- Another reminder from Google (Gary Illyes on Twitter), that over-optimisation can hurt rankings.
- He didn’t, unfortunately, define over-optimisation.
How to Avoid Over-Optimisation for Google:
- Always optimise in line with metrics derived from your competitive set (ranking and business competitors). See the guide: Basic SEO Competitor Analysis
- Use SEO Tools and analysis to define “normal”.
- Aim for a “slightly better than normal” level of optimisation, but not so far beyond “normal” that it borders on spam.
- Avoid keyword stuffing, or repetition, overly-targeted back linking, and other key signs of overly aggressive optimisation.
- Contact me if you would like help in ensuring your sites are optimised to the right level, rather than over-optimised.
Over-optimisation has been a “thing” ever since the days of -30, -50 and -90 penalties. How hard you got hit depended on how aggressive you were with the optimisation. Google never really defines it, but essentially, it boils down to being too perfect, and going a long way beyond the level of optimisation on a normal distribution curve. See SEO Ranking Factors: Find Crawl Index for a discussion on what Google wants.
For different markets and keywords there are different levels of “normal” for each SEO element. In some markets, links are more important, in others on-page elements play a bigger part – there is no one size fits all answer. This is why in order to optimise well, you need to analyse the ranking competition, and business competition, to determine what is normal in your set or sets) and tweak optimisation activities from that point.
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