Google’s ‘Panda’ updates have, quite literally, rocked the SEO and SEM industry to its very core, forever changing how Google’s search algorithm functions.
This is forced internet marketers and search engine optimization engineers and experts to adapt accordingly, and alter their marketing and optimization practices in accordance as well.
Google recently announced that over-optimized websites and pages would be liable to penalty as well. If you’re engaging in over-optimization practices on purpose, it could potentially land you and your website in a bit of a predicament. But you might also not be sure what exactly qualifies as over-optimization according to Google’s rule book.
In either case, read on, as I’ll be going over some over-optimization practices, how they can be avoided and what you need to do (ASAP!) in order to make sure your website does not end up getting penalized by Google.
1. Authentic Titles
All your titles need to be authentic and read and sound as if they were written by a human and not a machine. Titles that are too robotic, or make it obvious that they were written with the sole purpose of getting your keywords ranked are a big no here.
Consider the following example, which clearly demonstrates the difference between a good and a bad title:
- Bad title: football transfer, football news, football gossip, match reviews
- Good title: Your one-stop for all football transfer news, behind-the-scenes gossip and match reviews!
See what I did there? The first title is as far from being a human-written title as possible. No one would stop to read it and think yeah, this seems to be human written and look legit. The second one, however, has a much more chance of grabbing the reader’s attention, looks and sounds legit and above all, is still able to include all the keywords that were present in the first one!
You need people to think that your titles are legitimate and genuine, and not manipulative or spammy.
2. Keyword Stuffing
Often times, you find yourself on a website that, besides having useful and informative content, would have these text boxes scattered throughout the page containing absolute gibberish. It would typically be a totally random block of text, stuffed with the keyword, among other random, useless text.
That is a deliberate ploy to fool search engine crawlers to pick up the keywords and ranking the website for those keywords. While fooling Google might’ve worked in the past, all it’ll now do is help it penalize you.
With the recent changes, it is strongly recommended that you get rid of any and all such spam text boxes, as keyword stuffing is a sure-fire way of having your website de-indexed, thanks to the recent changes. They are not good for conversions, CTR, or even good traffic, might put off your visitors and now, might penalize your website.
Besides, there are other better ways to have your website ranked, not to mention which are legit and totally whitehat. Sharing your content and website on Facebook, for one, could be a good way to start!
3. Backlinks from Penalized Sources
Tough one to identify. You’ve probably spent days, if not more, to create backlinks on hundreds of thousands of places. What if those sources were also potentially in danger of being penalized? This would mean your website would now be getting traffic from penalized sources, which quite obviously would hurt your rankings.
Be wary of private link networks, reciprocal link-building networks, or any article marketing sites. There are many other great ways of building links than by getting onboard with sites which are using shady, quite possibly blackhat backlinking methods, putting you and your website in danger while quite obviously endangering their own.
Reciprocal links, where people exchange links by putting each other’s links on their websites is a big no here. Stay away!
4. Internal Linking
Manipulative internal linking is like handing Google a reason to ban or de-index you. Repeated words, thrown across the website or a page – like in the footer or a sidebar, and especially those containing anchor text which points to the same page repeatedly, is just asking for trouble.
From an SEO perspective, having too many backlinks pointing to the same page is useless anyway, as it doesn’t do anything to improve the value of the page, and above all, look like the page has been spammed with links to anyone reading our browsing the website.
The secret of effective internal linking is avoiding repetitive linking, and link once to those posts which you think people might find helpful or useful in the context of your post/page/content.
Also avoid putting too many anchor links in the footer of the pages, instead put things in your footer that people would actually expect to find there.