Dominik Wojcik (Rocket Internet). Nice!

Not sure, but from what I think (at least this happened last year) everyone of the panelists will share one (or maybe more…) of their favorite SEO myths and afterwards this session will turn into a Q&A. So I’m trying to cover those and some of the interesting questions and of course the answers from the panel. Let’s go!

Here we go – Martin introduces the panel… but doesn’t know what the conference language is. Haha, nice. Martin, we’re in Germany – it’s German of course 😉

High page rank = top rankings: Completely not true, Dominik states that the PR is more or less useless. At least as a single metric. Johannes adds that it’s not that simple – if you do have a site and want to boost 80.000 sites into the Google index it’s not possible with a PR 0. So yes, as a metric in correlation with others, you can look at it. But pay attention if a domain had a PR and gets “N/A” shown – that might be not so good 😉

Meta keywords are important: Martin asks the question if someone believes in keywords – no one raises their hands. OK we skip that one, crystal clear.

AdWords placements / bookings do correlate with your rankings: OK that one was easy – all panelists agree on that not being the case.

W3C validation does help you with your rankings: Dominik is first and clearly states that this one does not help. Johannes adds that not even the Google start page being valid this truly is not the case. This was also confirmed by Google.

Submission services in “12.000” search engines: Nooope… you don’t need that sh*t.

Google knows about every paid link: Great statement on this by Ralph which is not FSK 18 – can’t post it though. LOL! Johannes adds that you really need to be careful, don’t buy links that are obviously paid – this will be detected and penalized.

Good content does need no links: Dominik states that you need links, no matter what. Without is doesn’t work – but obviously it depends on the competition. If it’s really long tail maybe it works without – but otherwise not.

Links cannot harm your (existing) rankings: Johannes says that there definitely are links that can harm. So don’t believe in that propaganda out there and make sure you keep a close eye on your inbound links! Ralph mentions that – using tools like xrumor – you surely can kill a domain within days.

Keywords within the URL-path help with rankings: Nope, but it’s about conversion – so make sure you have those keys in there to make people click.

In Dublin (or Mountain View) are people manually defining settings for a domain: Ralph says that a least sometimes it looks like there a hand-jobs in place – especially on very high-competitive markets. Johannes notes that Google really wants to do such things using an algorithm, everything else would be way too much work. So generally it’s better for them do find technical solutions on these issues.

Really good session – thanks to the panelists! I’m out for the lunch break – make sure to check back later for the afternoon coverage here on StateOfSearch.

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About Bastian Grimm

Bastian Grimm is founder and CEO of Grimm Digital. He mainly works as online marketing consultant with a strong focus on organic search engine optimization (SEO). Grimm specializes in SEO strategy consulting, website assessments as well as large scale link building campaigns.

  • All good stuff, except for “Keywords within the URL-path help with rankings” – is that really the case? If so I’ve been doing it wrong all this time. 🙂

  • Bastian

    Barry maybe is was Not clear on this. Its Not a Ranking Factor but a conversion Thing for sure!

  • @Bastian: aye that’s why I’m confused, I thought it WAS a ranking factor…. Do you know of any source that indicates that keyword-rich URLs are not a ranking factor?

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  • @Barry: Well it surely does help with rankings if you look at the “full scale” – lets say you have keyword rich domain and get a link on this where the anchor is just the url. That again would include a relevant keyword and of course help with rankings. Besides that I don’t have a source, sorry.

  • Steffen

    iirc even seomoz made a research for that almost 1,5 years ago – if i remember correctly even with Heikos support – and they proofed what Heiko said in the panel today

  • @Steffen: interesting, do you have a link to a source on SEOmoz or somewhere else?

  • Steffen

    @Barry this was exactly what I did right now but I can’t find it whereas I’m sure they got it… well, maybe it’s in the paid-area or somewhere.. got to check my mailbox tomorrow 😉

  • All great points, seo is complicateed for the average Joe..but once you start to understand it..then you will see the power of it.

    “TrafficColeman “Signing Off”

  • Kai

    The source you are looking for is:

    Here Rand stated: “Placing keywords in your URL string has some correlation with rankings on Google, though this is certainly a case where the “copy/paste” of URLs may be biasing this due to the accompanying anchor text benefits”

    But: Correlation does not imply causation!

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  • “using tools like xrumor – you surely can kill a domain within days”
    Totally disagree. Xrumer (the tool is not called ‘xrumor’ as this expert is thinking) works well in hands of a wise man. It hasn’t killed any of my domains nor the domains of any people I asked. But of course, it is not the only way of link building. That is why I agree with all other points.