Over Optimization: Fact and Fiction

How things go from one extreme to another! Just a few years ago, more than one SEO agency expressed concern that websites were under optimized. Optimization was the word of the day to increase Google rankings. Suddenly, the pendulum seems to have swung completely in the opposite direction. Now, there’s a genuine concern from Google about over optimization and black hat SEO. Predictably, Google wants to penalize sites that offer too much optimization but not enough quality. Website owners who rushed to do a better job optimizing their websites just can’t catch a break. 

Black Hat SEO Types Saw an Opportunity & Took It

Google recently added over optimization as a no-no in its list of guidelines. In some ways, this is something new. While black hat SEO has always been on Google’s hit list, the difference between over optimization and properly optimized web pages can be a surprisingly fine line.

In the end, it sounds like Google is just trying to make sure readers have the best experience possible. It stands to reason that pages suffering from over optimization don’t exactly improve the viewers’ experience.

What Leads to Over Optimization?

Over optimization has been the natural consequence of fierce competition to increase Google rankings. In an effort to outrank others, websites push the limits of optimization far beyond what Google wants to see.

“There’s a myth out there among some SEOs that keywords are absolutely everything and nothing else really matters that much,” says Dan Gemp, CEO of Dreamscape Marketing. “That’s how this situation occurred. Content creators forgot about the reader and concentrated entirely on the search engines instead. Trying to please an algorithm rather than people is never going to end well.”

What are some red flags for over optimization? Here are several:

  • Does anything on your website suggest you engage in shady link exchanges? To Google, that reads “spam.” Creating a link exchange page isn’t something you should be doing. In-content link exchanges are a better choice.
  • Does your website have a Fast Link Acquisition Rate? If so, that could be a sign that unnatural link building is happening.
  • Are your Social Signals & Links Ratio dissimilar? People coming in from links should be engaging on your website. If that isn’t happening, something is wrong.

In the end, over optimization is the result of catering to search engines rather than web viewers. The obsession to increase Google rankings has led some SEOs down the wrong path. Great SEO techniques don’t impress readers. Great content does. It’s a pretty simple idea, but one that has gotten somewhat lost in the scramble for higher rankings.

What Constitutes Proper Optimization?

What defines poor optimization? What defines too much? These are questions that every SEO agency is asking itself. To separate fact from fiction, here are some points to consider:

  • The information on a web page must be trustworthy for readers. FACT.
  • The keywords are more important than a deep dive into a subject. FICTION.
  • A keyword density of 3% and higher is the very definition of keyword stuffing. FACT.
  • A site should strive to avoid multiple pages on the exact same subject with only slight variations in content between them. FACT.
  • Errors in spelling and grammar matter. So does getting your facts right. FACT.
  • Content quality is one of the most important considerations for a good Google ranking. FACT.
  • Content subject matter should cater strictly to what search engines are looking for. FICTION.
  • Black hat SEO is just a necessary evil in digital marketing. FICTION.
  • Black hat SEO works & its practitioners are rarely penalized by Google. FICTION. 
  • Viewer satisfaction is important but not as important as pleasing Google’s algorithm. FICTION.
  • If keywords are less important now, that means optimization is less important as well. FICTION.
  • Google adjusts its algorithms to ensure readers get search results for websites of real value. TRUE.
  • Google exists solely to torture SEOs with its arbitrary guidelines. FICTION.

Increase Google Rankings the Right Way—With Smart Digital Marketing

The world of SEO can be a minefield where many website owners worry about their next step. Working with a reputable SEO agency makes it easier to properly optimize web pages and increase Google rankings. Call Dreamscape Marketing today at 888.307.7304 and let’s discuss how to optimize your website for maximum effectiveness.