First Rule of SEO: Don’t Believe Everything You Read!

By Janet Driscoll Miller | Aug 12, 2008
More Articles by Janet

Well, it happened again today, so I felt the need to write a blog post and address what I believe is one of the greatest challenges to search engine optimization (SEO) success — misinformation in the marketplace.

Let’s face it — EVERYONE out there claims to be knowledgeable in SEO. Web design firms, PR firms, independent consultants and more all make these claims on their websites, typically with no data to back up their claims of expertise. It makes it challenging for some marketers to know how to find the right SEO vendor — one that they can feel really is an expert and can truly bring their respective companies measurable results.

Now enter misinformation. Many of the self-aggrandized SEO experts write articles, blog posts, etc. that espouse their thoughts on SEO. But often times, these positions on SEO best practices and the like are either outdated or flat out wrong.

Today I read a post that Marci Rosenblum posted on Facebook to share. Marci, I love ya, and normally you give me great stuff to read, but this was misinformation if I ever saw it.

The article, located on Epiphany Search Marketing’s website, reports that, according to Caroline Melberg of Small Business Mavericks, too many content updates in a short time are BAD for SEO. Really? How does Caroline know this?

My first concern is for one of my clients — National Geographic. As you can imagine, like a news publication website, NatGeo may put up hundreds of new news articles and pages per day — from blog posts to channel programming information to news articles. Is this hurting NatGeo’s rankings? Poppycock.

What about the Washington Post or CNN? Surely they post hundreds of stores during the day — are they being punished for this action. No way.

So let’s examine the holes in Caroline’s theory:

1. What is the amount of new content per day is considered too much? 100 articles?

2. How did you determine that it was 100 articles that was too much?

3. Were there other factors involved, such as paid linking, reciprocal linking, or black hat techniques that may have had a site penalized by a search engine? In other words, are you sure that you’re measuring ONLY the affect of new content on rankings?

4. Is she quoting a study? If so, who did it? What was the sample size? Just one site or many?

These are just a few questions that come to mind. Content like this, without backup data, only serves to misinform marketers who are trying to learn more about SEO — leading to an abundance of misinformation that has not been proven.

So what should you do? Make sure you ask the inquiring questions before you believe anything you read about SEO. Claims about best practices should always be backed up with case study data — and not just one case study either. One example does not represent the effects you may see on other websites for any of the engines. A couple of places that do tend to have very reliable information on SEO/PPC research in my opinion are Enquiro Research and Marketing Experiments.

Just remember — just like you can’t believe everything on TV, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet about SEO. So proceed with caution, and be inquisitive. It will pay off in the end!

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