Earmuffs: The Weirdest SEO Advice of All Time

Ah, SEO – every marketer’s favorite acronym. (Except for maybe TGIF.)

Ever since King Google* claimed its Internet throne 16 years ago, marketers have wracked their brains trying to somehow decipher and decode the mysteries of the almighty Google algorithm – you know, the secret formula that determines how well your website ranks (and who gets to see it).

As a result, marketers have compiled a treasure trove of SEO advice – advice on how to play nicely with our Google overlords and achieve high organic rankings for our websites. Some of this advice is fantastic, must-follow dogma that really works.

Some of it is…er…less than fantastic.

In fact, marketers have been given plenty of advice that is not only wrong and ineffective, but downright weird. Here, presented for your edification, is some of the weirdest SEO advice of all time.

*We feel obligated to mention that Bing and Yahoo! are also search engines.

“All I need is on-page SEO!”

One weird piece of advice is this: you only need on-page SEO – not off-page SEO – to get results.

How can you not have off-page SEO? It’s like eating a PB&J without the peanut butter. It’s like a dinner and a movie without the movie. It’s like – well, you get the idea.

In today’s world, off-page SEO is becoming more important than ever. Inbound links, for example, still drive a lot of the Google juice your website receives. Social signals are also becoming more important, and are starting to drive rankings. Those are just two of the many off-page SEO ranking signals that really matter.

The bottom line: you need to worry about what’s not on your page as much as you do what’s on it.

“I should be targeting short tail keywords, not long tail.”

This is another weird piece of advice because it’s just not true – long tail keywords are awesome.

One reason of their superb-ness is the importance of local search. Over 74 percent of searchers perform local searches, and 61 percent result in purchases. Guess what? When these searchers put in their city in that search box, it transforms whatever keyword phrase they were using into – you got it – a long tail keyword!

Plus, long tail keywords equal qualified and relevant buyers. If Sally is looking for the sweetest couch in the world, and type she types in “white leather reclining loveseat”, she really wants to buy one. And she will – as soon as she find it.

That’s even more of a reason to use that keyword.

“All of my important content should be on my homepage.”

Ah, the return of the “curb appeal” trap. People see your homepage first, so all your important content needs to be there, instead of wasted elsewhere on your site.

There are a few things wrong with this. First, people go to other pages besides your home page. They may even enter your site through another page, such as a services page, a blog, a landing page, etc. Second, if great content isn’t distributed throughout the site, your other pages won’t rank well – and that’s a shame.

You should focus on creating awesome content on every page – not just your home page.

“Social media and SEO aren’t related. More like third cousins.”

Social media and SEO are way closer than third cousins. Easily first cousins, maybe even siblings – especially today.

That’s because Google et al. have recognized that social matters. One way they can evaluate how well a website does its job of informing searchers, is by seeing how popular the site is and how others interact with it – and the best way to do that is to look at social media.

For this reason, social signals have been incorporated into algorithms. We don’t know exactly how yet (Google is keeping that close to the vest as usual), but we’re pretty sure they are having an influence – which means you need to be social for better SEO results.

SEO is a rapidly-changing world. To keep up, say adios to the weird (and bad) advice you’ve received, and say hello to results.


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