Are You Guilty of Over Optimization?
If there’s any proof that we are at the mercy of the search engines (and more specifically, Google), look no further than at the recent Google Penguin update. Website owners have always been told that in order to succeed they need to participate in search engine optimization. They need to do keyword research and incorporate these keywords throughout website content and link building content. So, that’s what they did. While Google is still encouraging website owners to optimize their sites, they are also telling site owners not to go overboard and sites that have done so are scrambling trying to recover from a penalty and figure out what they’ve done wrong. Here are some indicators that you may receive a penalty for over-optimization:
Using a Keyword Rich Domain Name
Which URL makes the most sense from a usability and branding perspective: www.CompanyX.com or www.anytownusalawncaregardeninglandscaping.com? Maybe that’s an extreme example, but you get the point. Focus on the brand for the domain name, not on the keywords that you want to target.
Adding Keyword Rich Microsites
Microsites are often guilty of having keyword rich domain names. Since these microsites are created for the sole purpose of ranking for specific keywords, they typically don’t have a lot of content. Instead of creating a spammy microsite with thin content, add a page of content to your main website.
Content Obviously Written for the Search Engines
Google is taking the approach of looking at websites more like an actual visitor would. If a keyword doesn’t flow naturally within the content, it sticks out like a sore thumb and it’s obvious what you are trying to do. Website visitors don’t want to see it so Google is going to stop ranking it. Incorporate keywords naturally, but don’t go overboard.
Non-Varied Anchor Text Linking
Link building has always been an important part of SEO and using keyword anchor text links has always been recommended, but only to a certain degree. If you are using the same keyword anchor text links over and over again, it’s not natural. It’s important to vary inbound anchor text links and only use them sporadically. Create a list of potential anchor text links for every page of your site and use them randomly when creating content.