Search engine optimization is important for promoting your website and attracting customers online. But is more SEO always better?
Marketers are increasingly finding out that over-optimizing websites can lead to problems. That’s partially because search algorithms are getting to be stricter, meaning that pages with too many keywords or low-quality links will be discounted in the search listings. It’s also because live searchers are tired of finding pages that don’t have any meaningful content.
While this is easy enough to understand, it doesn’t answer an important question: how can you tell when you’ve gone too far with search engine optimization?
In our experience, it’s usually fairly obvious. You’ll know you’ve gone overboard with keywords, links, and other SEO strategies when:
Your Content No Longer Reads Naturally – When your pages start reading as if they were written specifically for Google, they stop having much appeal to real-life customers. If you find yourself writing awkward phrases just to fit a few search terms on to your page, rethink your approach to SEO.
You Suffer a Significant Drop in Search Engine Rankings – Occasionally, Google changes its search algorithm and marketers who have been walking a fine line find they are suddenly on the wrong side of it. If you’ve done a lot of work on search optimization and suddenly can’t get new traffic to your website, it might not be a coincidence.
You’re Getting Visits to Your Website, but No Conversions – It’s easy to fall for the trap of stringing lots of search terms and phrases together in order to draw traffic, but that won’t help you if the messaging is such a turnoff to buyers that your landing pages stop converting.
When any of these three symptoms is present, there is a good chance you’ve placed too much of a priority on search visibility, and not enough on your actual marketing message. When that happens, it’s time to reassess your content and strategy from the ground up.