Blog Post

The Best Kinds of Links Will Surprise You

Bing's Senior Product Manager Duane Forrester recently shared his top 10 SEO myths, following the piece by Google's Matt Cutts. A lot of Forrester's SEO myths are interesting, including the myths that links are all you need and the need to rank #1, but the point that stuck out to us the most was what kinds of links are the best links. Watch our Daily Brown Bag to learn what types of links are the best links to gain, why that is, and full coverage on Bing's top 10 SEO myths.

Also available on YouTube.


Hello, and welcome to the Daily Brown Bag. Today, we're going to be talking about Bing's top ten SEO myths. I'm Chad Hill and I'm joined by Adam Stetzer.

Hey, good afternoon Chad. Welcome to the Brown Bag. Last month, we saw a list of SEO myths come from Google and Matt Cutts, and Bing has jumped on the bandwagon and published their own list of SEO myths. We're going to go through the top ten here in a second, according to Bing.

One of the things we wanted to point out right at the top was something that he said was eye-catching Chad, and I think will be good for debate as well after we go through the list, which was this. This is coming from Bing's webmaster blog. And they said, links should be a surprise. In other words, you shouldn't know a link is coming. And this echoes very much the philosophy we heard from Matt Cutts, saying you really shouldn't do anything to encourage a link last month, which I know there was a lot of buzz around the SEO community. So here, we've got an interesting statement. Links should be surprise. I want to talk about that Chad. First, let's go through the top ten list of SEO myths, and then let's circle back around to this.

Okay, remember now, these are the myths so sometimes, you have to sort of remember by saying, positive or negative, but we're going to run through. These are all the myths:

You need to rank number one succeed, that's a myth. Number two, that a good title tag will save you. Number three, social is a silver bullet. Number four myth, videos are the content silver bullet. I want to qualify that one. He came out and said, some people don't want to watch videos. And in many cases, they've increased the load time of the page. Number five, purchasing ads will improve your rankings. Number six, you are the judge of quality content. Number seven, links are all you need. Number eight, markup boosts your rankings. Number nine, usability and SEO are not intertwined. And the final one is, all you need is SEO. So, Adam, of those myths, which one kind of stands out to you as one we should talk about?

Well, I think they're all actually. . .when you read down the list, fairly rational that we know these are not true. I think it was in the context in number seven, where Bing went a little too far saying, links should always be a surprise to you, which is getting some attention and some chatter. I think these other ones are actually pretty reasonable. Think about it. We've talked about this for years, Chad. There are no silver bullets. You have to do everything in moderation. You think some things are really good. Well, you've got to let the market decide. You've got to let the internet decide and test these things out, which is why we're always pushing people to test things quickly and cheaply, inexpensively use the scientific method.

So I read through this and think, I agree with a lot of these things, but I think when it comes down to this impossible standard that Bing seems to be jumping on the bandwagon with Matt Cutts and Google on, which is getting a link should be complete surprise. You really have no intention what so ever of getting a link. And if you do, that somehow shifts you to the dark side. What's your thoughts on that, Chad?

I agree Adam, I think it's like anything with PR. I agree that it is an impossible standard, let's put it that way. It is an impossible standard because when you're out and you're thinking about the time and effort that goes into creating a high quality piece of content and then you're trying to promote that content, oftentimes, you certainly are promoting that content, and in many cases Adam, as a great example, you would like to get that written about in an article. And then, it's sort of, whether or not that you leave it up to surprise or whether they'll be a link back to you. I guess sometimes, that is the case, but oftentimes, the person you're talking with, that person understands and wants to cite you, and you certainly are going to say, surprise me if you cite me. It seems odd, doesn't it?

Yeah, and the whole binary nature of you intentions also seems like something of a difficult time understanding because you've said this in many of our videos and our Brown Bag before, Chad, it's very possible to want to really reach an audience, broadcast an interesting message, have something very valuable to say, and also hope to want to rank high in the search engines as a result. And they seem to have positioned it as it's either or, which just isn't how real life goes.

The thing I find difficult is once people understand that backlinks are part of the algorithms and do help you rank, then everything they do may have multiple intentions and they can't un-understand that just because they've been told these are in the guidelines. So, I think I find this a little bit frustrating because it's very hard to put into practice in practicality. And for folks like we're talking to right now, and ourselves and our clients, we’re trying very hard to follow the rules and promote good quality and really stay in between the lines, when you can't practically apply a rule, it becomes tough.

I think otherwise this list is very interesting and echoes a lot of things we would probably agree with, which is don't go searching for silver bullets. Don't expect things to move super quickly. To get meaningful traffic is going to take a long time, a lot of testing a lot of failure. Figuring out what works, and really driving to higher quality, that's an iterative slow process, but you get feedback from your analytics. At least that's our take on this. We'd like to hear your thoughts. That's our Brown Bag for today, subscribe to our YouTube channel and join us back tomorrow, and maybe surprise us with a link, but we're not asking for that.

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