A recent Twitter exchange with Gary Illyes has brought an old topic back to the forefront for the first time in a while. That topic is “Over Optimization” and it is something that SEOs have been discussing, on and off, for the last ten years or so.
The actual exchange, published 24th May 2017, is as follows:
Bob Gladstein @bubba_ji
@methode Is “over-optimization” really a thing, and if it is, can you please come up with a name for it that isn’t an oxymoron?
Gary Illyes @methode
@bubba_ji That is totally a thing, but I can’t think of a better name for it. It is literally optimizing so much that eventually it starts hurting
So, What Exactly Is Over Optimization?
There are a couple of examples which we can use to demonstrate Over Optimization, whilst also mentioning the Google algorithms that are designed to counteract such practices.
One area that is open to abuse is that of keyword stuffing. If you publish a wealth of content on your site that is stuffed with long tail keywords and search terms, the chances are that you will pick up a penalty from the Panda algorithm. To avoid this, you should only publish content that is genuinely useful and interesting for your readers, without inserting keywords all over the place with the aim of ranking for them. Of course, you should always include a few terms that you are trying to optimize for – just don’t overdo it! Once, or twice, is always sufficient.
Another practice to avoid is the use of highly repetitive anchor link text. This is something that the Panda search filter was designed to clamp down on. Again, if you publish content that is thin on the ground, with very little value or worth and it contains a large number of repetitive keyword rich anchor text links, albeit with slight variations, you can also expect your site to be demoted as a direct result. To stop this from happening, you need to provide high quality content which contains just a handful of links and in the relevant places.
If you need further advice, the team at Weblinx are always happy to help.