I know, I know, it really sucks! All that effort you put into optimizing your site for search engines might actually come back to bite you in the butt. At SWSW 2012 (South by Southwest conference), Matt Cutts, and several others spoke about search engine optimization in their panel “Dear Google & Bing: Help Me Rank Better!”
I have been talking about not over-optimizing for some time. So, perhaps I need to first address how people do over-optimize on SEO.
- Heavy Keyword density in articles. You may want to keep your keyword density under 1.4%, which is normally 3 or 4 times within a 400 to 500 word article.
- Too many link exchanges, especially with links not relevant to their site’s content. Blogrolls are fine, but are they all going out to sites that have no relevancy to your site? It is important to make sure that you create a specific relevant list for your sitewide blog roll, and maybe a separate page with links to other sites. Giving all your friends some link juice might not be a great idea.
- Unintelligible heavy keyword density throughout site. The biggest thing I see is writing specifically for the search engine, especially for local optimization. For example, “your keyword, your city” is used constantly throughout each article. Perhaps try “Your keyword in your city.” This makes far more sense grammatically. Write for humans!
- Too many links above the fold that have no strong conversion (weak content). If you are linking to pages that may not have content that you are trying to rank for or that your visitors have no interest in visiting, it might be a good idea to pull the link from the top.
- Too many ads, even if they are relevant to their site above the fold (this includes text links.)
- Too many scripts. Sometimes those extra SEO scripts in those plugins might be slowing your site down. Better yet, maybe you have quite a few plugins installed to your site that are injecting a lot of code to execute and slow your site down. Keep it simple.
- A slow site. It might be your host. It might be a website with heavy graphics. It might be too many plugins loading to make your site work. Site speed is important to a lot of people. 4 seconds or faster is a good rule of thumbs when aiming to have a faster site.
The search engines ARE gearing more toward social search engines where people who are visiting your site, liking, sharing, and recommending your site will rank you better than that site that is over-optimized and not socially connected. While for some, this might suck, it really levels the playing field with people honestly ranking locally or globally and actually engaging with others.
Oh, and as the panel at SXSW 2012 covered- you are NOT guaranteed top ranking just because you optimized. There are many SEO companies that guarantee top ranking and they should not be, especially if your site is usually a very popular and competitive niche.
It is okay to write with keyword density in mind and some optimizing. However, it is better to be natural, keep it simple, and of course, share and engage with your readers.
What do you do when you optimize your site for SEO?