Is Over-Optimization Hurting Your Website?
SEO optimization is essential to website growth. It is the use of specially selected keywords, planned linking, and other SEO optimization techniques that raise a website's standings with search engines like Google and make the site visible to consumers. Unfortunately, where optimization is concerned, there can be too much of a good thing.
Over-optimizing your site can not only distract and frustrate visitors, but also lower rankings in search engines by flagging the site for intentional misuse. When constructing and populating a website, it is essential to use optimization in a way that feels natural, intentional, and balanced.
Be aware of these three types of optimization: On-page optimization refers to how the actual website is optimized for search engines. Best practices are to use good layouts and be sensitive to accessibility. On-page over-optimization usually has to do with keyword stuffing. Off-page optimization has more to do with linking practices; both outbound and inbound linking should be well directed. Content appearing twice on your site can also be seen as over-optimization and can be subject to search engine ranking penalties.
Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Using keywords too many times in a single section of text not only makes your website information dull for readers, but also activates red flags with search engine monitoring systems; this costs you in the rankings. Ideally, keyword density should be about 1.5 to 2 percent of the total text. Every keyword used should fit into the text naturally and be grammatically correct. Some website creators try to sneak in extra keywords by using white wording, or hidden text. These are text boxes, filled in with white font, on a white background. The flaw is that when the page is highlighted, perhaps for copy-and-paste purposes or for select-to-print purposes, the text shows up, becoming a visual distraction.
Avoid Useless Links
Backlinks, weak links, and inbound links weaken a website's structure and damage optimization, especially as users become frustrated by links that go nowhere or have no clear use. A website visitor wants the navigation to be seamless and intuitive. Too many links within the text make the page harder to navigate because users simply do not know where to go. In addition, links that are not useful or important, or link back to a single partnering site can cause your search engine standings to fall. Use only links that have a specific purpose that you can justify as a site enhancement.
Avoid Duplicate Content
It is important that every page in the website have meaning and offer new and specific information. Too often websites create multiple pages that simply rephrase the same information. Rehashing "Bus Services in Cleveland" by writing a second article titled "The Metropolitan Transportation Service in Cleveland" does not help your visitor or your SEO standing. Instead, develop a series of pages on related topics, each offering unique insight into your business or service.
Over-optimizing a site is just as dangerous as under-optimizing a site. Failing to provide interesting and unique content for site visitors will, over time, drive your consumer base away. Website creators need to realize that the website is not used by a search engine, but by a living, breathing customer in search of specific information. The best way to avoid over-optimization is to keep site content natural and structured with the user in mind.
About the Author
Charles Dearing consults with businesses on SEO and hosting needs. He enjoys sharing his knowledge on various tech blogs. Visit WhoIsHostingThis.com reviews for information on how the top webhosts perform.