On-page overoptimisation going to be a problem soon

14 replies
  • SEO
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I post this not because I hang on every word Matt Cutts says, but because this has been coming for a long time: Too Much SEO? Google

I still see EVERYBODY dispensing the SAME on-page SEO advice, along the lines of:

1) Keyword in Title tag, meta description, meta keywords, H1, H2 and H3 headers
2) Keyword in first paragraph in bold
3) Keyword in last paragraph in italic
4) Keyword at 2-4% density in article

etc. etc.

I mean, REALLY? How long do you think it is before this kind of obvious footprint gets taken into account by Google? I read the Cuttster's comments to be directly referring to this kind of thing. OK, we've let this go on for a while, he is saying, but the party is going to be over for this too soon. I mean, wouldn't you if you were Google?

Now I know that kind of "cheap WSO on-page SEO" is working now, but you have to ask yourself if this is going to come back and bite you in the near future.

G is getting darned good at recognising what content is actually about, with LSI analysis and goodness knows what other statistical voodoo. I think this kind of SEO is now bordering on the naive and I certainly don't practice it on my sites - I go for much more natural keyword/content structure. I still get the rankings I want a good proportion of the time (though I admit, maybe it's cost me rankings in some cases), and I think this is going to be another strategy to bite the dust fairly soon...

What think ye?
#onpage #overoptimisation #problem
  • Profile picture of the author dcristo
    Only clueless SEO's are writing to achieve a certain keyword density.

    That being said, there is certain on-page factors you should be taking into consideration for SEO purposes, which definitely wouldn't be considered over-optimisation.
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    • Profile picture of the author markowe
      Originally Posted by dcristo View Post

      Only clueless SEO's are writing to achieve a certain keyword density.

      That being said, there is certain on-page factors you should be taking into consideration for SEO purposes, which definitely wouldn't be considered over-optimisation.
      Well, yeah, I usually laugh heartily when I hear keyword density mentioned. Google is analysing the OTHER words on your page just as much as your "target" keyword to see what the article is about. Keyword density hasn't been a major factor in YEARS now, I think.

      Of course on-page factors are important, but continuing to advocate this cliched "bold in first paragraph" type of structure is getting a little silly now, to my mind. I guess we'll see, coming soon, in an algo update near you.
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    • Profile picture of the author webjedi
      I think that is answered well dcristo nicely put.

      Personally, if you were writing a college term paper, do the same for your webpage.

      I think (nay sure) that Google also has a 'prettiness' factor and looks at spacing, colors, bolding, italics, indentation etc.

      If you can bold your keyword in a naturally occurring emphasis of the word in a sentence then you will get a bump up.

      If you bold it cause you need your KW bolded for SEO you will get a bump down.

      They will not penalize you for bolding your keyword. Keep that in mind.
      What are they really talking about here?

      Density? In-context variants and usage? Backlinks?

      Maybe the alt tag KW thing finally gets a small slap....


      WJ
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  • Profile picture of the author paulgl
    h1,etc are not headers, but

    Probably saying stop doing things for search engines
    and think about humans.

    That's just the same old laundry list that people still
    think is some magical formula.

    I have never even heard of keyword in italics in last
    paragraph. Really people. Get a grip.

    I don't think that list ever helped shinola in the first
    place.

    The more "google" changes, the more they stay the same.

    Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author mar99pan
    On-page overoptimisation is good, but big problem for people who can not write article, or buy new content from English native,
    I love to do PPC
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  • Profile picture of the author markowe
    Well, I think what will get a slap (or at least discounted as a ranking factor, which will boil down to the same, for many) is simply the excessive presence of a keyword not just in the <p> text, but in the <title>, <em><strong><b> etc. tags and in <h1>, <h2> etc. tags.

    I mean, what web page that is writing NATURALLY about a subject has the keyword appearing to that extent? Seems like an obvious footprint. Though of course, an algo can never get it 100% right, which is why "naturally-ranking" sites could get hit, and "SEO'd-up sites" might get missed, which is why again this will only be a tweak to one subset of all the gazillions of ranking factors, but I think it is still worth thinking about. It would be a very good way for Google to identify sites made by IMers to target specific keywords.

    When doing on-page SEO we need to start taking a more natural approach to the presence of keywords (if you haven't already), and actually writing like "real" articles are written. In the end, it's getting easier to just write good, natural content anyway (not that I am saying that's enough, but it's just easier).
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  • Profile picture of the author Mantasmo
    I think this is mostly targeted at off page over-optimization.

    As for on page - build websites for visitors. That's it.
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    • Profile picture of the author markowe
      Originally Posted by bnetwork View Post

      I think this is mostly targeted at off page over-optimization.

      As for on page - build websites for visitors. That's it.
      Oh yeah, btw, I am pretty sure he is talking about backlinks too, but you never know with that because of the eternal "you could get a competitor penalised" argument. On-page SEO at least is obviously fully under our control.

      But agreed, most niche-sniping sites (ahem, some of mine included) offer nothing to the visitor, and that is going to be increasingly reflected in the bounce rate etc. being factored in too, if it's not already in a big way.
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      • Profile picture of the author MaverickUK
        Originally Posted by markowe View Post

        Oh yeah, btw, I am pretty sure he is talking about backlinks too, but you never know with that because of the eternal "you could get a competitor penalised" argument. On-page SEO at least is obviously fully under our control.

        But agreed, most niche-sniping sites (ahem, some of mine included) offer nothing to the visitor, and that is going to be increasingly reflected in the bounce rate etc. being factored in too, if it's not already in a big way.
        You do realise that you CAN get a competitor penalised in some form via backlinks, don't you? Yep, it's true, run for the hills!
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        • Profile picture of the author markowe
          Originally Posted by MaverickUK View Post

          You do realise that you CAN get a competitor penalised in some form via backlinks, don't you? Yep, it's true, run for the hills!
          Oh man, let's not go there again..!
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    Waiting for everybody to start demolishing their on-page efforts in 5, 4, 3...

    Folks, please stop for a second and think about it. Google is always pushing a "new" filter almost every month now. Is this what you intent to do for years? Chase their "new" something? Get a grip.

    This is just another CYCLE.
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    • Profile picture of the author markowe
      Originally Posted by Fernando Veloso View Post

      Waiting for everybody to start demolishing their on-page efforts in 5, 4, 3...

      Folks, please stop for a second and think about it. Google is always pushing a "new" filter almost every month now. Is this what you intent to do for years? Chase their "new" something? Get a grip.

      This is just another CYCLE.
      Well, to stay in SEO you need to be on top of the game. Personally I try to stay a little ahead, so that's why I try to anticipate the trends. I won't have to demolish anything because I have been mixing it up for a long time.

      Sure, it's all cycles, and repeated waves of "My site got deranked/deindexed" - I just don't intend to be one of them this time or any time.
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  • Profile picture of the author DarrenHaynes
    Waiting for everybody to start demolishing their on-page efforts in 5, 4, 3...

    Folks, please stop for a second and think about it. Google is always pushing a "new" filter almost every month now. Is this what you intent to do for years? Chase their "new" something? Get a grip.

    This is just another CYCLE.
    Indeed - to survive and prosper in this game you totally have to stop acting in fear. Stay calm, it keeps your head clear.
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  • Profile picture of the author wymetto
    I agree - playing by the SEO playbook completely is not natural. I will read a good article now and scratch my head - where did that come from...SEO
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