We’ve all heard of the classic black hat tactics too many times—cloaking, keyword stuffing, doorway pages, etc.—so it’s safe to say that any good business has steered clear. However, what many don’t realize is that there are actually some other SEO practices that aren’t doing small businesses any favors but are not getting much publicity. They may not be on the black hat list or getting you penalized, but they’re wasting your time and they’re hurting your numbers. The sooner you can cut out some of your unnecessary practices, the better.

SEO Methods to Quit Using ASAP

Below are a few SEO methods that small businesses need to drop as soon as possible:

  1. Putting keywords in a URL.

Most small businesses are well aware that putting too many keywords in your content or using keyword rich anchor texts is no longer a best practice, but for some reason the idea of keywords in URLs is still being used. The truth is that if you want your article to appear based on the keywords in your URL, you have to use Exact Match Queries. URls cannot affect rankings by themselves, so focusing on putting keywords in your URLs is unnecessary. As Reflective Dynamics President Michael Martinez says in his article about SEO myths, “Keywords-in-URL are a sugar pill, nothing more.”

  1. Focusing only on Google SEO.

Many small businesses put all of their time and resources into optimizing for Google, but the truth is that while Google is the largest search engine and is important, there are other players in 2015. Social media platforms, for example, each have their own algorithms and their own ways of ranking results. More and more people are beginning to get involved in social media, so it’s important for small businesses to think about how they can optimize those channels as well as optimize their websites for social sharing and therefore social rankings. Learn more here.

Aside from just social media, other search engines such as Bing and Yahoo also deserve the attention of small businesses. For some, these search engines may actually bring in more targeted traffic than Google, but it has never been tested. Third-party sites like Yelp also deserve a little bit of SEO attention. Moral of the story is that for most businesses, SEO needs to be about more than just Google.

  1. Guest blogging too often.

A year or so ago we heard Matt Cutts write about the dangers of building links just for SEO purposes. This scared a lot of companies in regards to linking and helped bring light to the fact that links need to be natural and relevant to readers. However, one aspect of the article that businesses are still missing is the idea of guest posting. If you’re guest posting too often and in too many places, that is also a red flag to Google. This tactic worked in the past, but the sooner you can break this habit and focus on guest posting less but on more authoritative sites, the better.

  1. Focusing on bounce rate for rankings.

It has been a myth for a while that bounce rates are a big ranking factor for Google. This has lead many companies to create deeper websites, meaning it takes a longer number of clicks to get to certain pages, because this would keep readers on the website for longer. Of course this tactic is a catch-22 already because this could ironically cause people to bounce off of your site because they are annoyed, but some companies find that it will keep the bounce rate down.

The truth is that A). Bounce rate doesn’t matter when it comes to rankings for Google and B). Your bounce rate doesn’t mean much if no one is converting, which should be your ultimate goal. It’s better to see a high bounce rate and a high conversion rate than the opposite.

The Takeaway

Of course, there are lots of other practices that you shouldn’t be using that have been discussed over the last year including using keyword-rich anchor text, publishing links in spammy directories, focusing too much on keyword density, and more. Visit this article to read more in-depth about some of these age-old SEO practices that businesses need to kick.

What SEO practices do you think small businesses need to finally stop using? Let us know in the comments below.