Your Step-by-Step Guide to Search Engine De-Optimization
You must have heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which is a useful technique applied by online businesses to increase their visibility online. Optimization is crucial if you want to attract new customers. It improves the trust levels of online users when they witness a site is at the top for a considerable period. SEO techniques are particularly used by large companies to increase their sales but small businesses can also use to expand their bottom-line.
Having said that, you must have heard of the phrase, “too much of a good thing is bad” which applies to this case. Many businesses focus so much on optimizing their search engine presence that they forget to maintain the much-needed balance. The result is that the site carries a risk of causing an information overload on the person who is unfortunate to come across it and may confuse him rather than helping him in the first place.
Let us first take a look at why SEO strategies are used commonly by firms to promote their business.
Advantages of SEOs:
- Targets quality traffic: Perhaps the biggest advantage of using search engine optimization is its marketing strategy. Unlike traditional marketing techniques, where salespersons interrupt consumers to sell their products, inbound marketing involves providing quality information easily to the users. Thus, when users feel that they want to know more about your industry and products, they can easily find you online. It generates more leads for the firm and increases the probability of users becoming potential customers.
- You do not need to pay for ads: When determining rankings, Google uses its algorithms to decide which site will give the best results to a particular query. That particular site has the potential to remain on the page for months and years depending on the keywords they use. Although you may have to update the page occasionally to maintain your ranking. The additional costs are negligible compared to the initial investment. SEOs provide the opportunity for you to generate relevant traffic to your site with almost zero costs after the initial investment that you made.
- SEO attracts more traffic than paid content: Although PPC ads generally appear above normal sites the majority of searches result on a click on the normal sites first. Although it may be tough to answer this question it may be because people trust the algorithm used by Google. Users are generally skeptical when they see the advertisement sign simply because they believe that the content does not have the necessary quality hence the reason it is advertised in the first place. Although people’s opinions might differ regarding the reasons the fact is that organic sites generate more traffic compared to the advertised ones.
- SEO helps PR: Even though they look like two separate marketing strategies, you have the option to use them at the same time to maximize the benefits of both. You can use a variety of options such as lead magnet ideas for this purpose. The biggest connection lies in link building since earning links from websites with a significant reputation is a part of any SEO strategy. An SEO professional will identify opportunities on blogs, news publications, and other relevant sites. A PR strategy involves having a famous publication to mention about your company. This provides a huge opportunity that you can utilize.
Let’s Enter the Realms of Over-Optimization:
As you can see there are several advantages of using SEOs which is why they are popular with businesses. However, it is important to maintain the necessary balance otherwise it may backfire. Overoptimization is the term used when website owners only create content with the sole purpose of pleasing Google. As such, the research on the popular keywords being used and try to put as many as possible without keeping the content of their website in mind. The result is that your content is nearly unreadable due to the number of keywords it includes and is considered spam. Since online users do not like being spammed constantly a bad word of mouth could potentially signal the end of your business is relatively small. Here are some of the reasons why overoptimization will always cost you in the long run.
Why over-optimized content will backfire:
- Receiving attention by more than your target audience: Since you are now easily visible online due to your use of SEOs, it will signal bad news for you if your competitors start to analyze your marketing techniques. They will no doubt up their game to reduce your competitive advantage and will look to copy your techniques once they notice that their sales are dropping. You can also expect to be spammed by other agencies who will be looking to sell you their services since they will look at you as a prominent entity to be associated with.
- Too much success: Every business wants to be successful but getting too much of that in a short time is harmful. You will not have the capacity to handle the volume of sales that may arrive and will lead to an opportunity loss and customers will be disappointed with your services. Unlike paid content which can be switched on and off instantly, the effect of SEOs generally last a considerable time thus highlighting the importance of having a structure to appropriately deal with the changes.
- Black hats and White Hats: You should be careful when selecting agencies who offer you SEO services. Some agencies (Black Hats) will have no issue in breaking certain rules to get you at the top in a short span which will end up with you getting a Google penalty which will eventually get you banned from their search engines due to their methods. Other agencies (White Hats) will put to stay within rules and deliver you great SEO results. It is difficult to judge agencies without having prior experience and a lot of websites have been affected due to bad SEO work.
How to Deoptimize your over-optimized content:
Now that you have taken a look at the consequences that arise due to over-optimization, you should analyze your content and see if it is overoptimized.
Look for subtle hints such as irrelevant keywords and internal and external links to certain pages on the sites. The presence of these will be proof that your content is overoptimized.
After realizing that your site is overoptimized, You need to come up with a content deoptimization plan so that you can rectify your mistakes. I am going to mention the process step by step below so that you can deoptimize your website too.
1. Locate the over-optimized content: Naturally, the first step is to find the particular content that is over-optimized in the first place. You should take a particular look at anchor text, non-branded URLs and headers and footers which are stuffed with keywords. The next thing you should do is to run a website audit which will help you to locate your lowest-performing content. Lowest performing content generally has a negligence influence on generating traffic or attracting attention to any natural links. Such content is also susceptible to receiving a penalty for not complying with the Google Webmaster guidelines. After running the audit, you can finally conclude whether you have an over-optimized content tor not. If you are unfortunate enough to find out that your content is overoptimized, you need to analyze it so that you can take the necessary measures to deal with it.
2. Analyze your content and improve your strategy: I know that analyzing your content is a tough task and if your website is huge, it might take you months before you can finally arrive at the conclusion. Fortunately, the tedious process can be reduced if you possess the right tools. You should create a list of the content that needs to be fixed and the particular keywords that you are focusing on. You may also add relevant columns for the score and extra information. Having done that you can analyze the performance of your keywords so that you can pick the best ones for your website. For example, eBay lost 80% of its organic rankings after it was targeted by Google Panda 4.0 in 2018. The chart below shows how eBay rankings have declined recently.
The reason eBay was targeted largely due to the huge quantity of internal links and ads which were used by the page to direct to other pages of the website. It is no surprise that eBay got targeted hence they have now been kicked out of the top ten recently. We can conclude that if you have relevant content on your page, Google will create a connection with it otherwise having deceptive ads and stuffed keywords will only decrease your rankings.
3. Deoptimize your Over-Optimize Content: After you have completed your analysis, it is time to finally achieve the task that you wanted to do all this time. At this point, you have two options you need to look at before taking any decision.
- Remove Outdated Content: If you believe that some part of your content is no longer useful, it would be better if you remove it so that you can improve the quality of the content that is already available on the site. If you feel that it is not worth re-writing content you can choose to ignore it and you can improve the overall experience of your users. This will help to keep the users engaged and provide you the opportunity to create a loyal audience that will benefit you both in the short and long run.
- Re-optimize the Content: As an alternative, you can choose to re-optimize the poor content on your webpage so that it meets the Google Quality Guidelines. If you feel that one of your low performing keywords has the potential to generate traffic and you have the time and money to fix it accordingly, then there is no harm in trying which may be efficient in the long run. You can improve the quality of your existing content until it is factually better than the ranked result.
You can choose to follow one or a combination of both options so that you can keep your website free from irrelevant content and make it appear tidy. Reducing irrelevant content is important for large websites so that the users can easily navigate through the site without much confusion.
4. Use Fetch as Google for your improved content: After you are done with the deoptimization process, you can check it using Fetch as Google. Using the tool will aid Google to provide the most accurate information from your website and may help you move up in the SERPs. Another benefit is that your content will be indexed at a faster rate. If you possess a large number of URLs to submit, you can choose a sitemap instead since it is easier and the response time is generally similar. Although Google has not mentioned a specific time to index a website but is a fact that Googlebot will look at a site’s indexing in the Google Search Console. Thus you should plan accordingly.
5. Target your search visibility growth: The last step is to track your keywords on the search engines. If your search visibility has a positive trend it is good for you. You can track your growth utilizing the file created for the content audit and manually review the rankings. Otherwise, you can use a rank checking tool.
Overoptimization is a trap that can harm you in several ways since it can decrease your revenues if you sell products or services online. Overoptimization is easily identified by Google algorithms which will make you a target for a Google penalty that will cause serious harm. If you feel that your website is over-optimized, follow the above techniques so that you are safe from a penalty and continue to reap the benefits of having a search engine optimization strategy.
Mathew Jade is a business, finance and technology blogger who spends his entire day writing quality blogs. He is a passionate reader and loves to share quality content prevalent on the web with his friends and followers and keeping a keen eye on latest trends and news in those industries. For more updates follow his on Twitter @Mathew Jade.