Optimizing sites for search engines is something we do every day.
Of course, we practice what we preach!
But, now and then, we encounter websites that have gone a little bit overboard in their optimization strategies.
What is the difference between SEO and over-optimization?
And, how do you recognize an over-optimized website?
In this post, I will answer these two questions!
What is over-optimization?
In my view, a website is over-optimized if the techniques aimed at ranking high in the search engines harmed the quality of the site.
In such a case, visitors of the website will have a different, worse – experience.
If texts become hard or annoying to read: you’re probably stuffing them with the keywords you want to be found on.
If there are uncountable numbers of links on your website: you’re probably trying to over-optimize your anchor texts.
Keyword stuffing: over-optimized text
Keyword stuffing is the most obvious way to over-optimize your website.
Of course, using your keyword a number of times will help with your ranking.
Google will understand what your post is about and rank it accordingly.
Over-optimized text, however, is unreadable. If you put your keyword in every (other) sentence, your text will become terrible to read.
Nobody wants to read a blog post about pink ballet shoes if every sentence contains the keyword [pink ballet shoes].
Even people who are genuinely interested in pink ballet shoes will get annoyed.
Consequences of over-optimization
Google’s Panda update aimed at all those sites with over-optimized content.
If you are taking the optimization of your content a little bit too far, you are thus risking a Panda penalty.
If Panda hits you, you’ll notice a sudden drop in your rankings.
Over-optimizing your content could, therefore, backfire.
Over-optimizing always leads to a bad UX.
Your text will not be easy and fun to read if you stuffed it with keywords.
A text that’s full of links is not attractive either.
Over-optimized texts will receive less social media attention.
If your visitors get annoyed, they will be less inclined to buy something or to return to your website.