Creating a website for your business can take a lot of time and money. You’ll either drop some serious cash if you choose to pay a professional, or need to channel some serious focus and patience, even with the right tools in place.

Once you’ve got a website you’re proud of, you’ll want it to rank well with the popular search engines. Otherwise, all that time and money will have been for nothing.

So you turn to search engine optimization.

You start thinking, “How do I get search engines to recognize my website and begin recommending me to local consumers?” SEO is one of the more technical topics local business owners and corporate marketers have to worry about. After all, most of us weren’t born understanding search engine algorithms or with extensive coding knowledge. (I know I wasn’t!)

There are several SEO myths out there that stem from old algorithms for how search engines used to rank sites. And they can be awfully tough to dig through if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

We’re here to help you avoid getting stuck in the past by sharing outdated SEO myths that Google’s thrown right out the window.

3 Things Google Doesn’t Care About (SEO Myths)

1. Keyword Density

What I’m not saying is keywords are no longer important. According to Forbes, they still are. But not in the way they used to be.

You should always conduct keyword research when trying to rank for certain searches, especially if you’re in a really competitive, or a really niche market. By figuring out which search terms are most popular in relation to your industry, you can make sure you’re using the right terminology throughout your website.

Keyword density has been replaced by what’s called semantic search. Without getting overly technical, semantic search focuses more on what Google thinks a searcher is looking for, and less on the exact keywords they’re searching. It pulls factors such as related searches, similar search terms, past queries and searcher location to estimate what the searcher might find most helpful. Sounds kind of sci-fi if you ask me! But it’s fact, not fiction.

So instead of finding one search term you think best fits your business and plastering it across your website, focus on 3-4 terms that all mean basically the same thing, and frequently incorporate language about your location and related insights you have.

2. Content Length

Of all the SEO myths out there, this one is a sticky subject. There’s data out there that suggests web pages with more text get ranked higher. That’s…sometimes the case. Instead of focusing on meeting a word count quota, focus on answering a specific question as well as one or two related questions.

Quick Example: The Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Here’s an example that may not apply to your business directly but simplifies this concept. Let’s say you want your website to rank for the term “chocolate chip cookie recipe.” Most obviously, your page should include just that – a killer recipe that’s simple, easy to understand, and includes the main ingredients (keywords) for which your target consumer is searching.

Once you’ve got the basics accounted for, there are some helpful ways to expand the content, and some not-so-helpful ways.

  • Offer substitutions for ingredients that may have common allergies associated.
  • Offer low-calorie substitutions for the flour.
  • Talk about how using a certain type of butter or baking at a certain altitude will affect your cookies’ consistency.
Not Helpful:
  • Recipes for other types of cookies
  • Why chocolate chip cookies are overrated
  • How terrible your aunt is at interpreting your recipe

Those not-so-helpful examples may seem a bit outrageous, but you get the point.

3. Bounce Rate (On Its Own)

As far as Google is concerned, a bounce rate increases with the number of people who reach your website via search, then click the back button to return to their initial query. Older Google algorithms punished sites with high bounce rates (or low “time on site” metrics), because Google used to think this meant your content was irrelevant, unhelpful, or otherwise incomplete.

Now, consumers conduct internet searches for questions that can be answered fairly quickly and easily. Think: “Hey, Siri…” or “Alexa…”

So higher bounce rates are becoming a tad more common, and they don’t necessarily signal that a site was unhelpful. Often, it’s actually due to a better-than-average site load time, meaning a site loaded so quickly and had the information organized so well, that the searcher didn’t have to linger any longer than necessary to get their question answered.

The Takeaway: Google is Friend, Not Foe

SEO isn’t anything to be afraid of. But it’s also not something you can shortcut if you want to be successful at it. So do your homework, and ensure any SEO practices you put into place are from both reputable and recent sources.