10 Ways SEO’s Can Over-Optimize a Site

Posted on by admin | in longhorn

Everywhere you look online there’s another article about search engine optimization, or as it’s more commonly known “SEO”. No matter what you’re selling or what business you’re in, SEO has been the buzzword/all the rage for a few years now. SEO refers to a process that allows websites to increase traffic, gain market share, eliminate liver spots and save a whale… Problem is, it’s been so ingrained in website owners’ minds that many have over-optimized their sites.  They actually started building sites for search engine ranking instead of for actual USERS.   Here are 10 examples of how an SEO can go just a bit too far:

  1. Keyword Stuffing – This is probably the most common form of “over-optimization” among offending websites. It is the overuse of words or phrases that are relevant to either the website itself, or to the search parameters used by surfers whom the website is targeting, in order to increase ranking for those terms.  If you are still doing this and somehow survived the many Google panda updates I am sure your days are numbered.
  2. Hidden Text – This is basically another means of keyword stuffing, only it’s done in such a way that it isn’t visible to the reader. It will, however, be indexed by search engine crawlers, and is typically done by masking the text. This is accomplished by using a font color that matches the background.  There are basically no circumstances where this should ever be legitimately required.
  3. Over-use of Backlinks – The idea behind backlinks is that the more sites out there that you have out there linking to your site, the more popular your site must be, and therefore the more value your content is perceived to have. The problem is that sheer numbers of links don’t speak to quality of content, and if your site backlinks to a lot of useless pages/content; then it’s just gaming the system.  As we have all seen with the Google penguin updates though, some backlinks can be very harmful (tip: Google negative SEO as well and see how many hits you get).  There is such a thing as a backlink you can and should refuse!
  4. Weak Links – Conversely, if your page has too many weak links out to other websites, especially above the fold, for the purpose of ranking for a partner (link swapping, reciprocal link exchanges, etc.), the website will be viewed as overly-optimized by Google at the very least, and probably your visitors too.  This just looks cheesey and is a super dated technique any way, just delete any reciprocal link exchange pages you have as they are not helping you.
  5. Forcing What Should Come Naturally – Link building and optimization should take place in the form of building a network between your site and other related destinations that appeal to surfers looking for what you provide. In other words, ‘if you build it, they will come’ – and that doesn’t mean links, it means quality content.  People have used techniques like creating mini sites to link to their sites and using large blog networks to link to their sites, but this is not natural and eventually Google will catch on and your site will suffer.
  6. Content That is Keyword-Driven – You’ve no doubt seen examples of this, where the content is written so awkwardly that it becomes unreadable. And it’s done for nothing more than the sake of repeating a keyword phrase umpteen times in the space of two paragraphs.
  7. Anchor Text – When your backlinks all have the same anchor text, regardless of where they are linking to, that’s a give-away sign that you are over-optimizing. Naturally obtained backlinks will vary in their anchor text and sometimes will just be to a literal page on your site as that is what a person naturally linking to your resource would do.
  8. Doorway Pages – This is the use of a web page that is designed strictly for search engines, and provides no content for the viewer. Its only purpose is to redirect users to one’s website and increase ranking.  This technique used to be heavily used by affiliate marketers but it has been rendered almost useless by the various recent Google updates.
  9. Too Many Ads – Yes, ads earn revenue, but having too many above the fold, especially if they aren’t relevant to the page content smacks of over-optimization. Quality content needs to be the foremost consideration in that crucial area.
  10. Too Many Links with Same Content – When you create links to pages on your website that are essentially duplicates of another page, or one for each keyword, it’s definitely a case of over-optimizing your website.  The simple rule you should always live by is to never duplicate content (content you wrote included).

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