Can you over-optimize your website?

Photo:  Markus Spiske

Yes, you can definitely over-optimize your website. The things we recommend on this blog are all Google-approved ways of marketing your website through its search engines. However, there is one practice that may get out of hand. So, let’s address it right now.

Keyword stuffing

Ok, so you’ve started implementing an SEO strategy. You have researched your keywords and you are using them throughout your main pages and in your blog content. What’s the problem? Unfortunately, some website managers try to drag their content to the top of search results by targeting users with a plethora of keywords.

Keyword stuffing is basically piling a large number of keywords in your texts, footer, and meta descriptions in an effort to boost search engine visibility. The disadvantages of such a practice include loss of legibility, credibility, and a possible penalty from Google.

How do you know if you have a penalty?

Go to Google Webmaster Tools and check your inbox for a notification. Google will tell you why and how you can fix the problem. However, that process may be long and difficult and embarrassing. So, let’s stay on the safe side.

How to correct keyword stuffing

Limit use of keywords in anchor text

One of the easiest way to make this mistake is in anchor text. Anchor text is are simply the words you use to link to a web page. It’s easy to try to grab the reader’s attention by using keywords here. Beware: stuffing keywords into your anchor text may lead to a penalty by Google. Use this technique sparingly.

Or, use generic anchor text such as "we talked about,” “read this,” or “here” as long as it is part of the natural flow of the sentence you are writing.

Another offensive use of anchor text is the exact name or naked URL of the website in the body of the text.

Diversify body of text

Do not try to maximize your use of keywords on a single page to the extent that your content becomes stiff and difficult to read. Remember: search engine visibility depends on valuable content that meet users’ expectations.

Do not duplicate your content

Google’s algorithm and its managers favor high-quality original content.

Trust your own work

If you have put effort and time into creating grade-A products, services and content, your work will speak for itself. And you will definitely know how to describe what you do well enough to make your value clear to clients. Use your keywords as a outline and fill in the rest of useful, well-written text.


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