As an SEO copywriter, I work with a number of SEO companies providing copy for their clients. Many times, the SEO companies have certain guidelines they want me to follow when writing the copy. Some of these guidelines are based off proven SEO practices. Others are based on long outdated SEO techniques, and some are based on pure, unadulterated myths.

1. Word counts—It used to be believed that content had to reach a certain minimum word count for it to be indexed and ranked properly by the search engines. Some say the minimum magic word count in 400 words, and others claim it’s 250 words. Me? I say the concept is completely bogus. Don’t believe me? Just search for any term on Google, and look at the top pages in the results. Chances are, the word counts across these pages vary greatly—from just a few words to several hundred words.

The point? Don’t write to a word count. You’ll end up with a lot of filler content, and instead of paying attention to creating captivating, results-driven content, you end up with just words. Write until it’s just right.

2. Keyword density—File this under the “SEO Myth” category. People used to believe (and some really out of touch SEOs still do) that if you could achieve a certain keyword density, your website would magically jump up the search rankings. Again, it’s a bogus concept that you can easily disprove by doing some searching on your own. There is no magic keyword density. And when you try to write copy only with keywords in mind, you end up with stiff, robotic copy that doesn’t convert visitors. Want to rank well? Write great content that attracts quality links.

3. Keyword headlines—Yes, it’s a good idea to put keywords in your headlines/H1 tags. But the intrigue and clarity of your headline is far more important than its keyword-richness. Remember, the headline is the first thing a new visitor to your website sees. If it doesn’t grab their attention and force them to keep reading, they’ll abandon your website.

4. Heavy internal linking—When done properly, internal linking within your copy can help Google better classify the pages on your site and it can drive visitors forward toward conversion. However, if you take internal linking overboard, it becomes a distraction. It can easily overwhelm readers, giving them too many options. When that happens, they usually choose none and back out.

Do you use any of these techniques when writing your SEO copy? Do you think they’re holding your copy back? Share your experiences in the replies.