Are You Guilty of Under-Optimization?
A little ways back we wrote a post titled, “Are You Guilty of Over-Optimization?” At the time, the Google Penguin update was somewhat recent and some website owners were seeing a huge dip in traffic and rankings. These sites were guilty of what Google believed to be “over-optimization” or going overboard with SEO tactics to try and gain an unfair advantage over the competition. Some ways in which website owners were over-optimizing were by using keyword rich domain names as opposed to the brand name, creating keyword rich microsites that had the sole purpose of ranking for specific keywords and then directing visitors to a separate website, writing content specifically for the search engines and cramming keywords in without considering how it looks to human visitors, and using the same keyword anchor text over and over, even in places where it may not make sense to do so.
Obviously, over-optimization is a big SEO “no no”. However, that doesn’t mean that SEO is dead or that SEO should no longer be a part of your online marketing strategy. By releasing the Penguin update, Google wasn’t telling website owners that they shouldn’t optimize their websites. Rather, it served as a reminder of the difference between good SEO and bad SEO. Google still expects website owners to optimize their websites and provide target audience members with great information that can be found in the search engines. Google just wants website owners to follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines and follow a white hat SEO strategy.
Unfortunately the Penguin update scared many website owners away from SEO. The thing is, “under-optimization”, or barely doing any SEO work or none at all, is just as bad. The search engines are extremely competitive spaces. The only way to be visible in the search engines is to spend a lot of money on PPC advertising and/or invest in on site SEO and SEO link building.
One of the big takeaways from the Google Penguin update was that Google was on to sites that were guilty of “unnatural linking”. Does this mean that you should avoid anchor text linking altogether? Absolutely not! Keyword anchor text linking, in addition to helping SEO, can also help from a usability standpoint. When creating SEO content if you hyperlink a certain word or phrase, the reader will understand that by clicking on that word or phrase they will be brought to a page of content that relates to that word or phrase. Google still wants your content to be user friendly. What Google doesn’t want is for the keyword anchor text linking to go overboard. If the same key phrase is used and linked to again and again (and even in cases where it doesn’t make sense) that’s when a red flag is raised. If you keep your anchor text linking natural and incorporate a variety of keyword variations, there is nothing wrong with that.
SEO is still a viable (and necessary) online marketing tactic. It’s just important to keep your SEO activities in check and consult with the search engine Webmaster Guidelines if you ever aren’t sure if you could be crossing the line into “over-optimization”.
Categorized in: SEO
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