All The Wrong Questions

wrongQuite a bit has been written about bad SEO information found in fora, websites, etc. Very little has been said about bad questions. Now while you’re trying to reconcile ‘there are no stupid questions’ with ‘ ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer’ I’d like to touch on a few of the questions I’ve seen lately that are just wrong, and the result of wrong-headed thinking. Here are three that I saw just yesterday. My apologies to all the veteran SEOs out there, but I’m getting a few emails from really new folks so I wanted to cover some of their questions.

1. Can I use nofollow to manage my PageRank?

WRONG. Nofollow was intended to combat comment spam. If you’re using nofollow on something other than user-generated content, it’s WRONG. If you want to keep search engines out of specific areas of your site, use robots.txt

But so-and-so said to use nofollow on paid links. Well of course so-and-so said that, helps them figure out who is buying and selling links now doesn’t it?

2. I’ve got a PR5 site, is it okay to trade links with a PR1 site?

WRONG. First, you don’t have a PR5 site, you have a PR5 page, but that aside, if you’re asking about PR you’re WRONG.

Do the links benefit the users of both sites? Are they links to relevant areas of both sites? Would you link to them if search engines were extinct?

3. My competitors have 3 zillion links and are number one for [insert pet phrase here], how do I compete?

WRONG. You don’t compete. At least not over a single phrase, not yet. Target less competitive phrases and work your way up to the big boy’s arena. If you just started playing golf would you be asking about when you could play Tiger Woods?


  1. Very timely as I’m answering “stupid” questions from our sales force this month. Oh and how about questions that are so stupid they don’t make any sense. In fact you can’t even answer them without taking an hour to find out what stupid question they’re really asking. By the way, will this comment increase my pagerank?

  2. DG

    BakedJake wrote a post at WMW on how to ask good questions. Unfortunately, Microsoft being Microsoft, they removed the article he referenced.

    PageRank? We don’t need no stinkin’ PageRank. ; )

  3. Great post. But you left out my favorite, which always starts with, “I’ve spent several hours searching this forum and cannot find the answer to my question….”

  4. DG

    Those questions should always be answered with 42. Or 23 if you’re an Illuminatus Trilogy fan. If you’re not a fan, I highly recommend reading the book.

  5. Dude, I regularly have bad salespeople working high end finance deals at my company asking me “What you you think of this URL Domain, I need http://www.[mysite].com backward slash I am Going to Get YOU a Private Student

    Can you look into that and have that to me by Monday? Thanks!

    Stupid questions only come from people I should not be working with in the first place lol

  6. dvg

    The fact that almost nobody — even in the biz — seems to understand that (site != page) is one that frustrates me daily.

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