Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing? Man, I wish I could start all the GT blogs with a Shakespeare quote.
Is too much of a good thing bad? Yes. If you’re talking about SEO it is.
In this blog we’re going to be answering the question – is unoptimized SEO better than over optimisation?
What Is Over Optimisation?
Over optimisation happens when a person makes so many SEO changes and “improvements” to a website that it eventually begins to harm the websites ability to rank on Google.
Think of it as mustard on a sandwich. Just the right amount of mustard is great. It complements the ingredients and sets the sandwich off. But add too much mustard and you suddenly have no idea what the sandwich is supposed to taste like – the mustard is overpowering every other ingredient.
Back in the early days of search engines, over optimisation did work. But search engines have changed dramatically in recent years. They can no longer be tricked with tons of keywords and spammy backlinks. And today over optimisation does not work.
What Does Over Optimisation Look Like?
The first problem with over optimisation is, it is soooo easy to do. Unless you have extensive knowledge of SEO, you can easily do more harm than good when attempting to optimise your website.
The second problem with over optimisation is, once it has been done, it’s not always simple to undo it.
And the third problem with over optimisation is – it can harm your website. Which pretty much defeats the object of optimising your site in the first place.
So, what does over optimisation look like?
- Keyword-stuffed URLs – Your URL should include your brand name. The URL path should let the user know what the page is about. Keyword stuffed URLs are not the way to get your website ranking.
- Links back to spammy sites – If external links within your content are linking back to toxic, spammy websites with low DA’s and high spam scores, search engines will begin to associate your website with these types of websites. if you cast your mind back to 2011, Google rolled out an update particularly to reduce the number of spam-filled websites on the search engine.
- Content written just for SEO – It’s crucial to keep SEO in mind when writing content for your website. But writing content just to try and please an algorithm will get you nowhere. Google is looking for content that is valuable and helpful to the user. Always create content for search users and visitors to your site, NOT for the search engines.
- Keyword-stuffed anchors for internal links – Linking back to other pages within your website is great for SEO. However, stuffing the anchor text with keywords is a sure-fire way to over-optimise your website.
- Numerous H1 tags – A webpage or article should have one main title. One H1 tag. Using numerous H1 tags will not help you rank, it’s just another way to over-optimise your website.
- Only linking back to top-level navigation pages – If all your internal links point to your home page or contact page, it can weaken your link profile. Instead, try to link back to your other articles and less viewed pages at least 50% of the time.
How Can Over Optimisation Harm Your Website?
If any of the above points sound familiar to you, it’s likely because you have over optimised your website. And unfortunately, this can lead to Google penalising your website.
Many people don’t give Google and other search engines enough credit. Some people believe they can outsmart the search engines and rank higher with SEO tricks. But the truth is, Google is an extremely smart and complex engine that’s programmed to prioritise trustworthy websites.
If you are using every SEO tactic in the book to try and rank higher, your website will stand out for the wrong reasons.
Plus, creating content just for search engines makes it far more difficult to earn organic backlinks.
Unoptimised vs Over Optimised
Something as small as writing one informative, valuable piece of content per week that is aimed at your audience, will do a lot more for your rankings than say, stuffing your website with keywords.
Your website might not be fully optimised with a fancy SEO strategy – but it is providing worthy information that relates to the queries of your target audience. And it’s more likely to get other websites linking back to it!
Although this is a small step, it will position your website as a trustworthy site that focuses on the user. And as we all know, the user is Google’s main priority.
So much so that there have been at least three major updates (Hummingbird, Rankbrain and Bert) in recent years to improve the way Google interpreted user queries.
In our opinion, an under optimised site is better than an over optimised site. But when we say under optimised, we don’t mean a website that completely lacks any SEO. We’re talking about a website that has stuck to the very basic, simple SEO tactics whilst prioritising other good stuff, like user-focused content.
Get In Touch
If you have any question about the optimisation of your website or if you would like some help with your SEO, feel free to get in touch.
GrowTraffic is a digital marketing agency based in Lancashire and Yorkshire. We specialise in SEO and Content Marketing – but we offer a wide range of digital marketing services.