If you’ve ever hired an agency or spent time researching ways to improve your SEO campaign, you might have been shocked to discover how much conflicting advice there is from the pros about this topic.

Agency A is all about the number of links, but Agency B says nothing matters more than the quality of your content.

You may have read a study that says keywords are the most essential SEO tool available but the next article reports keywords are useless due to algorithm updates.

As a business owner, you need to be confident in your decisions, but how can you do this when there is so much conflicting information?

Here are four reasons why you’ve been hearing so much conflicting advice when it comes to SEO – each one will give you insight on how to make the best decisions for your campaign. We’ve even added pro tips that will help you take action right away.

A Mystery to All

Search engine algorithms – they’re one of life’s great mysteries but don’t worry, they’re meant to be that way. Google and other search engines use search algorithms, which are uniquely complex formulas created to rank websites. These formulas evaluate how relevant sites are based an overall good user experience in efforts to return the highest quality content in search results.

Each algorithm was built so no one can peek behind the curtain to gain an unfair advantage.

If Google shared exactly how rankings are calculated, it would be far too easy for anyone with a website to exploit the system, which would ultimately render a search engine useless for the user.

Pro Tip: Keep in mind that no one has the recipe for the secret sauce, which means there is equal opportunity to improve your SEO. Be sure to work with qualified SEO experts that have experience developing proven search strategies that yield quantifiable results.

SEO – The Only Constant is Change

You might be wondering why best practices for SEO change so frequently. The answer is simple – digital marketers must adapt quickly every time a search algorithm changes.

To adapt to new technologies (mobile search included) or to make sure the search algorithm isn’t compromised, Google routinely tweaks and updates the formula.

Sometimes it will be a small change and other times it will be sizeable but either way, when algorithms change, SEO guidelines will change too.

Pro Tip: When doing SEO research, always check the date of the article or study that you’re reading to make sure you’re getting the most up-to-date information available. If it was written a few years ago, you might find that it is out of date and practices have moved on since then.

One Size Does Not Fit All

No two companies have identical SEO struggles. Every website, and at times each web page, comes with its own set of unique variables that must be addressed to ensure the best performance.

The SEO plan that your top competitor used to boost their rankings and increase their website traffic probably won’t work as well for you. Maybe their strategy was built around revamping keywords, whereas your keywords are proven, and you really need help with obtaining links.

Remember, an SEO strategy isn’t plug and play. You may get SEO advice that is correct in theory, but it’s just not right for you.

Pro Tip: Don’t settle for an agency that tries to sell you a pre-packaged SEO plan. Be sure to work with a firm that will take the time to understand your particular company goals and then build a robust digital marketing plan for your SEO marketing initiatives.

‘In Theory’ vs. ‘In Practice’

If an SEO specialist were to rely solely on what could theoretically work for an SEO strategy, it would be easy for them to make mistakes. Some experts have found that what should be the case based on what Google says about its algorithm, is not always the case.

That’s why digital marketers and SEO professionals must continuously test their theories and keep a close watch on how the industry is changing.

Pro Tip: What is right in theory may not happen in practice. Continue to test your SEO strategy and keep an eye on what’s working best and what can be improved.

By design, SEO is a mysterious practice that is constantly changing and demands fine tuning with every algorithm update. With so much conflicting information about SEO to sort through, it can be challenging to know which advice is right for your website.

Luckily, with the right information, it will be easier for you to make the right decision. Don’t hesitate to ask a trusted colleague for a reference or ask your prospective agency for case studies.

If you’ve received advice from another SEO company, but you’re not sure if it’s trustworthy, reach out to Sprout Media Lab for a Free Consultation. Our expert team will develop an SEO strategy that will boost your rankings, increase your website traffic and generate more leads for your business.