Making your website rank on the first page is the key to staying ahead of the competitors and being visible to your target audience. After all, this is where you need to be to get traffic that can ultimately yield conversions and revenue for your business. Needless to say, you must have a result-focused SEO strategy in place to reach there and sustain your ranking as well. But as with any other thing, overdoing search engine optimization can also do more harm than good for any website. If you have been following the more is a better approach, there are chances that you may come across an over-optimization penalty sooner rather than later.
Things have changed with time and search engines are now smarter than ever- nothing matters more to them than serving relevant, high-quality content that matches the intent of the searchers. That’s the only way you can win the SEO game and not doing so can get you in trouble. All because search engines can easily make out wrong practices like overuse of keywords and building backlinks with shady directories! Even if you are doing something unintentionally, you can still expect a penalty for crossing the line. So how do you recognize over-optimization if you aren’t really doing it deliberately? And if you are following wrong practices, what are the indications you should stop right now? Here are the signs you need to be watchful about.
Keywords stuffing can spell trouble
As the name suggests, keyword stuffing refers to excessive use of target keywords in the content of your web pages. Whether you do stuffing unintentionally or out of choice, it always means bad news. When you try to cheat the search engines by stuffing the content with keywords, you often end up compromising with the content quality. This is the last thing that you would want to happen because it translates into a poor user experience. Google is strictly against this practice and will definitely penalize you for it. Some marketers also resort to keyword stuffing in the site’s footer by simply inserting a bunch of keywords there. This is another trick that can land you in a problem in terms of over-optimization.
Irrelevant keywords never work
Like keyword stuffing, another practice that signals SEO over-optimization is the use of irrelevant keywords in the content. If you believe that using keywords that can fetch you traffic but are not relevant to the content would bring any benefit, remember that they won’t. Relevance is one of the top-ranking metrics and not adhering to it means that you are inviting Google’s wrath and can expect a penalty soon. Ensuring that you use only relevant keywords gives you better chances of achieving results that last.
Anchor text over-optimization is harmful
Another sign that indicates you are going wrong with SEO is the over-optimization of anchor text. Essentially, anchor text is the text piece within the content that links to another website. It matters to search engines from the relevance perspective- the link inserted in the anchor text should be natural and contextual. At the same time, using the same keywords for anchor links every time is considered as over-optimization and can bring a penalty for your site. SEO specialists at SEOJet recommend using a mix of key phrase anchors along with other anchor types for the sake of optimization. They suggest sticking to an anchor text ratio that makes them appear as natural as possible and improves the user experience as well.
Spammy links harm rather than help
When it comes to doing your SEO right, your backlinks have a key role to play. If you accept spammy and bad backlinks believing that they would bring some benefits for your profile, you are mistaken. Ideally, your focus should be on getting backlinks from high-authority, niche relevant websites that have the potential of driving qualified traffic to your website. Although your backlink should be a mix of high-, mid- and low-quality links, steering clear of spammy ones is the best thing to do. And if you happen to locate them during periodic link audits for your site, disavowing them immediately makes sense.
Too many outgoing links are not good
While spammy backlinks are bad for your SEO, too many outgoing links aren’t good as well, unless they are all with quality websites. The problem with a large number of backlinks is that you cannot possibly keep track of them. There are chances of links getting broken over time but you may still have the URLs on your webpage. This doesn’t make a great impression of search engines because it indicates that your page is not up-to-date. Broken-down links and stale content on your web page eventually leads to ranking loss. So it is wise to have a limited number of quality backlinks that you can easily manage and follow up rather than leave them to fate.
Quantity over quality is not the right approach
Focusing only on SEO and not paying attention to content is another wrong practice. Creating loads of poor quality content but churning out numbers means that you are over-optimizing and can expect to get an over-optimization penalty for your website. Google cares most about a good user experience, which greatly depends on the presence of quality content that matches the need and intent of the audience. If your website has informative pieces that cater to real value on topics that the user would be interested in, you can surely see a ranking boost quickly. On the other hand, creating hundreds of pages with shallow content will not do any good in terms of increasing your search rankings.
There isn’t much you need to do to avoid over-optimizing your SEO. Just using common sense when doing SEO will help- all you need to do is to follow Google guidelines and put user experience first. And you must do it in the entire aspects of SEO, whether it is about using keywords, creating links, or writing content. Following the aforementioned tips has you covered while you must keep track of Google’s algorithm and align your strategy accordingly.