Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the key to running a successful website. Almost all website owners these days use these strategies to make the most out of their pages and obtain high rankings on search engine result pages. But, what happens when you get caught up on it and start over-optimizing?
As the name suggests, over-optimization is when your SEO efforts get to the point where they hurt the quality of your site. You need to stay clear of overstuffing your website in an effort to rank higher.
But how do you know if you’re overdoing it? Here are a few signs that point to over-optimization. If you are doing any (or all) of these, chances are that you’re excessively optimizing your site.
– You are using too many keyword-rich anchor texts in your internal links. Having the same keywords in both your anchor text and in your links’ URL doesn’t mean it will rank higher. Relying heavily on this technique can get your site penalized for keyword stuffing.
– You are targeting non-relevant keywords in your content. At this point, you should know that keywords are the most critical element in any SEO strategy. Including non-relevant keywords in your content is a huge mistake. It won’t allow search engines to correctly index your page.
– The majority of your internal or external links point to your site’s primary pages. Ideally, you want the ratio of links to your home page and other pages to be balanced. Adding links that lead to pages other than the home page and primary pages within your website is vital.
– Using a non-branded URL for your site. If you use an URL filled with keywords that don’t resemble your brand’s name, you are dealing with over-optimization.
Now that you know what some of the characteristics of an over-optimized site are, you can analyze your content and de-optimize where needed. Deoptimizing your site can take you months, but by doing so, you’ll be ensuring that search engines consider it valuable and relevant to be displayed on the top of the results pages.
To avoid over-optimization, keep an eye on the content of your pages. They are one of the most critical features for search engines. Write naturally and engagingly without resorting to keyword stuffing both on the fixed element of your site (i.e., header or footer), and the content itself.