Having your site optimized for the search engines is a critical step towards making sure that your website shows up for those keywords relevant to what your business does. But at what point do you cross the line from making valuable changes to your site into over-optimization that can have a detrimental effect on your website’s presence in the search results?
Making sure that your keywords and phrases are on the site is important. What’s equally important is making sure that the right keywords are on the right pages, and that they’re used properly.
For instance, if your website is all about Widgets, and you have a page that’s about Red Widgets, then it’s perfectly acceptable, and indeed expected, for keywords about Red Widgets to show up in the Page Title, Meta Description, and the on-page content. This lets the search engines know that this page is about Red Widgets.
While different people will give you different rules on how often the keyword should show up on the page, the general rule is that it should sound natural. If you read the content out loud and it sounds awkward and the keywords sound forced, then it’s probably not going to do you any favors.
A sentence such as “Our selection of red widgets is the best in the industry, and we’ll beat the price of any of our competitors…” is natural while still inserting the main keyword for the page. That same sentence over-optimized would read more like “Our selection of red widgets is the best red widget selection in the industry, and we’ll beat the red widget price of any of our competitors on their red widgets…” I think you can see the difference.
In addition to having a natural flow, making sure the content on the page is relevant to the page is important to avoiding over-optimization penalties. If you try and place all of your keyword phrases on all of your pages, you’re not only diluting the strength of those pages, you’re risking over-optimization by having too many keywords on the page.
Keeping your pages focused helps prevent this and helps your customers find what they’re looking for more easily.
Take the Time to Do It Right
Taking the time to properly make the changes to your website can have long-lasting benefits. Over-optimizing your site will have detrimental effects on your website’s rankings, which leads to fewer visitors and, of course, less business from the internet.
Make sure that anybody that’s making changes to your site, whether it’s your designer, your SEO company, or somebody within your company, is making changes the correct way, and not putting your website and your company at risk of being penalized by the search engines.