The WORST SEO advice I heard this year (and what you should do instead)

The most common complaint I receive from audit clients and bloggers is the inability to “know which SEO advice to follow.” 

Unlike search engines which can rank, re-rank, or penalize information or practices that are unethical or unscrupulous in nature, the same can’t be achieved by the average blogger weeding through multiple courses, gurus or podcasts.

Unfortunately, 2022 has taken things to a whole new level.

The amount of emails and instant messages I received from bloggers asking, “Is this true?” or “I was told to do this, what do you think?” cannot be quantified other than to say, “It was a lot.”

Executing a correct and competent SEO strategy has never been more challenging, especially in light of the explosion of new websites launched during the pandemic.

As such, understanding what advice is worthwhile and which is complete and utter garbage has never been more important.

To that end, I present some of the worst pieces of SEO advice I was asked about in 2022, with the hope that the answers will help you decide what not to do.

Worst SEO advice #1: “I should never remove content from my website.”

The benefits of removing old content from an existing site have been known and practiced for years.

Think of your site as a garden. All the content generating traffic, links, and regular social signals are your flowers. Everything that is not? Those are your weeds. Just like in a real garden, you can kill your flowers if you don’t pull those weeds.

Leaving expired, low-quality or thin content on your site can result in a myriad of bad SEO outcomes, including:

  • Diluting your overall crawl budget.
  • Reducing overall site authority.
  • Creating page and keyword cannibalization issues.
  • Reducing on-page UX and time-on-site metrics.
  • Lowering sitewide revenue per thousand impressions (RPM) for ad income.

It’s also been well-documented by Google’s John Mueller that low-quality content on one part of a site can negatively impact the search rankings of the entire site.

Bottom line

If you can update and improve existing content, do that! 

But if not, delete it, and move on. Think quality with your site content, not quantity.

Worst SEO advice #2: “All I need is to write longer content to rank higher.”

It has been stated repeatedly that word count is not a ranking factor with Google. And yet, daily, I run into clients who have been directed to write a longer resource as their main method to “recapture” a lost ranking or improve existing visibility.

When asked about word count, Mueller said, “just blindly adding content to a page will not make it (rank) better.”

What does help a resource is adding content that is useful to the audience.

For example, nobody wants to read a 2,000-plus-word treatise on artichoke hearts. As such, understanding what your audience is seeking and what is considered “useful” can still be confusing to the average site owner.

Bottom line

A content update or rewrite has to have

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