Because SEO is such a complex and ever-changing topic, many marketers today are employing outdated practices to rank their websites in Google. In this blog post, I aim to inform you of the 8 most common SEO practices or recommendations that Google doesn’t actually look at when deciding how to rank a website.
#1 Raw Bounce Rate Or Time On Site
In this case, it’s important to differentiate between bounce rate and what’s known as ‘pogo-sticking’: Bounce rate is the level of inactivity ON your website whereas pogo-sticking is the rate of visitors who click on your website only to return back to the search results and select another site, signalling to Google that your website didn’t answer their question as well as they had hoped. When ranking a website, Google doesn’t care much for bounce rate but does factor in the pogo-sticking rate.
In terms of the time spent on site; if 1 website has a faster loading time and delivers information quicker than others, the time on site may be a lot lower than it’s competitors.
Because of the variables involved in both bounce rate and time on site, Google generally doesn’t concern itself with these metrics and, instead, focuses more on what the visitor does AFTER the information has (or has not) been delivered.
#2 Social Shares
In terms of Social presence, Google doesn’t actually care about how many shares your website has on social media websites, exactly. If your social presence helps other factors such as lower pogo-sticking rates, increased click-through rates, and preference, these factors will influence your ranking in the search results. So while social shares don’t DIRECTLY influence your website’s ranking, it can INDIRECTLY improve other ranking factors.
#3 Your Website’s Age
This debate has been around for a while: Does your website’s age affect its rankings?
The short answer: No.
The long answer: Just because a website has been around longer, it doesn’t mean the content is better by any means. For example, A new science research website created in 2016 by the research department at Cambridge University which uploads high-quality articles every week and has backlinks from .ac.uk websites will probably rank higher than a science news website started in 1997 with 3 badly-written articles and minimal high-quality backlinks.
#4 Title Separator Characters
Another debate that’s been around for a little while is marketers arguing over whether a pipe separator, colon or other characters in titles provides better SEO value. In short: It makes no difference whatsoever.
- ShoeShop.com | Buy Shoes Online
- ShoeShop.com – Buy Shoes Online
- ShoeShop.com: Buy Shoes Online
- ShoeShop.com · Buy Shoes Online
Any of these would be a good choice, it’s entirely up to you.
#5 Page Headline H Tag
Google doesn’t look at whether the page’s headline is in an H1, H2 or even an H5. As long as it’s clearly the headline by being big, bold and at the top, Google is smart enough to know that this is the page’s headline, regardless of H tag.
#6 Your Website’s Technology/CMS
#7 Using Google’s Products
Whether you do or don’t use Google Analytics (we highly recommend you do for website analysis!), it doesn’t make any difference to your website’s SEO. Some marketers have this conspiracy theory that “if you use Google’s products, they’ll reward you for it. It’s their way of promoting their own stuff.”. This is, of course, absolute nonsense. There is no data to back this claim up and doesn’t make any sense; if Google wanted to promote their products, they’d run much better campaigns than secretly hiding ranking signals inside their products.
#8 Hosting Options
As long as your website is fast and serves high quality, relevant content to the end users, Google doesn’t care whether you pay £5/month or £5,000/month for hosting. It doesn’t matter if you’re on shared hosting with a bunch of other websites or your own server; if a hosting company advertises ‘SEO Benefits’ from it’s hosting, avoid them at all costs as they are lying.