Does the phenomenon Over optimisation actually exist?

Imagine you have a website that has been optimised well in the search engines; that is, you believe you have optimised it well, and that too with all white hat techniques. But then you find your website ranking dropping fast. You don’t know why this is happening. And then you check your web pages and realise that all the pages that you had optimised effectively seem to be over optimised. Shocking, isn’t it? How does this happen? Let’s check out a few of the reasons why this happen. In other words, how your web pages become over optimised.

  • Keyword stuffing

As you know, the ideal number for a keyword to be present on a web page is 5–8% of the total number of words in the page. This means if there are 100 words in a page the keywords should occur 5 to 8 times. However, often SEO experts want the page to be ranked fast by search engines and insert these keywords too often so that the whole content reads unnatural and therefore unappealing.  When the keywords become more than 8% it starts looking like keyword stuffing. Not only the content will annoy the visitors but the search engines also will detect this and, oops! There goes your website ranking down!

  • Doorway pages and hidden text

These are two other ways to increase the keyword density in the eyes of search engines. Doorway pages are those that are made specially for search engines and are invisible to the eyes of the human visitors. Similarly, hidden text would also be invisible to the human eyes as they would be in the same colour as that of the background. It will be added in the HTML code of the page. As it sounds, both are manipulative and can invite penalty from search engines.

  • Duplicate content

Duplicate content is the chunks of content that are same and exist in different websites, either sister sites, linked sites or a couple of completely different sites. This happens when sentences or even paragraphs are copied from one website and pasted to another. Duplicate content is highly punishable by search engines. They can be harmful in 2 different ways – either when you take content from another site or when the content in your site is taken by another. The risk here is that both the sites – the copied and the one that copies – are given penalty.

Links are one major factor that can decide the position of a website in the search engines. And for the same reason they can also be misused to get high ranking. Many sites, believing that adding as many links to them is going to do wonders, would take links from link farms or a blacklisted site, which is nothing but inviting the attention of the search engines.

Over optimisation can happen intentionally as well as accidentally. However, the search engines are either indifferent to or unaware of the reason. All they notice would be that a website has been over optimised. And for the same reason, the penalty for such methods, which come too close to black hat SEO techniques, can sometimes be a permanent ban of the site. Hence, it is important to not only avoid such practices but also frequently check whether your site has become a victim of them without your knowledge.

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