Friday, April 5, 2013

Algorithm Changes and Over-optimized Websites

As Google continues the follow-through on its mission to surface the sites that deliver the highest value information to its users, the king of search engines appears to be increasingly focused on penalizing sites that are over-optimized. There are several web design characteristics that can factor into a determination that a site has been over-optimized. If your site has any of the following, decreasing the optimization of your site may help to avoid being penalized and either preserve or improve its rankings on the search engine results pages (SERPs):

Titles that are so heavy with keywords that they don’t make sense – Increased sophistication at the search engine level means that stuffing titles with keywords will probably work against you. Instead, compose your titles so that they read logically for the people that visit your page and convey what the page is about.
Cramming footers with links – These types of links were once used in web design to score in search engine algorithms but not any more. Search engines now see this practice as designed to manipulate, which doesn’t make them happy at all. Instead, only put links in footers that will add value for visitors.
Useless content blocks – These keyword stuffed blocks are stuck on site pages to increase keyword density, adding nothing to the user experience. Instead, produce content for your site that is relevant to your related keywords and adds value for your visitors.
Links from farms and low-ranked non-relevant sites – It used to be “The more, the merrier” with backlinks, but no longer. As a caveat, losing these links will take a lot of work but it will be worth it. Instead, seek to build links selectively from relevant sources and authority sites.

The risk/reward ratios of all these practices are now heavily skewed toward the risk side of the equation as search engines target and penalize sites that use them. The second issue is that recovering from the penalties that are incurred can be a long and arduous path. With no upside potential and a very real possibility of disappearing from the SERPs these over-optimization practices no longer belong on your website. For more information on web design that aligns with the objectives of the search engines, visit:

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