It is common to expect Google to come up with infallible results to a question on search engine optimization or SEO. Google provides an SEO guide or a developers page that helps you review your website, provide technical solutions and get noticed on Google. But can you trust Google to give you the right answers every time?
John Mueller, a webmaster trends analyst and SEO troubleshooter at Google, once gave information that did not tally with the Google developers page information. What could be the reasons for this mismatched information? Well, Googlers are just real people with real opinions, and it is possible to get one answer wrong sometimes.
What is the driving force -judgement or opinion?
So how can you judge if Google SEO advice is correct or an SEO expert is the one to follow? For example, a recent disparity emerged between an SEO expert and Google’s John Mueller regarding appropriate site architecture. So was right? And does that make the other person wrong by default? John Mueller felt that mobile-only sites are just as good as desktop sites. A prominent SEO felt this was not true, as desktop still serves a lot of functions, especially while multitasking.
So who won the debate? Well, neither did. This was more a case of a difference of opinion rather than real, factual errors by Google. So a user needs to identify if the SEO issue is a fact-based error or just a matter of different voices related to the same issue.
SEO is changing – and so should you!
SEO has considerably evolved over time, and so has its functioning. The earlier thought process was to spray keywords and H1s (HTML tags) several times in a post or in the title. This could actually interfere with SEO ranking and make your post unreadable. It makes more sense in SEO terms, to use these tags and keywords as appropriate, and this will not affect the ranking of the post, as earlier believed. Search engines rank pages differently than the way they did 5 or 10 years back. However, advice on the use of keywords multiple times and H1s are still given out, which can be potentially confusing.
Subfolders and subdomains are other controversial areas. The prior SEO view holds that subdomains function better than subfolders. However, subdomains are probably easier to create, and there is no reason to believe that they are not as good as subfolders.
So, is Google’s SEO advice the ultimate solution?
Well, probably not. SEO is a rapidly shifting arena of change. It is possible that your opinion of an SEO issue is different from that of Google. It is also possible that Google is not as updated as you are. Sometimes, data is incomplete and estimated. Google also works in its own best interest, and this may not match your best interests. So trust Google’s SEO advice as well as your common sense. Further, informed advice from other sites may also be worth a watch.