True or False? Top Ten Worst Bits of SEO Advice

Shrouded in a cloak of mystery, search engine optimization (SEO) advice abounds. Know an SEO expert, or two, or three? There’s a good chance they were doing something else not very long ago. As in many rapidly changing fields, SEO experts are everywhere and very quick to give advice. But should you listen? We’ve compiled a true-or-false sort of top ten list of the worst, and sometimes most common, SEO advice.

10. You don’t need the Internet to market your local business
Good luck marketing successfully without using the Internet. A solid 97% of consumers use the Internet to search for services/products.

9. The site with the most citations wins in the local results.
Also false. While Google (and other search engines) consider citations in search result rankings, websites with fewer citations occasionally do rank higher than websites with more citations. It can have as much, or more, to do with the quality of the citations as the quantity.

8. Exact Name, Address, and Phone (NAP) listings is a must.
Partially true. The data itself matters, like phone number and business name. But simple formatting differences don’t matter. Google knows that St. and Street are used synonymously, and that 555-555-5555 is the same as (555) 555-5555. It is important to make sure that your information is correct everywhere it appears on the web, but making sure that it is in exactly the same format everywhere is not necessary.

7. Directory listings are just as good as citations.
Ummm…false. While directory listings are important, they are something you can manage and control. Citations are references to your company or brand on third party websites or articles. Because they are from third parties, citations – depending on their source – may carry more weight on search results than directory listings.

6. Local SEO is easier than normal (organic) SEO, so just focus on local.
Still false. While local SEO does not entail normal SEO complication, it does offer a series of its own challenges. These challenges include, finding accurate citations, getting positive reviews of your business (part of reputation management, but that’s another article), maintaining a consistent NAP, etc. Depending on the competition for your services in your area, local SEO can be just as difficult to get results for as traditional SEO.

5. You don’t need to do SEO any more since your site is in the #1 spot.
Have you been reading along? This too is false. It takes work to maintain the top spot. Search engines consider how active a site is, how many current links it has, how fresh the content is, and many other factors. When a page is being consistently updated, search engine spiders have to come back over and over again to crawl it. As long as quality and other factors remain equal, over time, this leads to better rankings.

4. It’s a good idea to use an 800 number for your local business to make it look bigger.
Once again, false. Use the official main phone number of your company, which for small to medium-sized businesses is typically a local phone number. Remember to create & maintain your NAP info across all marketing efforts.

3. Businesses at center of the city receive better rankings in the local results – you can use a fake address.
False on multiple counts! The proximity of your business to the center (or centroid) of a city is not a factor in improving rankings. Proximity to the person searching may improve local rankings, but not to a city’s center. And, as for a fake address – search engines are pretty smart these days and may severely penalize you in the rankings for using false information.

2. The site with the most reviews wins in the local results. True or False?
Not true. There are many examples of sites with fewer reviews that rank higher than sites with more reviews. Google looks for a mix of reviews from different places. Google also looks for stability and consistency with reviews, e.g., not 100 reviews one day and 5 the next.

1. More links to your site means higher rankings.
False. When it comes to links, quality is more important than quantity. A few links from highly reputable sites will have much more weight to search engines than many links from sites with low authority. Again, search engines respond to stability, consistency and quality over quantity. Lots of links one day, and few links the next is not good, and the search engine results will show this.

It takes a well-rounded strategy to excel in SEO. Be skeptical whenever a simple, fix-all solution is presented. WebTech Marketing Services has been delivering measurable search engine results to our clients for close to a decade. If you feel lost or overwhelmed going it alone, or feel like your current solution might not be working, give us a call.

About the author – Steve Woodruff is Chief Operating Officer of WebTech Marketing Services (, a digital consulting agency in Alpharetta – Atlanta, GA. Steve has over two decades of IT and business leadership experience, a knack for finding process in chaos, a love of dogs, and has jumped off 2,500 foot cliff and survived. Some of this may be relevant to him writing about SEO and digital marketing, or not.