Where to draw the line between content optimization and over-optimization?

Where to draw the line between content optimization and over-optimization?

Quality content, keywords, tags, link descriptions, etc. Search engines have many criteria for SEO a site, and some of them are constantly evolving.

However, there are rules and techniques essential to the optimization of your site to ensure you have good SEO and do not fall into over-optimization.


What is SEO optimization?

SEO or “Search Engine Optimization” refers to all the techniques that improve the natural positioning of a site in search engine results pages.

When an Internet user makes research, the robots of the engine are seeking the web for the most relevant information according to the research. We talk here about organic search, as opposed to paid search, because it is about respecting the SEO system proposed by the robots, and not paying for the site to be placed at the top of the results pages, such as ads and sponsored links for example.

Elements to be optimized for a good SEO:

To be sure to have pages that meet the criteria for SEO, here are 6 key points to check:

– The title:

 The title is one of the most important elements of your page because it appears in the search results. Its presence indicates to search engines the theme of your article or page, which will bring it up as soon as Internet users search for information about it. To do this, make sure that your title is not too long (about 60 characters maximum) so that it is not truncated in the results. Also, try to put the keyword at the beginning of your title for more visibility.

– The links :

A search engine like Google takes into account the quality and number of incoming links to a site as well as the anchor text (also called “anchor text” which is the clickable text that points to the URL of another page). These links must be clear, concise, relevant and ideally include a keyword on which the site must position itself.

– The meta description :

 Descriptions are displayed under the title of the search results, as shown below.

Today, descriptions have no real impact on SEO. However, they have a strong influence on the click rate.

They allow meeting a need and, not being indexed by search engine robots. You can therefore take the opportunity to tell Internet users why they should click on your page.

Insert one of your target keywords in your description and make sure it is designed to capture the attention of Internet users so that they can establish the relevance of your content to their search.

– The subtitles:

 On your page, you certainly have several paragraphs and subtitles. If this is not the case, we strongly advise you to separate and structure all your content with subtitles. For proper SEO optimization, it is advisable to put your keyword in at least one of these subtitles.

– Use of tags:

Titles and subtitles are best optimized when they are put between tags.

Headings tell Google and other users about the structure of your page. This will help characterize your content and index it correctly. Your readers will also be able to appreciate the layout of your page at a glance and see if the information they are looking for is there.

– The URLs:

To choose the right URL, certain rules must be followed:

¬ Create URLs that are relevant to your audience.

¬ Help your audience find their way to your site.

¬ Reduce the URL to a keyword.

¬ Separate words with hyphens.

¬ Avoid accents.

¬ Remove superfluous terms, such as definite or indefinite articles, from the part of the URL corresponding to your page.


Over-optimization: What is it?

 Over-optimization is defined as an unnatural attempt to improve the SEO of a site.

Indeed, to improve the SEO of a site, a blog, or a forum, many people use different optimization techniques. However, they can sometimes be used in the wrong way by some webmasters or SEO specialists.

This is the reason why Google has decided to tackle sites that it considers over-optimized by downgrading them within search results pages using Google Panda and Google Penguin.

The risks of over-optimization:

– Keyword stuffing:

 Also known as Keyword Stuffing, this is the most common form of over-optimization.

Indeed, if you have a text that contains more than 3 times the keyword every 100 words, it makes it difficult to read and degrades the quality of the content and its readability.

Ideally, you should opt for 1 to 2% keyword density per content.

Anchors of too “rich” internal ties:

The internal mesh, which allows linking the pages of a site together, is a good optimization technique. However, you will have a problem if you create links that have an exact keyword as a link anchor.

Imagine that you have a page whose title would be “gluten-free chocolate cookies” (a product page in this example) whose URL is https://exemple.fr/cookies-au-chocolat-sans-gluten

Within several articles, you place:

¬ Discover our gluten-free chocolate cookies

¬ Give your opinion on our gluten-free chocolate cookies

When the keyword is your Title tag, the path to your URL, your H1 title, and your link anchors, this is considered by Google to be an over-optimization.

Indeed, in SEO, you have what is called a link profile that helps Google look at the quality of internal, outbound, and inbound links. So if you use this technique, you will deteriorate this profile which is one of the most important factors in terms of SEO.

So to make optimized link anchors and have a varied anchor profile, you need to:

¬ Use keyword variations

¬ Add words before and/or after the keyword

¬ Place the keyword within a sentence as an anchor

¬ Make links with generic anchors (ex: click here)

– Keywords that are not relevant

We advise you not to position yourself on keywords that are not related to your site even if they have a high volume of searches. Google is interested in the relevance of the choice of keywords and if they do not match your subject, you will lose in efficiency and positioning.

From now on Google knows how to extract the main subject of an article (if it is clear) that is why a lack of consistency will serve you badly.

– The use of several H1 on a page

One of the golden rules in SEO is to never put multiple H1 tags on a page. The fact of having several negatively influence SEO.

– URLs with EMD

 EMDs (Exact Match Domain) are domain names that match a target keyword. A domain name with a keyword does not reach the top positions on search engines. Moreover, Google has launched an update on these domain names in 2012 which prevents EMDs from positioning themselves well despite low-quality content.

In conclusion, the limit between over-optimization and optimization is not really defined. If you wish to optimize your site to the maximum without falling into the trap of over-optimization, call on SEO specialists who will be able to guide and advise you effectively.