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Is your Website Over-Optimized?

In March 2012, Google’s Matt Cutts made a public statement that over-optimized websites would be penalized. Shortly thereafter, thousands of blogs and several prominent blog networks were de-indexed from Google. Most of the blogs removed from Google’s index were of low quality and had little authority, but even some sites with a high page rank were de-indexed. Furthermore, many sites saw a drop in rankings after these changes were put into place because some of the inbound links came from low quality domains.

Many SEO experts believe that by the end of the year, link-building and SEO as we know it will no longer exist. If you’re worried that your website may be affected by Google’s latest moves, here are some over-optimization techniques you want to be sure to avoid.

Keyword Stuffing

If the keywords in a web page’s title tag, URL, and inbound link anchor text all match, it raises red flags for Google because it doesn’t look natural. For the best results, mix up your inbound link anchor text a bit when building links to your site by using related keywords instead of the exact same keywords over and over. The same goes for your content – don’t stuff it with your target keywords! Make sure your content reads naturally.

Administrative Linking

Do you own a network of sites that are all interlinked? If so, you may want to take it easy with the interlinking because Google is starting to devalue those links. If you interlink excessively, your site may even get penalized or de-indexed.

Generic, Keyword-Rich Domain Name

Many internet marketers purchase generic domain names that match the keywords they want the sites to rank for. The problem is that their websites are typically of low quality and contain no valuable content. It’s a better idea to purchase a branded domain name because it’ll rank better in the long run. Google doesn’t like generic domain names.

Too Many Ads above the Fold

Are there too many advertisements above the fold on your site? If so, Google may penalize your site. The majority of your valuable content should be above the fold, and the ads should be towards the bottom.

Not Enough Valuable Content

Make sure your site provides rich, valuable content. Otherwise, your site’s rankings could take a hit! On an SXSW panel earlier this year, Matt Cutts specifically mentioned that these algorithm updates were designed to “level the playing field” for sites with great content but not-so-great SEO. This may be bad news for those who’ve honed their SEO chops over the years, but great news for content marketers, content writers, and anyone who specializes in creating high quality content for their online audience. Just be sure to add fresh content to your site on a regular basis in order to maintain its search engine visibility.

Links from Low Quality Sites

If your site has links from low quality sites, its rankings could take a beating. So, use a backlinks intelligence tool to analyze your backlinks. Remove links from sites that have been de-indexed or that have few or no social mentions. Additionally, look at the page rank of all the sites linking to you. You should be concerned if most of the domains linking to you have a page rank of n/a or zero.

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