Beware of the “Sound Bite” SEO Advice

Education is King

I spend quite a bit of my time around clients talking about SEO. It’s part of the job and on the most part it’s fun. In fact, I enjoy the part where I get to educate my clients a little bit more.

I sometimes have to give myself a check just to make sure I’m not coming off demeaning. I don’t mean to. I just get passionate about it.

Most days I get asked the same set of questions about SEO. The reason for this is because it’s just so damn easy for people to give “sound bite advice” about SEO.

Dangers of Sound Bite Advice

Let’s say I’m a developer, I can’t really give “sound bite” advice because most things require a certain amount of background technical knowledge.

Let’s take a terrible example, based on my limited knowledge on code…

Someone might shout…

“Hey! Don’t forget to combine all of your CSS and JS into one file to reduce the number of requests on the server”

This is great advice for someone looking to speed up their website, however, you are required to understand what the hell server requests are, why the hell so many of them are terrible and what the heck all those acronyms are.

However, its easy for someone to shout…

“Get all your meta descriptions in shape, it’ll help your SEO!”

Most people can pick this piece of advice up and run with it. Even if 50% of the statement is bollocks.

Therein lie another issue, this SEO “grey area”… in development the knowledge all kind of fits together like a jigsaw with a picture on the box.

Therefore, code kind of works or doesn’t work.

SEO fits together more like a jigsaw with no picture on the box. We can see when it’s working, but there is no template to fit all our ideas around. No black and white, yes or no answers.

Back to our sound bite above. That’s not really a right or wrong statement. See below…

Yes – Meta descriptions are important to SEO, in such they provide valuable descriptions of the page to your users to increase CTR.

No – Meta descriptions are not a ranking factor.

Yes & No – A healthy CTR (Click thru Rate) is potentially a ranking factor. Evidence suggests that it is. However, Google themselves deny they have this data.

Sound Bite Advice is a Big Con

Now, I have a theory that most of the “SEO Advice” out in the world is bollocks.

Most of it is just plain wrong or misunderstood / misinterpreted.

A lot of it is out of date advice that had been flying around for a while, without the consideration that things change and times move on.

The rest of it, is sound bites like the above, purposely chosen to make it sound easy and to hook you in.

Let me tell you that…

“Word count means everything to Google.”

You would now go away and write the longest blogs / articles / pages in the world. Then you’d wait.

You’d wait because you know it “takes time for Google for SEO to kick in”.

3 months later… wait… was that a 3% increase in organic traffic…well that proves it.

Data can tell you anything you want to believe it to be.

Truth is, yes, you’ve just written some really good long blogs / articles.

Because you are an amazing writer you’ve probably provided some amazing value in them. Google has rewarded you for that. Not word count.

It’s really important not to be drawn in by soundbit advice.

I know, it’s so tempting, because it all sounds so easy, so simple.

I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but nothing about SEO is simple or easy.

But, it is understandable!

Understand It Instead

If you are on a journey of learning SEO for your business website, your blog, your online store. I wish you all the luck in the world!

However, my advice would be to not listen to sound bit advice.

Go away and try to understand the landscape. Understand Google. Understand what SEO is all about.

Good Luck!

PS.

“Google Loves Pop Ups!!!!!!”

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