When search engines were young, optimizing to land page one was a breeze since all webmasters and bloggers needed to do was to include as many keywords as possible. However, this strategy—now known as “keyword stuffing”— has since become obsolete and, worse, admonished by none other than the Internet giant, Google.
According to the search engine’s support page, keyword stuffing is the practice of overloading a page with keywords that often appear as a series of phrases that are out of context. The primary goal of people who use this kind of tactic is to manipulate the page’s SERP ranking.
However, Google considers this a big no-no since users are only bound to get negative experience out of it and decided to penalize those who practice keyword stuffing with the exact opposite of their goal— getting kicked out of the SERPs.
In the same manner, over-optimizing has also been considered a black hat SEO practice as it doesn’t promote optimum user experience and, therefore, can be penalized by Google with a drop in page ranking or worse— not getting indexed altogether.
Common Over-Optimization and Keyword Stuffing Mistakes To Avoid
According to some SEO experts, keyword stuffing is a form of over-optimization that can be avoided by putting quality above all else. However, there are instances that some articles with these problems pass by publishers unnoticed simply because they aren’t aware of what the things they should watch out for.
Because of this, we have compiled some of the most common over-optimization and keyword stuffing mistakes you should avoid.
Adding Irrelevant Keywords or Keyword Stuffing
As mentioned earlier, keyword stuffing is considered as one of the kinds of over-optimization mistakes in SEO. Sometimes, those who want their pages to rank higher in the SERPs include keywords in their website’s content that aren’t even relevant to the website’s niche or targeted keyword. Alternatively, the unnatural inclusion of keywords in an article might also cause Google to flag your website for over-optimization.
On one hand, the debate about keyword density remains unsolved as some people see it as one of the best tactics in using keywords to gain better SERP rank while others are worried that adding too much of the same phrases would cause a penalty to the website.
Samples of Keyword Stuffing
- Phone number series that lack significant added value
- Text that lists down locations such as cities and states where the page is aiming to rank for
- Unnatural repetition of words that tend to sound awkward and redundant
To avoid incurring any of this, a publisher or content generator for a website should always remember to write articles in a natural way— that is, to “pretend” that they’re creating the content solely for the sake of quality and not SEO.
Using Keyword-Rich Anchors To Internal Links
Adding links from within the same website is a good practice, but it may also cause over-optimization penalties if not done properly. Several internal links added to similar anchor texts might merit a penalty from Google as it appears suspiciously like over-optimization.
Writing them naturally is the best way to avoid this but writers may also use different anchor texts for every internal would also help let Google know that your website is visitor-friendly and not focus too much on SEO. Of course, you should maintain SEO-like skills when doing so by choosing the different phrases wisely. One good tip for doing this is to use longtail keywords in Google’s “Related Searches” feature after typing a query about your website’s targeted keyword.
Directing Users To Top-Level Navigation Pages Through Links
Hyperlinking to deep internal pages is a good practice in SEO. However, like other good things, it should always be in moderation. In fact, experts warn that directing users to one deep internal link is enough for an article to stay safe from over-optimization.