Under Optimization Hurts, Too
Jillian Johnson, May 11, 2012
As Google's spam-fighting algorithm, Penguin, continues to make headlines, SEOs and webmasters are not only analyzing their tactics and strategies, but are also dishing out the latest information to help others avoid receiving a penalty. While SEOs and webmasters want to avoid being affected by Google's Penguin, and offer tips regarding over-optimization to help others avoid the attack, it's important to also stress the concern of under optimization.
Although the new algorithm sent a shiver, causing SEOs and webmasters to evaluate their strategies to avoid the penalty that would leave their website invisible to search engines, SEOs and webmasters should be cautious that they don't under optimize, either. While under optimization may not cause you a Google penalty, it can leave your site sitting out in the dust.
Don't let the Google Penguin rob you of your SEO knowledge. The purpose of SEO is get your site into the search engines and have it rank well. Under optimizing your site won't help your site make its way into the SERPs.
Here are general guidelines to follow to help your site remain optimized and avoid a penalty from Google:
Delink repetitive links
If your website content is stuffed with keyword links, delink enough links so that the site looks like it contains content and not just links. The keyword links should be used enough so that they stand out in the content. Also, ensure that the links direct readers to another page.
Rewrite anchor texts
When creating anchor texts, use variation and branding to avoid using the same text since it demotes the value of the link. Use variations such as synonyms, plural or singular forms, or switch keywords in phrases. You can brand an anchor text by using just the brand, personal brand or personal plus name brand.
Rework duplicate content
Review your site and ensure that there is no duplicate content. If there is duplicate content, rework the content. The content on each page should discuss what the page is about for readers. Not only are search engines on the watch for duplicate content, but, let's be realistic – who wants to read the same content on a website?
Edit title tags and meta descriptions
If your title tags only contain keywords, you want to add more content to them. The point to a title tag is to inform the reader as to what the page they are currently on is about. For example, instead of simply writing "Shoes," get more specific by writing "Women's summer shoes." Each page should be given its own title tags since each page is different.
The meta description serves as a miniature flyer for web audiences to learn what the page is about. While it holds little SEO value, it holds value to readers as it can influence web audiences to click on a link or turn them away. The meta description should be creative, descriptive, contain keywords and each page should have its own unique meta description since each page offers something different.
So, while you want to avoid over-optimizing that can result in a penalty, you should be cautious that you don't under optimize and leave your site unnoticed.