The Panda and Penguin algorithm updates brought a whole host of changes to the realm of SEO. Amidst it all, the new algorithms forced websites to focus on good, relevant content, punishing those sites that “over-optimized.” Sites that violate certain filters are removed from Google’s index, making them completely invisible to the search engine.
These stringent measures continue today, and while the algorithms primarily target spammy or malware-drenched websites, certain legitimate websites get caught in the crossfire. Here are a few tips to avoid over-optimization.
1. Each page should have value.
Just like words in a good poem, every page on your website should be useful and serve a purpose. In the past, websites created near-duplicate pages to achieve better search engine rankings without presenting any real value.
Google continues to crack down on these pages. If you have duplicate pages, either add new, richer content, perform a 301 redirect, rel=canonical them to a preferred page, or do away with them entirely.
From a user’s point of view, duplicate pages won’t help create conversions and will only get potential clients lost in your labyrinthine site.
2. Don’t stuff those keywords.
Amateur SEOs are under the impression that the best way to rank is to shove as many keywords into a page as humanly possible. That includes more than on-page copy: URLs, meta titles, descriptions, the list goes on.
Keywords are still the building blocks of SEO, but that doesn’t mean you should shove them into every nook, cranny, and blank space in your landing page. There’s no hard and fast rule about how often you should mention a keyword or its synonyms and variations, but use your common sense. When it comes to the copy, you should above all else aim for information, quality, and readability. Keyword density is secondary.
3. Don’t use templates.
The boilerplate template certainly has its place—certain emails, resumes, cover letters for short story submissions. For website content, you’re better off without boilerplates, which generate near-duplicate sentences that plug in different values based on the page. It’s quick and fast but easily noticed by users and, as it turns out, Google.
It doesn’t help that these template pages often feature a ton of competitive keywords and ads. Instead of risking everything by relying on templates, spend some time creating unique, informative content for each page.
Article courtesy of Best Rank, a San Diego based Internet Marketing & Search Engine Marketing Company. To visit their website, click here.