It’s my understanding that questions asking for SEO advice are off-topic on Stack Overflow, while questions with a SEO context should be on-topic.
It’s "How should I … for SEO" (= SEO advice) versus "[Because of SEO] I want to …" (= SEO context).
"Unfortunately" questions of the latter case are often also tagged with seo, and it seems to me that they are sometimes getting closed (primarily) because of having this tag.
For example, these questions are closed currently:
- https://stackoverflow.com/q/21233315/1591669: Although this question references "SEO" in the title and tags, the question itself is about the Canonical link relation, and not about search engines’ interpretation of the Canonical link relation.
- Can Microdata be applied on any type of HTML element?: This question is about Microdata, not about search engines’ interpretation of Microdata (although the initial version contained the question "Will Google still pick up on this correctly?", this was only an additional side question that shouldn’t invalidate the whole question).
- Setting a different title tag for a URL with a hash?: It’s tagged with "SEO", but the OP is asking for a way to accomplish it, not if it should be done or if/how search engines would interpret it.
Was this the right move to close them?
Couldn’t this be a simple guideline to decide if a "SEO" tagged question is on-topic?
Can this question be answered by referencing a standard/specification (instead of a blog post or a search engine’s documentation)?
If yes, it’s probably on-topic. (Well, it would at least apply to those three example questions.)
Or the countercheck:
Would an answer to this question depend on the (current) behaviour/documentation/support of a search engine web service?
If yes, it’s likely off-topic.