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Tips For Avoiding Misinformation In SEO Resources & Conversations

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Tips For Avoiding Misinformation In SEO Resources & Conversations

There are many contradictory ideas about the best way to approach SEO.

For every idea proposed, there are others in the SEO industry who disagree.

Turning to Google for help isn’t always helpful because Google ranks information about SEO that Googlers themselves are on record saying is wrong.

There is a way to cut through the noise and figure out which information is likely valid and which information is smoke and mirrors.

Googlers Statements On SEO Information

What Googlers say about SEO is generally limited to four topics:

  1. Actions to avoid a negative outcome.
  2. How to increase indexing.
  3. How to help Google better understand your webpages.
  4. Confirmation that site promotion is important.

Googlers don’t offer loopholes for how to influence rankings, of course. But the information they do provide is useful and consistent.

For example, a Googler can’t necessarily say that Google has an algorithm that’s specifically for hunting down and killing guest posts for SEO links.

But they can advise that guest posting for SEO is done and that publishers should stick a fork in it.

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By doing that, the Googler is helping publishers avoid a possible penalty or spending money on a service that won’t produce the desired results.

It makes sense to seek out what Googlers say. What Googlers say is literally the most authoritative statement about how Google works.

Why Google Has A Webmaster Outreach

The whole reason why there is a Webmaster outreach is that former Googler Matt Cutts sees value in communicating with the search community to help them avoid mistakes and misinformation.

So, he began communicating with publishers at various SEO forums under the nickname, GoogleGuy.

Here’s a post from 2004 where GoogleGuy introduced himself and explained the origin of Google’s outreach and his motivation:

“About three years ago, I was waiting for a program to finish compiling, and I was reading what people online were saying about Google.

I remember seeing a question from a site owner about how to structure his site for better crawling, and thinking it would be great if a Googler could just pop by to answer technical questions like that.

And then I thought, I’m a Google engineer. I can answer technical questions like that. So, I did.

Since then, I’ve managed to post around 2,000 messages in various web forums, setting the record straight whenever possible.”

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Are Googlers Inconsistent?

It’s common to hear people complain that Google is contradictory. If that’s true, how can you trust what Googlers say is not SEO misinformation?

But, the reason for the contradictions is usually not the Googler’s fault. It’s consistently the fault of the person who is writing about what the Googler said.

In my experience of several years of listening to the Google office-hours hangouts, Googlers are very consistent about what they say, even when you backtrack 10 or more years to previous statements, what they advise is consistent and not contradictory.

Paying attention to what Googlers say has always been a good practice. And if what a publication reports seem to contradict a previous statement, listen to the statement itself.

For example, there are some sites that post about ranking factors based on what an ex-Googler says in a video.

But when you listen to the video, the ex-Googler never said what people say that he said.

Even so, the erroneous statement about a false ranking factor keeps proliferating on the internet because no one stops to listen to the video.

Don’t take what someone writes for granted.

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Always check the video, blog post, or podcast for yourself.

Google Search Engine Is A Source Of  SEO Misinformation?

While Googlers are a trusted source of SEO information, Google itself can be an unreliable source of SEO information.

Here’s an example of Google’s John Mueller debunking LSI Keywords in a tweet:

Screenshot from Twitter, May 2022

Searching Google for SEO information yields inconsistent search results.

For example:

  • Searching for LSI keywords (which Mueller above says doesn’t exist) shows several websites that say that LSI keywords do exist.
  • Searching PBN links (links on blogs) yields a top-ranked page that sells PBN links.
  • Searches for “Link Wheels” (building blogs and linking to your own content) yields results that recommend the practice.

In general, the top search results about SEO topics tend to be fairly reliable nowadays.

Google tends to show search results that promote risky strategies if you search for risky strategies (like link wheels or PBN links).

Sometimes it might be more helpful to find an SEO forum or Facebook Group and ask a real person (instead of an algorithm) for information about SEO.

Should You Ignore What Googlers Say?

Googlers are on their side of the search engine and publishers/SEOs are on the other side. We both experience search differently.

So, it makes sense that there are differences in opinions about some topics, particularly about what is fair and what is relevant.

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However, there are some areas of the internet where it is commonly held that it’s best to not listen to what Googlers say.

Some consistently advise others to literally do the opposite of what Googlers say.

Others appear to have a grudge and offer consistently negative opinions on the topic of Google.

Then, there are news stories about Google AI researchers who were fired after raising ethical concerns.

Should Google Be Believed?

It’s helpful to focus on the Googlers who liaison with the search marketing community.

Googlers like Gary Illyes and John Mueller have a long history of sharing high-quality information with the search marketing community.

The record of all the information they shared is on YouTube, Twitter, and on Google blog posts.

When John Mueller is uncertain about an answer to a question, he says so. When he is certain, his answer is unambiguous.

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Danny Sullivan used to be a search marketing reporter before joining Google.

He is on our side, and he, too, has a solid track record of answering questions, passing along concerns, and responding to concerns in the search community, like publishing an article about Core Algorithm Updates in response to questions about what they are and how publishers should deal with them.

In general, be wary of anyone who consistently advises people to ignore what Google says.

Discern Between Opinion And Fact-Based Insight

It’s important to verify if the writer is citing and linking to an authoritative source or is simply offering an opinion.

When someone writes about Google and then links to supporting evidence like a Googler statement, a patent, or research paper, their statement becomes better than an opinion because now it’s a fact-based insight with supporting evidence.

What they write might still not be true about Google, but at least there is supporting evidence that it could be true.

Unless a Googler says something is true, we can’t really know.

So, the best anyone can do is to point to a Googler statement, a research paper, or a patent as supporting evidence that something might be true.

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For centuries, common sense dictated that the earth was at the center of the universe. Common sense is not a substitute for evidence and data.

Opinions without supporting evidence, regardless of how much “sense” it makes, are unreliable.

Googler Statements Must Be In Context

Some people have agendas. When that happens, they tend to cite Googler statements out of context in order to push their agendas.

The typical agenda consists of sowing fear and uncertainty for the purpose of creating more business.

It’s not uncommon for search marketers to say that Googlers contradict themselves.

I find that Googlers are remarkably consistent, especially John Mueller.

What is inconsistent is how some people interpret what he says.

Google’s John Mueller lamented in a podcast that “two-thirds of what he is quoted as saying is misquoted or quoted out of context.

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Correlation Studies Are Not Reliable

Articles featuring correlation data tend to attract a lot of attention, which makes them useful for clickbait.

Data obtained from studying any number of search results, even millions of search results, will always show patterns.

But the patterns are meaningless because… correlation does not imply causation.

Correlation studies often look at one or a handful of factors in isolation, ignoring all the other more than 200 ranking factors that influence search rankings.

Correlation studies also tend to ignore non-ranking factors that influence the search results such as:

  • Prior searches.
  • Geolocation.
  • Query reformulation.
  • User intent.
  • Multiple intents in the search results.

The above are just factors that can muddy up any attempt to correlate what ranks in the search results with any one particular quality of a webpage.

If you want to avoid SEO misinformation, consider avoiding most, if not all, correlation-based SEO research.

Can You Trust What’s In A Patent?

The problem with articles written about patents is that some people don’t know how to interpret them – and that can result in SEO misinformation.

The way a patent can result in misinformation is that the person making claims about it uses just one section of a patent, in isolation, pulled out of the context of the rest of the patent.

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If you read an article about a patent and the author does not discuss the context of the entire patent and is only using one passage from the patent, it’s highly likely that the conclusions drawn from the patent are misinformed.

A patent or research paper should always be discussed within the context of the entire patent.

It’s a common mistake to pull one section of the patent and derive conclusions from that section taken out of context.

SEO Misinformation

It can be tough discerning between good SEO information, outright lies, and pure misinformation.

Some misinformation happens because the information was not double-checked, and it ends up spreading across the internet.

Some misinformation happens because some people put too much trust in common sense (which is unreliable).

Ultimately, we can’t know for certain what’s in Google’s algorithm.

The best we can do is understand that SEO information has tiers of validity, beginning at the top with publications from Google that offer confirmation about what’s in Google’s algorithm, then statements from Googlers. This is information that can be trusted.

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After that, we get into a sort of gray zone with patents and research papers that are unconfirmed by Google whether or not they’re being used.

The least trustworthy tier of information is the one based on correlation studies and pure opinions.

When I am in doubt, what I do is seek a reality check from people I trust.

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Featured Image: Shift Drive/Shutterstock

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How To Create Your Instagram Content Plan

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How To Create Your Instagram Content Plan

Are your Instagram posts not bringing desired results?

Then maybe you need to think about reshaping your strategy and create a content plan.

Content plans can help guide how you release content to make sure you’re hitting certain goals and help your content perform better.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to create a content plan that increases brand reach and conversions on Instagram. You’ll also learn some helpful tips to help boost your content.

1. Define Your Goal

The first thing you want to do is create your Instagram goal or goals.

What do you want to accomplish? Is it to grow your audience, drive more engagement, or generate sales?

Once you figure out your plan, you’ll be better prepared to tailor your content to meet those goals.

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Then, you can set the key performance indicators (KPIs) to mark different points of analysis you want to observe along with your Instagram campaign.

After you select your goal and some KPIs, it’s beneficial to break down your goal into different milestones you would like to reach along the way.

For example, let’s say you want to grow your audience by 20% by the end of the quarter.

What are some milestones along the way you can mark to achieve that goal? What types of content, topics, or content series can you create to increase engagement?

Now, that you’ve done some brainstorming, it’s time to start building your content calendar.

2. Plan Your Content Calendar

A content calendar is important because it’s your roadmap to guide your path, help you meet your goals, and set an end date for a campaign.

This way, you’ll know when you’ve met your goal and can readjust and analyze ways to improve your content strategy for your next campaign.

In addition, a content calendar can help keep ideas and campaigns organized, help you identify any content gaps, and help build consistency (which is critical for Instagram).

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When creating your content plan for the month, quarter, or recent campaign, it’s helpful to plot out which days of the week you want to talk about what.

Next, choose the topic and then form the right caption.

Break content planning into smaller actionable steps makes it easier to make a content calendar.

Then, if you have your goals, topics laid out, and captions, you can move to the next step: Create the necessary pictures or videos.

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Finally, you can compile your topics, days you’re posting, and captions and hashtags into a simple Google, Word, or Excel doc so you can easily copy and paste when you’re ready to schedule out your content.

Bonus Tip: Align Your Content With Marketing Initiatives

If you already have some marketing initiatives, it’s the perfect time to incorporate them into your marketing campaign. For example, maybe you have a new product release.

Then, you can create a content series for that. Create a couple of posts teasing the release of the product, include a giveaway, have an influence to promote your product or a video with them using it, and market those benefits.

Events or holidays are another great way to get consumers engaged and turn more consumers into customers.

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If you have an event coming up, you can create a campaign hyping the event and discussing the speakers involved, products that will be there, or awesome grab bags you’re giving away at the event.

Holidays are another fun and positive way to get customers talking about your brand. Holiday giveaways or deals are another way to grow brand awareness and gain followers.

3. Keep A Consistent Theme And Tone

Creating a tone or brand guide can be an effective way to make sure you keep posts consistent. You also want to maintain a similar theme throughout your posts, including style, font, and colors.

For inspiration, you can look at your website, content, and logos to help create the proper tone and theme for your posts.

In addition, Instagram has the tools in stories that can help you get a color scheme that complements your brand.

You also want to think about the look of your content for both pictures and videos. Consider a consistent angle or filter to set the right tone and look for your content.

It’s also vital to think about your messaging, whether it’s for captions, comments, or responses to direct messages.

It’s crucial to have a standard operating procedure for how you respond to consumers on Instagram, especially if you have multiple people responding to comments and messages, to ensure it’s within the brand’s tone.

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4. Showcase Your Creativity

IG is more than just a photo-sharing app. There are many different ways to create content for Instagram that can highlight your brand and increase engagement.

Let’s talk through them and share some tips on when to use them.

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As you know, Instagram has pictures. Pictures are a great way to showcase products. It’s also great for sharing quotes, posing questions you answer in your image caption, or promoting deals or giveaways.

Videos are an excellent way to show sneak peeks of something coming up or create product teasers. You can also use videos for business BTS and show how to best use your product.

You can use Instagram Reels, or short videos, to showcase products, share stories, and grow your audience.

IGTV or Instagram TV are longer videos on an Instagram feed. Brands use these to go more in-depth into describing a particular topic.

Instagram Shopping is a feature that allows consumers to shop your products through your photos and videos.

Brands can create product tags and product launches where consumers can purchase products straight through Instagram.

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Then, customers don’t have to take the step to leave Instagram to go to your website. Instead, they can quickly buy through the app.

Stories are photos or videos that last 24 hours (unless you add them to your highlights on your profile) where you can share posts from your profile or post new content. It’s a popular way to gain more followers and engage with consumers.

User-Generated Content or content created by influences, customers, or other users is a great way to extend your reach to different audiences and further promote your products.

People are more intrigued to learn about a new product if it’s promoted by someone they already follow.

Likewise, it can help build trust with consumers new to your brand if they see a post by a customer who already loves it.

But what content goes viral? It can be beneficial to look at what your competitors are people on Instagram creating and put your brand’s unique twist on it.

5. Craft Compelling Captions And CTAs

While it’s great to have high-quality pictures and engaging videos, the captions and call to action still matter.

If you hooked the consumer with your picture or video, you want to reel them in with your caption and CTA.

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It’s essential to take time crafting the right CTA to ensure consumers follow your page, engage with your post, or purchase your product.

6. Choose The Correct Hashtags

It’s also crucial to research and choose the right hashtags to ensure your posts reach the intended audience and some new ones that might be interested in your brand.

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Hashtags allow your content to reach users beyond your profile’s following. As you create content for specific hashtags, note which posts perform particularly well.

That way, you can create future posts for specific hashtags that will increase your content’s visibility.

7. Know The Best Time To Post

Planning posts ahead of time can help alleviate some stress of social media strategy.

You can use Meta Business Suites to schedule posts for Facebook and Instagram and set posts for a week or a couple of weeks.

If you’re unsure when to post, they have suggested days and times where analysis points to where you’ll get the most engagement and views.

Although, it would be beneficial to do some research specific to your industry to see the best time and day to make your posts.

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One important thing to keep in mind when you’re planning your content is the upcoming holidays.

Are you going to make a post celebrating the holiday, use the holiday to do a promotion or give away, or choose not to post on that day altogether?

No matter what you pick, it’s important to keep holidays in mind.

8. Measure Results And Adjust

Instagram Insights, both on the app and through Meta Business Suites, can show how many views a post gets and statistics on the engagement with the posts to help you see which types of content are working best. You can see your content’s likes, shares, comments, and saves.

Brands can also use Insights to get metrics on the paid activity. Insights are a great way to see trends so that you can adjust your content strategy.

You’ll also be able to see metrics into your followers to see how many you’re receiving, the age of your followers, and information on when they are most active online. This way, you can adjust the times you post to ensure you are better at reaching your audience.

Wrapping Up

Content planning is the best way to help boost reach and engagement on Instagram.

Creating a content calendar inspired by current marketing objectives and tailoring your content with a theme backed by metrics is the best way to help meet your goals.

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More Resources:


Featured Image: alinabuphoto/Shutterstock

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