By now we’ve all heard about Google’s Panda and Penguin updates. But after perusing several websites over the past while, it’s easy to see that some webmasters still don’t get the message.
Google is looking for QUALITY CONTENT, not “sneaky SEO manipulated” pages.
Google definitely penalizes sites or pages that are over-optimized. And while there is no exact definition for “over optimized,” it’s becoming more and more obvious that Google would probably like it if SEO just quietly went away…. Well, maybe not completely disappear, but you get the idea.
I can hear your thoughts…”Are you nuts?” Or… “What are you saying, that there’s no point in doing any SEO now?”
No and no. But you have to know how to walk a fine line between over-optimization and under-optimization. If you are over-optimized you will get penalized. Yet if you are under-optimized, your website won’t show up well in the search rankings.
In the “good ol’ bad ol’ days” there were some SEO “experts” that used every trick in the book to try and fool Google into thinking their web pages held quality content. Content that was exactly what people searching on Google were looking for when they typed in certain search queries (aka Keywords).
When in fact, there was precious little subject matter on those pages that matched what people were looking for… just lots of matching keywords stuffed into the page’s titles, headings, page content, etc. But very little relevant content supporting those keywords.
And there was a whole basket of other “tricks” these same people used to try and fool the search engines… you probably know what many of those were if you’ve been involved in internet marketing for more than a month. 😉
We won’t even mention spammy, low-quality backlinks…. Oops, sorry about that. My hand just typed that in.
Here’s the point…
Many websites still are using some of these tired, worn-out, “let’s fool Google” type of “SEO” techniques. Despite all the warnings and articles popping up all over the place. These are the websites that are sinking so fast on the search engine rankings you need a submarine to find them.
To be fair, some website owners did not know what techniques their SEO gurus were using. And many website owners just aren’t knowledgeable about SEO in general. They are more focused on running their businesses and trusting their webmasters or SEO guys to do the right thing.
So what IS over-optimization?
Depends on who you listen to. But here are some fairly obvious things that could get you penalized for over-optimization:
- More than two obvious keywords in your page titles
- Cramming keywords into your meta descriptions
- Multiple keywords in page headings
- Too little relevant content in your page copy to support the number of times your keywords appear
- Out and out keyword stuffing
- Duplicative content on two or more pages on your site
- Plagiarized, duplicative content on your page that was “scraped” from other websites
- Backlinks coming from web pages whose subject matter isn’t relevant to the content on your page – even if those backlinks come from pages that have high PageRank “juice”
Basically, you are over-optimizing if you are trying to cover up the fact that you have little real, original content on your pages and are relying mainly on “SEO” to try and move your site up the search engine results pages (SERPS).
I’ve just touched on this subject here, because its scope is too large to cram into a single blog post. But I think you get the idea.
If you are a business owner relying on someone else to handle your SEO, make sure they are reputable and using true “white hat” SEO, and not over-optimizing your site in a desperate move to try to get it showing up higher in the search engine rankings.
And make sure you have valuable, relevant, original content on your web pages. Your users will appreciate it, and the search engines will reward it, all other things being equal.
Written by Bob Nelson
Bob is a very experienced Marketing Specialist for both the internet and traditional methods and a valuable member of the Results Professional Marketing Company team.
Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to RESULTS PROFESSIONAL MARKETING and a clickable link back to this page.