One huge myth is that if you use Twitter or Facebook to link to your website from your status updates, you’ll increase your Google PageRank (in other words, your website will get pushed to the top of search results), because Google famously “counts the number of links” to your website to determine how “relevant” your website is.  Lots of links = great search engine optimization, right?  But you can think of the major Internet companies as co-conspirators in a plot to determine “relevancy,” because back in 2005 they all decided that whenever someone links to a website in the “user generated content” area of another website, they would start inserting an invisible “nofollow” tag.  This means that ALL links in a Twitter feed have a hidden “nofollow” tag embedded in them (same with Facebook), and this makes them invisible to search engines.  To be clear, this means that the target of the link doesn’t look any more attractive in the eyes of Google, Yahoo or Bing. 

I know this will be painful for some people to hear, but if you use Twitter and get retweeted 50,000 times and drive tons of new visitors to your website, your search engine optimization won’t change a bit because of it.  This means that you need to be ready to engage those thousands of new visitors so that they become daily or weekly or monthly visitors who love your site and products. 

PS – Did you know that the word “Page” in Google PageRank does not refer to “webpage,” but to Larry Page, the Co-founder of Google and creator of the Google PageRank system?  Just another fun Internet fact. 

Will Marlow co-founded AlumniFidelity to help his clients reposition their fundraising to benefit from Web 2.0 technology and marketing techniques. He’s working with clients such as UVA, the College of William & Mary, the University of Oklahoma, Bowling Green State University, Randolph Macon College, and he loves nothing better than a thorny marketing challenge.  Read more about Will Marlow here, or email him at