Critical Reasoning Skills

I have frequently said that critical reasoning skills are essential for Marketers, especially those in SEO. I even had it on the list of critical traits for hiring enterprise SEOs. On any given day, there are hundreds of posts and articles on the topic, many of which contradict each other and others that defy any logic. Yet, many take them as gospel and act on them often with detrimental outcomes.

Earlier this week, John Muller from Google was asked via X for help supporting adding a Contact Us page to a niche sports blog. John suggested that if they want communication and feedback from users, they should add it. The original poster stated that this was not for feedback and that other ways exist. They understood they should not do things just for Google but had heard that; however, they heard that a Contact Us page was important (stating it was a make or break rule) to Google but could not find any reference from Google in any documentation.

John agreed that no SEO guidelines required such a page, but he could see numerous reasons to have one. This prompted Barry Schwartz from Search Engine Roundtable to sarcastically comment that many SEOs would now rush to remove contact and about us from their pages. This happened in the past when Google said something was unnecessary, no longer used, or had minimal value, so they immediately removed it. Barry posted an article on what is essentially a PSA to avoid removing the contact and about us pages from websites.

I love John’s comment about critical thinking being a ranking factor. When anything is in 10 paragraphs of that statement, it is overanalyzed, and a dozen people use AI to churn out guides and master classes before the ink is dry on the original statement.

Unfortunately, this is the SEO world we live in today, where people see a headline, a tweet, or hear a fragment of a conversation and take it at full value without any further consideration. When I was an active SEO, Google announced that disavow files were unnecessary, and I had a dozen requests from clients demanding we remove them. Google said they were necessary and never said they would hurt you in any way. Practitioners are so eager to jump on the latest thing they do it blindly without even a simple sniff test to see if this makes sense and if it needs any action.

Thank you, Barry, for the PSA reminding people it is ok to keep these pages even if Google does not explicitly benefit from them, as this will save those checklists SEOs some by not having to update the checklist.