If your website content is not optimized, you will fail to make significant progress on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). As simple as that. Together with fixing the tech issues, content optimization remains the top priority when optimizing for success on SERP. Google loves a good content strategy and ranks you higher if you manage to put out quality content for the right target audience. It’s needless to say that in order for you to reach page 1 on Google, you must earn it. However, in the process of trying hard to achieve it, many people make mistakes by over-optimizing the site. Let’s take a closer look.
Too Much Optimization Has Countereffect
What is too much optimization? Making too many SEO improvements all at once signals Google that something is going on with your website. Google doesn’t perceive these changes as natural and will red flag them for the Google crawling bots that visit your site. These practices include:
- adding non-relevant keywords
- stuffing keywords in the content
- using non-branded keywords in the URLs
- stuffing the footer with keywords,
- writing blogs revolving around keywords and not targeting readers.
In the past, over-optimization worked. By using all of these SEO practices, sites gained rank. The many spammy backlinks linking to the site and using a ton of keywords on the pages actually was a simple way of boosting the site in the SERPs.
Today, over-optimization doesn’t work. Google’s algorithms changed so much that all of the practices used in the past are today the red flag in SEO optimization. Plus, in April 2012, Google rolled out an algorithm that included penalties for those sites that did over-optimization, especially with the link stuffing and link spamming techniques. Since then, such practices are considered black hat SEO, so their application became avoided.
Therefore, what mustn’t you do when optimizing your content? Which practices must you stay away from? Let’s go over the top 5.
1. Don’t Write for Search Engines
When we say SEO content, we immediately think about content optimized with keywords. Starting from here, many SEO content creators produce content that is intended for search engines. They focus on high-volume keywords, elevate the keyword density and create content twice or more times a week that doesn’t really resonate with the target readers. All of this leads to failure because of one simple reason – this content marketing optimization doesn’t offer value to the target reader.
The big sharks in the industry already use high-volume keywords. You can’t expect that you get on the first page of Google if you are in the beginning phase of making it out in your niche simply because you don’t have the authority yet. Ranking for the high-volume keywords comes naturally and organically after years of building brand awareness, SEO content strategy, and immaculate off-page SEO backlink profile.
Overstuffing keywords is a problem that raises the red flag for over-optimization. Remember, you are writing for humans, not search engines – you shouldn’t put the keywords in every sentence. This makes your content sound unnatural and appalling to your target audience.
Finally, producing fresh content without any value on a regular basis can only do more damage than good. There is no necessity to produce content as often if there is nothing interesting you can say or share with your target audience. Sometimes less can be more, and creating evergreen content is far more important than creating mediocre content every week.
This leads us to the conclusion that the website content must be explicitly written to provide answers to the users’ questions. It must differentiate between the different phases of the buying cycle and expressly focus on each of them. It must resonate with the reader and give them all the explanations they need. Otherwise, it is a failed SEO content writing. And when you have failed in proper content optimization, you lose your rankings in Google core updates, like the Google Broad Core Update, for example.
2. Don’t Be Aggressive in Link Building
Backlinks matter, but not at all costs. Spammy link building will do nothing but hurt your website. Tactics like link exchanges, article marketing, spam comments, and overuse of anchor text are old SEO practices that harm your content strategy. Here is why.
The link exchanges were a tactic that implied changing links between the two sites, very often irrelevant to one another. This is not only considered spam but also raises the red flag with Google.
Article marketing is a good SEO practice. However, it can quickly turn bad. If you create low-quality guest articles for sites that don’t make any difference in the niche you are in, the only results you will achieve will be to have a backlink. And, what is more, it won’t help at all with your ranking. On the other side, you will have wasted time, energy, and money on writing that piece of content.
Spam comments are out for a long time now since the introduction of spam filters. The spam filters block these comments and make it clear that these are considered spam. Google catches this very soon, and then you are in trouble.
The overuse of anchor text is important as it provides directions to google bots on what kind of content is behind the link. However, if this practice is over-done and the anchor text looks very unnatural to users or misleads the users, it is considered a bad practice.
Instead, what you need is a proper plan where you will create fresh, informative, unique, and engaging content, including the internal linking best practices, and raise your authoritativeness by being featured on trustworthy sites.
3. Keyword Ranking Is Not a Priority
Another lousy practice in planning the digital content strategy is focusing solely on ranking the keywords. This is a mistake because the search engines are significantly evolved now, and they are changing the algorithm and the rules for ranking, which means that if today your most relevant keyword is in 5th position, tomorrow it might be on 10th. There are many factors that influence the ranking, and obsessing over it won’t create long-term results.
4. Content Optimization & Social Media: Active or Not?
Moving on to the next thing you shouldn’t do when optimizing your content both for users and search engines is considering the use of social media. If pushing your content to social networks is part of the initial plan – stick to it. Don’t post something just to say that you’ve posted since the life span of a link on social networks is around 3 hours. After this period, if your followers didn’t see your link, it is very likely that they won’t come across it again. So, if you want to include the social networks in the marketing plan, then post regularly, often, and with value.
5. Neglecting Mobile-optimization Is Wrong
If your website is not mobile-responsive, you must be aware that many users won’t get the value they expect from you and will look for it at the next best stop – your competitors. It might come as a surprise to you, but Google prefers mobile-responsive sites. Also, 50% of internet searches turn up on mobile devices.
Some Final Words
Writing SEO content means writing it properly – planning it carefully and developing the process non-stop. It means doing the content optimization with one focus – to provide value to the readers. The SEO and content strategy should be aimed at providing answers to the questions the target audience has. Be it planning a SaaS content marketing strategy or one for e-commerce – It cannot be done right if the sole focus is on tricking the Google bots. Even if they show instant positive results, such practices will turn out to be brand-damaging in the longer run.
How do we optimize content?
Content optimization means proper planning of every step of content creation for the website. It includes adequate SEO tactics that help you produce natural and unique content loved by Google and the target audience.
Why is content optimization important?
Content optimization is important because it is the most organic way of providing answers to your target audience’s questions. By having SEO-optimized content, you can quickly increase your lead number and navigate them in their buying cycle – eventually leading them to conversion.
How do I optimize my SEO content?
There is no special formula for how to optimize SEO content. Still, there are many written and unwritten rules that must be followed if you want to satisfy Google bots to evaluate you highly for the target audience to notice you.
What is an optimization strategy?
Optimization strategy involves the careful planning and designing of content creation that includes all the relevant keywords for the business but still, the final output is entirely natural for humans.