SEO is a constantly changing world and with constant change comes constant disputes. SEO is not a profession where there is a codified agreement defining acceptable and non-acceptable practices. There is no industry standard, no registration to the world of SEO but only trial, error and arguments. So it’s really difficult to make sense of what the best practices are. There are simple things we can all agree on filling in the meta title with relevant keywords, page speeds, creating content, featuring your keywords and of course gaining backlinks. What is however highly disputed is pretty much everything else. In this article, I’m going to take you through what I’ve found to be the biggest SEO disagreements across blog posts, forums and social media.
Biggest SEO Disagreements in 2018
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is a ranking factor SEO
For: Many respectable experts in the field of SEO argue that LSI exists in SEO and it continues impact SEO campaigns. The platforms who argue this to be true are Hubspot, Search Engine Journal (SEJ) and Crazy Egg. Their main argument is that Google cannot understand the meaning behind the keywords you feature as such they employ a method of crawling LSI keywords which are keywords similar to the keywords that will appear in the SERPs to understand what you are trying to rank for. For example, if you’re a tool shop and sell bolts, you don’t want to be confused with a website giving running advice which tells you when to “bolt”. So you use similar words in your content such as screw and nail so that Google understands that you are a tool company.
Against: Some argue that there is no real evidence of LSI’s existence, that Google has never confirmed its existence and that all of it is no more than an urban myth. They argue that whilst creating great quality content will help boost your rankings the notion of LSI is a total myth. Boomient argues that “Most folks that claim to understand it are either lying or deluded and probably both.” This argument usually states that LSI is not used by any search engines simply because it would be impractical to implement and it would slow down search engines response time. LSI continues to be among the biggest SEO disagreements among experts.
Web Design Agencies can use footer follow links on their client’s websites
For: Many web designers sign the websites they create with a footer link to their agency at the bottom of each web page, which is standard practice and no one really disagrees with this method. The web designers would argue that placing a follow link on the page is completely acceptable as it is a form of natural link building, the web designer has a natural connection to the website they have created therefore it is fair to use a follow link. It is unlikely to negatively affect the website’s SEO and it’s not exactly a spammy form of link building if the client agrees to have it there then its fine.
Against: I’ve heard the argument against this come more often from SEO agencies that don’t offer web design services however that does not invalidate their argument. They argue that this is an underhanded way of link building from clients who do not realise that excessive follow linking can negatively impact a websites SEO. The point they’re essentially stating here is the clients don’t know that the web designers are doing this to improve their own SEO and that if it was really a case of doing it for referral traffic then they should use the no-follow attribute.
SEO is Dying due to Voice Search
For: Google is now developing voice search as it is trying to go down the same path as Alexa by bringing us into a futuristic world where we say what we want and where we can find it. Neil Patel and Eric Siu argue that when voice search will reach its maturity users will be shown fewer search results (2 or 3) and the next few results are most likely going to be paid options. The argument is that when voice search becomes easily available people just simply are not going to want to type for search queries anymore, they’ll just use voice search.
Against: Experts, however, suggest that voice search is less likely to take off. Bow Warfield one of the leading experts suggests that Neil Patel is wrong, stating that for example, 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. Firstly people like having options, not being told options. For instance, if you are looking for a tradesman to work on your house you’re not just going to go with the first one that Google suggests. If Google becomes too focused on voice search people are just going to switch to a different search engine. The main flaw in the argument is that people like using the written language, whilst voice is more convenient in some ways it doesn’t offer the same level of detail that written language does. This is the same reason that despite having developed recorded sound over a hundred years ago people still like reading books. Besides, do you want to be on a bus, train or a crowded room and start searching for personal queries on Google? Probably not.
What are the Biggest SEO Disagreements that you have encountered in recent years? We would love to hear your experience on the topic. Do share your Biggest SEO disagreements in the comments section below.