How to Stop Over-Optimizing for SEO
It may seem a paradox, but too much SEO on your website can be bad for your search engine ranking. That’s because Google punishes those websites that try to reach the top of search rankings by tricking search engines with SEO tricks, rather than by creating top-notch content.
SEO novices, in particular, have a tendency for over-optimization, because they are the ones most eager to get things right. But too much attention to SEO often leads them to ignore the creation of new high-quality content, which remains the number one factor for ranking highly.
The critical moment to shift your focus from SEO to content creation is after you optimize the title tags and URLs, and fix 404 errors. After that point, it’s usually counterproductive to keep insisting on SEO, so long as you don’t add new high-quality content on a daily basis.
Four over-optimization don’ts
Don’t stuff keywords in the text body, images, and navigation links. And especially don’t do it in the title tag, URL, and inbound anchor all at once. Over-optimizing these, together with maintaining poor content, can result in a lower ranking.
Don’t interlink excessively your own websites. If you have a network of blogs or websites related to each other, the temptation to interlink them all is high. But to maintain a high Google ranking you have to withstand it. Excessive interlinking is bad, especially when the quality of the links is poor.
Don’t let SEO work take precedence over content creation. This can be harder than it seems, especially if your website covers a small or obscure niche, say medieval mousetraps. In that case, it will seem easier and more effective to do SEO work rather than create content, since the amount of content you can create is, or at least appears to be, limited.
Don’t create content that revolves around keywords. You may be tempted to create content that revolves around certain keywords that you believe can bring you a lot of traffic quickly. This strategy, however, can have bad effects on the overall quality of your content in the long run.
Content built exclusively on keywords is ultimately artificial, and your visitors will be the first to notice it. The result is that traffic, and possibly rankings, will drop. Seek to create content that reads naturally, and sprinkle it with the most relevant keywords. In this way, you create content first for people, and only second for search engines.
SEO alone not enough to rank highly
Once the basic SEO work on your website is done, shift your focus to content creation. Come up with a schedule for creating content and stick to it. Set reasonable goals and reach them. By doing this, you make sure your website is continuously growing. And you also ensure your content is fresh. Fresh content is increasingly important as a search engine ranking factor because it reflects relevant, updated content that has value for people.
In conclusion, SEO is necessary for any website, but it can easily be overdone, which is why you need to know when to stop worrying about it and concentrate on creating high-quality content.
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