Can You Over Optimize Your Blog?
The new Google Penguin update brought many changes and one of them caused many sites to lose significant amounts of traffic. Just like you wouldn’t cut a cake with a chainsaw, you can over do it by optimizing your blog too much. The objective of this post is to tell you how to avoid this situation.
1. Keyword Density
Here’s the situation: You want to tell Google that your post is about a specific keyword. But, how often should you be using that keyword to accomplish that? Lots of bloggers will tell their readers that they should be keeping it between 2-5%. Before the update, I even recommended that. :S
New experience has taught me that a keyword density between that range tends to read terribly. The solution? Take your desired keyword and only use it 1-2 times in your post.
2. Title Tags
Another aspect of the Penguin update is that Google ranks sites that are valuable. They can tell this by looking at the following metrics:
- Bounce Rate (Percentage calculated that shows how many people didn’t visit a 2nd page on your site)
- Time Spent on Site (Percentage calculated as an average of how long everyone spent on your site)
Follow me on this train of thought: A visitor visits a website and is there for less than a minute before clicking out. This tells me that either the design hurt their eyes or the content wasn’t what they were looking for. Design heavily influences Time Spent on Site. Visitors not getting what they want causes them to not visit another page.
Before this update, SEO’s were adamant about putting the keyword in the Title Tag. Google looked at this and could tell that the Tag was written for them, rather for the user. How do you write a Tag that is geared for the user? Your answer lies in Copywriting. The quickest way to come up with titles that people want to ‘actually’ click and read is by grabbing any popular magazine the next time you shop for groceries. Their titles are written by the best writers in the world. You can take their ideas and modify them to your needs.
3. Targeting Multiple Keywords
It’s been a common tactic by SEO’s to take a keyword and include related keywords and use it in their post. When Google looks at this post, they have a difficult time of knowing what the post is about. You’re much better off finding 1 specific keyword to use when creating a post. This is what it would look like:
- Keyword in the Keyword Tag
- Keyword in the Description Tag
- Keyword mentioned 1-2 times in the body copy
- Keyword used in the Image Alt Text
That’s it. Anything else is just over optimizing your blog post.
4. Vary Your Anchor Text Banklinks
If you don’t know what a backlink is, then click here to learn more. Google doesn’t want you to be using the same anchor text for every backlink that you create. Most SEO’s were using the same keyword for every backlink they created and it worked well in helping posts get ranked. However, now they want you to vary it.
My advice is that you mix it up and only use the same anchor text about 25% of the time. They want to see natural backlinks. People naturally linking to things, don’t pay attention to those things. (Hence, being natural)