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  • Writer's pictureChris Green

Making 50 “it depends…” videos

For a long time as a consultant or trainer, I have found myself unable to directly answer questions in SEO. Often the simplest questions are the most challenging.


Reaching for “it depends…” has become a pet peeve of mine for various reasons. So I wanted to challenge myself to address these questions head-on. 


The curse of “it depends…”


If you have watched webinars, attended conferences, worked in an agency, or just hung around SEOs for any length of time, you’ll have heard this phrase more than once.





The curse here is that we’ve become so knowing about this phenomenon, that it has become a cliche that has more and outlived its usefulness. Some use it in a knowing, tongue-in-cheek way, but some rely on it as a clutch.


In seriousness, it has become a bit of a bane for us all. Those who aren’t in on the joke mostly find it frustrating and it often erodes the trust in the consultant reaching for it.


Those who aren’t in on the joke mostly find it frustrating and it often erodes the trust in the consultant reaching for it.

This isn’t something unique to SEOs, far from it. Anyone who deals in a complex area, or a “subject matter expert” will find that this can be the most accurate answer to questions from the uninitiated.


As a stand-alone answer, it doesn’t help anyone and it is a way (intended or not) to suggest that the question was not a good one.


I feel quite strongly that instead of answering “it depends…”, it is far more useful to offer an answer based on sensible context or a most common scenario. If you cannot do this, you can ask for more context before answering.


Worse case though, “it depends…” is mistakenly used instead of “I don’t know”. This is a more complex point, but if you’re using complexity to mask your lack of understanding you’re on wobbly ground. Probably best to avoid this.


You don’t have to answer “it depends…”


As a challenge to myself, I created 50 short videos (you can find them here) in which I tackled SEO questions within 60 seconds or less.





Some questions are posed by other digital markers, others from clients and mentees, but they are often some of the most frequent you’d encounter in SEO.


If I hadn’t made it clear enough so far, the answer “it depends…” is what we are retreating from. It offers no value and if you can avoid it, it will make you better at communicating your ideas.


Being Succinct is Hard, But Most Important 


As the context for the toughest SEO questions is often meetings/calls the Shorts/TikTok format felt like a natural place to address these. Being brief is so important.


I also had fun creating the looping format which probably is less important, but still enjoyable nonetheless.


distillation of thought and clarity of explanation is the most important.

The mental stretch here is your ability to distill a complex answer into its key parts, offer those considerations, and ultimately provide either a) an answer or b) a route toward the answer.


I can’t profess that I think each short nails this 100%, there are some I wish were 30s longer and others where I’m not convinced the emphasis is in the right place. But - for me at least - the benefit to me has been the journey itself.


When I have watched consultants (whether in my team or another) saying “It depends…” and then following with a waffling explanation I cringe, it does not provide the value you think it does. I can talk for too long on these things myself - so maybe this is what makes it more frustrating to see this in others too. 


Either way, a distillation of thought and clarity of explanation is the most important.


There Are Not as Many Different Issues as You Think


Anyone exposed to the SEO industry will feel what they do is super complex and changes often. In reality, this is less the case than you might feel.


Finding out what you do isn’t as complex as you or others think can be worrying. But it should be freeing.

Step back from the detail (which itself can be changeable) and you’ll soon see commonalities and where the answers overlap.


At first, the emotion here might be anxiety or worry. Finding out what you do isn’t as complex as you or others think can be worrying. But it should be freeing.


When you and others can more quickly isolate the problem and the activity require to solve it - action can begin. This is what we're all searching for.


After all, SEO success isn’t real when recommendations aren’t realised, so this more direct route to action should be welcomed. 


A Script Is Your Friend (Sometimes)


My least favourite thing is to use a script. It feels restrictive, and inauthentic and is something I’ve always avoided.


Recording these shorts has required a script, no question. Hitting the key points within a minute without serving a bowl of word salad would have been significantly harder without it

But given teleprompters are widely used and scripts are written and rehearsed by people far better at communicating than myself, it’s a bit arrogant to think I’m above them somehow.


Recording these shorts has required a script, no question. Hitting the key points within a minute without serving a bowl of word salad would have been significantly harder without it.


I can’t say I’ll script everything (I quite enjoy communicating off the cuff, it feels a little like play), but writing your points, rehearsing them, and committing them to memory is so important.


If you are someone who finds they say too much this can benefit possibly more than someone who sometimes cannot find enough to say.


The Videos


If you have seen the series before - great, please like & share if you feel inclined - if you haven’t you can follow me on TikTok or Subscribe on YouTube.


For those feeling nosey but don’t want to commit yet, the playlist can be found here.


What Are Your “It Depends…” Questions?


I am still looking for more/new “it depends” questions - so please send them my way. Every question that is answered on the channel will get you a 3D Printed “it depends…” speech bubble for your troubles.


Any/all feedback is welcome, drop me a comment or DM!


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