Beware the SEO Copywriting B.S. – 3 Tips about Those Online Tips

Greetings!  Today’s web writing video post answers a question from the SEO Copywriting LinkedIn group:  “How can I tell if an SEO copywriting tip is legit?”

An excellent question, as the online world is thick with misinformed SEO “advice.”  Join Heather as she discusses how to judge if that “expert SEO tip” is legit or flat-out b.s.

Beware the B.S.:  In this particular instance, the writer was told most adamantly that according to some online source, bullet points would hurt search engine rankings, to which Heather replies:

  • No, bullet points
  • Will not hurt
  • Your search engine rankings
  • I promise. :)

This kind of “expert” stuff is everywhere online, and much of it is simply not true.  Bullet points will not hurt search engine rankings. And p.s., there is no magic keyphrase formula, keyword density or ideal word count for search engines. Heather has addressed these and other prevailing misconceptions about SEO before, including her posts on SEO copywriting myths and SEO Keyword Density.  (The corresponding video on SEO Copywriting Myths is on the SEO Copywriting YouTube Channel).

So how do you distinguish the sound information from the b.s.?  Here are three tips for evaluating those online tips…

Tip #1:  Who said it and where?  Consider the source.

  • When you come across that SEO tip or news that makes you say “hmmmmm…” stop and consider the source.

For instance, if the person who broke the news or made the claim is from a credible site such as Search Engine Land and is a recognized authority, then yes, the information is definitely worth considering and investigating further.

On the other hand, if the source is “Bob’s Copywriting Blog,” and you know nothing about this Bob person, or if you’re finding that Bob hasn’t been in the industry that long and you haven’t heard anything about him, then the credibility of Bob’s information is questionable.

Tip #2:  Do other experts back up the claim? 

  • Regardless of who makes the claim, do a bit of research: are other experts backing it up?
  • Are you going to other authority sites and finding the same information repeated over and over?

If you’re finding that yes, this is a claim or technique that is working and has a record of success, then you may want to pay attention to that information.

One of the typical issues with an SEO tip is that while the person sharing it may have found success with the technique on their own site, it doesn’t necessarily transfer well to sites across the board.  You’ll want to make sure others have realized success with the technique on their sites.

Tip #3:  If in doubt, ask a consultant before implementing the strategy.

  • This is especially important if you’re looking at a technique or strategy that might dramatically change your page or site structure.
  • The last thing you want to do is implement a strategy you found online, and then find that it’s not the best thing to do for your site.

A recent post-Panda technique that got a lot of press and received much online attention was HubPages’ use of sub-domains.  For HubPages, breaking out key pages into sub-domains proved a successful way — for them — to work around Google Panda.

Understandably, your first instinct might be “oh wow – I have to do that too!”  But again, this is an example of one of those techniques that you find online that might have worked well for one company, but is not necessarily going to work for your site.  Or, equally important, the hot new strategy may take so much time and effort to implement that it doesn’t make sense for your business model.

A consultant can help you evaluate whether or not a new strategy or technique is advisable for you and your unique set of circumstances.


5 replies
  1. Susan Baird says:

    Thanks, Heather! It remains incredibly difficult to separate SEO fact from fiction, including when it comes to copywriting.

    I’ve paid close attention and have a lot of respect for Brian Clark at Copyblogger ( and subscribe to his tool ScribeSEO ( Are you familiar with it?

    One parameter that ScribeSEO suggests is that content should be 300 words, and I’m constantly going back and forth between that advice and feeling like short and sweet when appropriate is better.

    What’s your take?

    • Heather says:

      Hi, Susan!

      Once upon a time, about 12 years ago, I used to say that copy should be about 250 words for the search engines. I NEVER meant it to be a hard and fast rule – but people (obviously) took it that way.

      There is no “rule” about a content word count. Yes, more copy is better – ASSUMING it makes sense. And granted, a page with 50 words may not position as well as a page with 500 well-written words. But if you feel like you’re writing fluff just to fit some sort of artificial word count, quit writing. :) You’ve done your job.


  2. Judith says:

    It’s rather difficult to distinguish between what’s true and what’s b.s. about SEO with all the advise and tips floating around. Unfortunately many people who readily offer their two cents aren’t qualified to give it. While the ones in the know guard it like fort knox. Thanks for your common sense tips on evaluating these tips. :D

  3. Douglas Thomas says:

    The other thing to watch out for on especially SEO industry blogs is the pure fluff piece: the one that’s filled with nothing that brings anything, even something old, to the table, but somehow has a few targeted links to previous posts…

    The other thing is that there’s a palpable difference between real advice and “field of dreams” styled advice. Is the advice so broad as to be meaningless? Is it aphoristic or actionable? A saying like “Content is King” is worth nothing without saying what kind of content converts well for what you do; furthermore, not having any stats seriously removes most beneficial information from advice.

    It’s important to make sure that the piece you’re reading isn’t just an ad in information’s clothing.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Beware the SEO copywriting B.S. – 3 tips about those online tips | SEO Copywriting This week's video post responds to a reader's question posted in the LinkedIn SEO Copywriting group: will bullet points hurt my SEO? Such b.s. is thick online. Beware. Source: […]

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