Were you feeling comfortable with the way things were going with your Web marketing plan? Have you started to believe that you had this whole thing figured out? Just when you thought you could relax and let your website run on autopilot, Google has changed something once again.
In an effort to stick with their promise of “being transparent,” Matt Cutts, of Google, gave a warning at a recent industry conference that a new penalty was in the works. It would target over-optimized websites.
Cutts’ announcement caused a lot of buzz within the search engine optimization (SEO) industry as experts hypothesized what this penalty would look like and what websites would be hit. Well, there is no more guessing, because the new Google algorithmic update, as they are referring to it, is live and active. Will you be a target?
Websites That Could Be Impacted
Before you go into a panic and lose sleep, you need to understand the probable logic behind this change and what it is meant to penalize. It is designed to target unsavory SEO tactics, such as keyword stuffing and link schemes. In an effort to keep things natural, Google is in essence trying to “level the playing field,” as Cutts explained at the conference. The search engine is taking steps to make it fair for websites that have good content, but are being outranked by sites that have done junk link building, keyword stuffing and black-hat SEO.
Don’t Get Penalized! Avoid These 5 SEO Techniques
There is still a lot of speculation regarding this algorithmic update and the overall impact it will have on optimized websites, but there are some things that we do know. Below is a top 5 list of things to avoid, so that you can steer clear of Google’s penalty.
- “Unnatural” activities. Google is all about authenticity and being natural. If you are purchasing bulk links, stuffing keywords in any nook and cranny of your website or paying more attention to search engines than your readers, you could be in trouble. You want to be natural.
- Keyword stuffing. This one is likely one of the biggest culprits for this penalty. If your content has so many keywords that it is difficult to read, you have overdone it. A great rule of thumb is to read your content out loud. If you stumble over the words, you need to take out some keywords.
- Page titles designed only for SEO. “Attorney Web Marketing Company Specializing in Attorney Web Marketing.” Does that sound a little off to you? This page title is an example of what you would want to avoid. Make sure your page titles are compelling and catchy. Do try to include a keyword in each title, but make sure it reads well.
- Footers crammed with links. In the past, creating footers that had keywords linked to specific landing pages was a good idea. It was a common SEO practice that garnered good results. Unfortunately, that time has passed. If you have footers on your website that are crammed with internal links, take them off—quickly.
- Repetitive anchor text. It is not wise to use the same keyword over and over again in content and then link it each time to an internal page. Repetitive anchor text could be viewed as over-optimization.
One final tip: If you are not sure if what you are doing would be considered “over-optimization” or too much SEO, err on the side of caution. You have to remember that in the end, your goal is to convert Web visitors into contacts. If you have optimized your website so much that it ranks for every keyword imaginable, but your page titles look like spam or your website content is too difficult to read, you have done yourself a big disservice.
We will keep you updated on the latest changes that Google makes, so be sure to visit our website often. As always, if you have questions or need SEO help with your website, contact one of our experienced Web marketers by calling 888.886.0939 or filling out our contact form.