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    How to Avoid SEO Over-Optimization

    How to Avoid SEO Over-Optimization

    Ensuring your website and its content achieve its goals of generating traffic and lead nurturing is known as search engine optimization (SEO).

    SEO gives your website the best chance of being seen, rated, and found online using various strategies, some overt and others hidden. The people who visit your website should ideally be leads and potential clients.

    Simple but efficient SEO-recommended practices consist of the following:

    • Make a copy using well-chosen keywords.
    • Attention-grabbing headlines using keywords§
    • Suitably composed Meta meta-descriptions
    • Internal connections
    • Links to external resources
    • Backlinks
    • User-friendly website design
    • Constantly releasing fresh material

    Over-Optimization in SEO: What Is It?

    Over-optimization also refers to the situation when SEO specialists, in order to improve the rankings of certain pages in search engines, use exaggerated optimization methods. One of the main ways this may be going against SEO ethics is by keyword stuffing, building plenty of backlinks, and other methods that are intended to improperly improve search engine results. These techniques form the basis of search engine optimization for quite long time. However, the search engines are now smarter and their search algorithm has become better in detecting over-optimization techniques.

    One of these common over-optimization strategies is adding keywords in the meta tags, headers, and content which may soon cause the materials to be so crowded and unreadable than they become unnatural. Yet another thing here is to overbuild scarcity and quality backlinks with the exact match anchor. The search engines may doubt such activity. These specific approaches might appraise temporary rise in positions, but they can worsen ratings that eventually decrease a website position in search results.

    Over-Optimization in SEO

    Why is it harmful to overoptimize in SEO?

    Over-optimization is like a hefty anchor pulling your website down when you should be using SEO to make it rank well and appear high on a SERP.

    These days, sophisticated algorithms enable the intelligent operation of search engines. Search engines now comprehend, process, and attribute value to posted content (blogs and web pages), in contrast to its 1995 iterations. Search engine results are degraded when poor SEO and over-optimization are detected.

    Top 8 Indications That Your Blog Is Overly Optimized

    The most important factors that Google considers when judging whether a website is overly optimized for search engine optimization (SEO) and not for users are listed below. It’s critical to return as soon as possible to more natural behaviors if you’re engaging in any of the following.

    1. Irrelevant Keywords 

    It is never a good idea to rank for keywords unrelated to your content. Even if a topic may receive a lot of search traffic, this won’t increase your conversion rate because visitors will quickly realize that your material differs from what they’re looking for when they visit your website.

    When Google indexes your website, it considers every term you employ throughout the domain. As a result, excessive material or irrelevant keywords will weaken the site’s overall ranking in the SERPs. It would help if you concentrated on your niche to rank for the relevant keywords.

    1. Type of link 

    You might not be aware that hundreds of different link types can be created if you have never created a website from the ground up. Regrettably, people frequently concentrate too much on one connection over another, which usually results in an unnatural link profile.

    The goal is for your website to appear as natural as possible, which may be achieved by drawing in various connection types from all kinds of websites. Social network links, in-content links from other websites in your business, and links obtained from other websites are a few examples of these link types. You may find additional information on the various types of internal links here.

    1. Keyword-rich, non-branded URLs 

    Some webmasters would rather hyper-optimize URLs than build a robust and well-rounded brand identity. Although it may seem wise to select a domain with many keywords, doing so puts you on high alert for over-optimization.

    Since your brand name is too valuable to be compromised by being a keyword, avoid creating a URL just for its keyword value. Including your brand name in your URL is the best course of action.

    1. Rich keyword anchors for internal connections 

    Internal linking works well, but it works poorly when it uses anchor text that is packed with keywords. Google considers anchors that contain keywords or the destination’s actual URL to be suspicious. Positive SEO may be enhanced by the odd anchor that precisely matches the URL. Still, you risk being penalized if you start doing this too frequently.

    In the end, using keyword-rich anchors starts to damage your link profile since, once more, they are not natural—just like everything else on this list. The most crucial aspect of your SEO is your link profile; therefore, avoid the simple error of using keyword-rich anchor text.

    These methods were considered acceptable before Google’s crackdown on anchor text a few years ago. However, Google made it plain that keyword-rich anchor text is not natural. For additional information about Google’s position, check this article.

    1. Directing all links, whether internal or external, to the main navigation pages 

    A strong link profile links to the home and deep internal pages. 50% of the links referring to deep internal links, or 1:1, is considered a healthy ratio. When webmasters themselves add a ton of links to their homepage or to primary navigation pages like “Contact Us,” “About Us,” or “Our Services,” this is known as over-optimization.

    It’s not necessary to direct internal links to these pages; you just want to build them. In reality, you should strive to increase the power of your link profile by including deep internal links.

    1. Backlink Rate 

    Slow down! The search engines will find it suspicious if you build too many backlinks too rapidly. Building high-quality backlinks gradually is crucial until your website surpasses Google’s trust barrier. Depending on your site’s industry, audience, and traffic levels, most experts advocate building no more than 30 to 100 links in a single day (and I would recommend even less).

    The best course of action is to focus on developing high-quality rather than high-quantity links.

    1. Overstuffed with keywords footer 

    Over-optimization also takes place in website footers. Because of their placement, Google gives footer links little crawler notice, which devalues them. Designing your footer with the user in mind is advised. You shouldn’t use your footer as a sitemap or a location to list keywords. Instead, it may just be a lovely page closure—a straightforward yet approachable final point on a homepage indicating its conclusion.

    1. Generation of Content 

    The greatest and most frequent mistake is the one I’ve saved for last. You must exercise extreme caution while crafting blog posts to avoid over-optimization. Maintaining a natural voice is important, and creating material around strict keywords is the only way to score highly in search engine results pages (SERPs). Do not “write to keywords or bots.” Write on subjects related to your niche, but avoid writing exclusively about the keyword.

    Sometimes, this type of material succeeds and appears highly for the keywords it aims for. But before you go out and try to create your own overly optimized, keyword-rich material, keep in mind that Google’s purpose is to give its consumers the greatest search results possible and that, in the long run, high-quality content will always win out in that regard. Thus, ensure your content is written with your readers in mind rather than just search engines.

    Ultimately, your visitors benefit from your content, not Google bots. Your content must appeal to your audience if you want visitors to your website to come back and if you want a high conversion rate.

    Six Typical Indicia of an Overoptimized Website

    Over-optimization can quickly undermine attempts to raise a website’s search engine ranking since it is too much of a good thing.

    What should you avoid doing while creating a website that is search engine optimized in terms of over-optimization? The most typical poor SEO techniques that lead to over-optimization are as follows:

    1. Stuffing keywords (overuse of them)
    2. Only using keywords for rankingsake
    3. Long-form, pointless blog posts
    4. Poor title tags
    5. Poor connection game
    6. Making too many changes to SEO at once
    1. Keyword stuffing, or the overuse of keywords 

    Stuffing a piece of writing with as many instances of the main search phrase you’re writing about to improve its position is known as keyword stuffing. The trick was effective twenty years ago. If you use the same keyword too frequently, your site’s reputation and ranking will suffer.

    The terms that drive the correct visitors to your website are keywords and key phrases. A fundamental principle of search engine optimization is to incorporate pertinent keywords into your online copy and blogs.

    However, there’s a thin line that separates using keywords in your content just for the sake of drawing attention from cramming it with so many that they virtually shout, “Look at me!”

    It’s not what you want. People become irritated by it. Consequently, it also irritates Google. User experience is the main focus in the digital age. Hence, consider how your phrases might benefit your readers once they get on your website rather than cramming it with keywords.

    1. Just for Keywords 

    Turning the corner on ineffective keyword usage and overusing keywords in a piece is another tactic that devalues your web content.

    The majority of blog posts and web pages have a ton of keywords. While the majority are intentionally included based on study, some happen organically. These other keywords, often known as secondary keywords, strengthen the main keyword. Substantial keywords that are well-chosen elevate a piece of text.

    However, adding secondary keywords solely to do so degrades your site’s results, much like employing a prime keyword excessively. Google can become overloaded with keywords to the point where it cannot understand the intent and meaning of your article.

    1. Long-form, pointless blog posts 

    Writing blog posts is a fantastic method to be seen by Google. Continually adding relevant, high-keyword material keeps your website current and, in Google’s eyes, a valuable resource.

    Generally speaking, Google favors articles that are roughly a 10-minute read or between 1,200 and 2,000 words.

    Anything longer than that is usually stretched and redundant long-form content. It will be evident in long, rambling words that continue forever. They are also frequently followed by lengthy, massive, run-on sentences that endlessly repeat the same idea. It appears that Yoda wrote parts of the texts.

    Long-form essays have their place and time; some subjects are intricate and require a lot of words. However, Google can tell when an article is overwritten to meet a word count.

    1. Poor Title Tags 

    Have you ever perused a newspaper?

    Every story has a headline at the top that briefly summarizes the subject. Title tags, often known as headings or headers, indicate to search engines and their users what the content of a web page or blog post is about. Headings that aren’t logical or include no keywords are bad for your website. Your site is also dragged down by excessively lengthy headers and layouts that make no sense throughout an article.

    Google seeks to ascertain the topic of a piece of material with speed. Your ranks will reflect any confusion, no matter how slight.

    Among the best header practices for solids are:

    • Having a single H1 with a maximum character count of 70
    • Including your main keyword in at least one H2 and your H1
    • Making use of relevant secondary keywords in headings that follow
    • Adhering to a logical heading structure. (Take note of the formatting in this piece.)
    1. Poor Connection Game 

    An optimized web page can benefit greatly from links to both external and internal content. Properly positioned links inform Google that a piece of content is part of a small network of helpful resources.

    Google, however, only considers internal links that go to pages on a website’s main navigation menu to be surface-level. Put otherwise, they don’t give Google much context for a piece.

    Backlinks are created when a different website points to yours or a certain page on your site. They can benefit a piece, just like internal and external links. A backlink increases your trustworthiness in Google’s eyes. Conversely, toxic backlinks are obtained through unethical means or byproducts of black SEO strategies. You guessed it: your position decreases on search results pages when Google finds you.

    1. Making Too Many Changes to SEO at Once 

    Remember how we mentioned that using too many keywords could overwhelm Google?

    The same thing could occur when you make significant changes to your website.

    An upgrade may comply with optimal SEO practices, but making significant changes to the bulk of its content and structure at once is a lot to process. Google needs to essentially re-learn your website.

    This is not to argue that a significant change should always be made gradually; in some cases, an urgent makeover is much needed. Instead, understand that a lot of modifications will temporarily affect your site’s ranking.

    Few More Indications That You May Be Overly Optimistic

    With all of the flashy tools in your SEO toolbox, it’s simple to overuse them. Perhaps you’re wondering, “Why is over-optimization harmful? Isn’t it what makes you more visible to your target audience?

    Both yes and no. Effective SEO techniques do this. However, over-optimizing your content can alienate the same target market.

    These are a few of the most typical mistakes made by people who overdo search engine optimization.

    Overuse of Anchor Text Optimization

    Keyword placement appears ideal for anchor text. After all, when linking to other pages, SEO expertise advises against using terms like “click here” or “read more.” Thus, instead, why not produce rich anchor text? Because it seems forced a lot of the time.

    Use a keyword sparingly for anchor text if it makes sense to do so. If not, the all-knowing algorithm will believe that you are packing keywords.

    Make an effort to include informative anchor text. One thing to consider is if the reader will have a clear understanding of what to expect when they click on the link based on the anchor text. Use it if the response is affirmative.

    Anchor Text Optimization 

    Penalties and Repercussions

    A reduction in traffic is the most typical kind of penalty. This typically happens when a major Google algorithm upgrade causes your page to not pass muster.

    Let’s examine this. Google constantly modifies its algorithm. Oftentimes, the most influential updates have oddball titles. Similar to Florida, which Google supposedly introduced in 2003 in an effort to combat bogus connections.

    Or the well-known 2011 Panda update, which retaliated against low-quality content mill pieces that were gaining prominence on search engine results pages. Not to be forgotten is the 2015 Mobilegeddon update, which punished websites that were not optimized for mobile devices.

    Businesses and website owners are not penalized by Google when it updates its algorithm. However, websites that engage in over-optimization of their SEO will suffer every time the algorithm is changed.

    This is so that strategies such as these benefit the website owner rather than the user. Additionally, Google’s main goal is to make its search engine more useful for users.

    Effect on the Ranking of Search Engines

    It’s possible that a recent update caused your search engine rankings to decline. Alternatively, perhaps there isn’t a fundamental update, but the traffic you used to see has decreased.

    Examine the statistics on your website carefully. Which pages are suffering? Which ones aren’t? What distinguishes those two pages from one another?

    Conduct a thorough audit. Look for over-optimization indicators such as poor backlinks, keyword stuffing, and other issues. Fix everything that comes to mind by utilizing SEO best practices.

    How to Handle Google Penalties

    Employees at Google manually penalize websites that break the rules specified in the Google Search Essentials.

    An automatic penalty will, at most, hide your page from the SERPs. In the worst-case scenario, Google completely removes your page from its search index.

    When a manual action is sent to you, Google will let you know. Fortunately, a manual action also includes instructions on how to fix the impacted pages on your website. It is your responsibility to adhere strictly to these guidelines and, upon completion, submit a reconsideration review.

    You run the danger of receiving a Panda penalty if you overoptimize your content. Your rankings will suddenly drop if you are smacked by Panda. Therefore, over-optimizing your content could be counterproductive.

    That only applies to Google. An overly optimized website affects your users’ experience as well as theirs. A paragraph full of links isn’t visually appealing, and a post jam-packed with keywords isn’t easy or enjoyable to read. Would you be interested in posting something like that on social media? Most likely not. Therefore, having a website that is overly optimized may also make you lose out on social media attention. In summary, visitors who become irritated are unlikely to make a purchase or visit your website again.

    Despite your best efforts, an overly optimized website contains too much of a good thing. It suggests that your SEO strategy has negatively impacted your website’s user experience (UX) or readability. We use a holistic approach to SEO at Yoast. Google supports this, saying that its goal is to provide the user with the optimal outcome. We constantly strive for the greatest outcome with our SEO strategy.

    Thus, create the greatest content possible, ensure that your website’s user experience is perfect, address all technological issues, and maintain website security. There are many things you can do to optimize your website for search engines without sacrificing the quality of your site.

    Written by Aayush
    Writer, editor, and marketing professional with 10 years of experience, Aayush Singh is a digital nomad. With a focus on engaging digital content and SEO campaigns for SMB, and enterprise clients, he is the content creator & manager at SERP WIZARD.