There’s no shortage of SEO advice to go around. Heck, I’ve made a career out of it. I’ve listed hundreds of strategies companies can use to improve their rankings in search engines, and have provided updates as SEO develops, to guide search optimizers in the right way to respond to algorithm changes and new technologies.
For the most part, the advice you read on high-authority publishers and niche specialist sites is “good”—it’s not meant to lead you astray, and it usually provides factual, valuable information. But if you want to be truly successful in SEO, you need to stop taking so much SEO advice.
I realize the bit of hypocrisy here. I’m dispensing advice that tells you to deliberately avoid taking advice—but I don’t mean you should ignore SEO advice altogether. Instead, I caution you to do three things:
- Double check the facts. Don’t just assume that an author knows what he/she is talking about. Do the research to see if other authorities have made similar claims, and how their experiments may have differed.
- Don’t follow tactics blindly. Make the effort to understand what you’re doing before you follow a step-by-step approach.
- Try new things for yourself. Dedicate some time to experimenting with new strategies of your own. It may seem riskier than just doing what other people have already done, but there are significant benefits to this experimental approach.
SEO Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All
For starters, SEO isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy. What works for one business in one industry isn’t necessarily going to work for someone else. For example:
- National and local SEO function on different algorithms. Local SEO demands a separate set of tactics and strategies, which simply aren’t relevant to you if you’re pursuing national SEO. Fortunately, it’s easy to filter out irrelevant articles in this split, but it’s an example of just how different SEO can be for different companies.
- Competition can make or break a strategy. Next, understand that the level of competition you’re dealing with can make or break a given strategy. If an influencer reports that their homepage moved up three spots for a given keyword term after producing a new video every week, that doesn’t mean you’ll see the same results; if you have far more competition, you might not move at all, and if you have far less competition, you might not need nearly as much effort to see the same results.
- There are thousands of influential variables that can’t all be isolated. SEO is ridiculously complicated; even though we’ve pinned down a number of ranking factors, and how much impact they have (relatively speaking), it’s still hard to determine exact root causes for each shift in rankings we experience. For example, let’s say an article goes viral on social media and subsequently rises in rankings. It would be easy to think that its ranking increase was a direct result of those social shares, but in reality, it was likely a secondary factor—such as increased inbound links as a result of those social shares—that did the trick.
Misinformation Is Easy to Spread Unintentionally
I’ve written recently about a problem in the SEO industry related to the emergence and spread of inaccurate SEO information. This isn’t a product of people deliberately trying to lead others astray; instead, it’s a natural result of the industry.
Take My Advice: Stop Taking So Much SEO Advice