Today we’re leaving content behind and moving on to discussions of the myths surrounding consistency and linking.

For local SEO, city, state, and/or country is all you need.

Nope, it’s just not enough. Here, consistency is critical and optimizing for local search will both help your site get found, and help it be discovered by the people who are nearby and are most likely to buy from you. White hat SEO strategies help you bring qualified leads to your virtual and physical door. 

In July of 2014, Google released the Pigeon algorithm which treats local search rankings more like traditional search rankings and improves the way Google evaluates distance when determining rankings. Consistent citations are so critically important for local SEO. Take the time to check your address, making sure that your spelling and abbreviations are the same throughout your site. Believe it or not, if you list your address as “Rd.” on Contact Us and “Road” on your homepage, search engines will perceive these as two different addresses. Search engines are increasingly omniscient, but they’re still algorithms. Take the time to check your work and be consistent throughout.

Microsites and domains that redirect to my site help SEO.

Not too long ago, companies bought domains like kindergarteners collect Easter Eggs. The ruling philosophy was: the more the better. With today’s emphasis on quality content, though, this is a strategy set up for failure. It’s hard enough to maintain meaningful and current content on one website dedicated to your brand, let alone four or five or ten. Do yourself and your buyers a favor, play favorites and focus. The chances of microsites and redirects doing anything for your SEO are pretty nonexistent. Search engines are smart enough to know who the registrants are for a domain and can see if it’s the same person as your primary domain. It’s true, microsites can have a valid reason for existence when they serve a specific marketing goal and each site caters to a specific brand or audience. As a link-building strategy, however, it’s just not a viable long-term business strategy.

All links are created equally.

No, they are not! Santa knows when you’ve been naughty or nice and the Tooth Fairy knows when that egg-collecting kindergartener has lost a tooth. Similarly, Google knows when your links are intentional, thoughtful and meaningful. In these Penguin, Hummingbird and Panda days, Google has eyes and uses them. Not only will sub-par links not help, but your site may actually be penalized. Collect and use your links wisely.

FACT: Consistency and honesty win.

Do unto your website as you would have done unto you. Ask the most detail-oriented person on your team to comb your site, making sure your address matches Google Maps record precisely. Cut down on the chaff and direct your attention to the wheat of your business: your primary website. And for goodness sake, only link to content that you would take the time to read.