Is your SEO too perfect?

There’s a lot of chatter in the SEO community right now about “over-optimization” of your search engine optimization strategies, or rather, tactics.

The “under the hood” details of search engines and websites (pages) that get the bots and search engine algorithms to take special liking to your online assets, that is. Google’s spam engineer Matt Cutts is in the news again. You can hear him speak at the recent SXSW conference.

But, truth be told – much commenting is typical anytime announcements appear from Google Camp.  Sure, it’s exciting to talk about. But, just today, two clients called me – exclaiming excitement about this new announcement. (without them understanding it)

So, what does “over-optimization” really mean?

In two words: “too perfect”. It’s the stuff that newbie SEOs get involved with: software-perfect. There still are many tools available to make websites and “on-page” factors (HTML/Code/Content) an exact science. It’s actually kinda’ fun (at first) – you scan a page with the software, and it tells you what’s wrong, what to change, and how it (potentially) will affect your rankings, etc.

A common over-optimization technique is to match keywords/phrases too perfectly in TITLEs, DESCRIPTIONs, Hx (header tags), ALT tags, Bold,Italics, body content. Not only is this a bad practice, it leaves clues to other SEOs (competitors) and search engines. See, it’s been that way for a long while already.

And, if you think about “link profiles” (on-site links & off-page links), you can make that too perfect also. Inbound keyword-filled links that is exactly the same over time and that have patterns of “software construction” is not helpful.

In fact, if you think about what users would naturally do when linking, and how they (humans, not bots) read and consume data, it should feel natural and not canned.

So, if you have followed the model of “users first, search engines second”, you will have nothing to worry about. Google changes their algo often (daily), and you should stop chasing the algo’s, and think about targeted traffic and conversions instead.

Get the leads into your business first. Make the sales machine work for you. You do that by serving your audience, and providing good value with education, entertainment, tools and more.

So, is this ‘announcement’ really that big of a deal? I think not.


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Entrepreneur Magazine says Jon Rognerud is one of the most sought-after Digital Marketing Experts. His clients extend from high-end brands and middle-tier businesses in both B2B and B2C. His SEO website optimization book, "The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Website" from Entrepreneur Press is in bookstores now.