So-called SEO gurus claim the way to getting to the top of search engine rankings is by creating content that is rich in keywords. However, this is not the answer to getting readers and maintaining a potential client base. In fact, keyword stuffing may have the opposite effect resulting in getting knocked out of top search engines due to over-optimization.
What is over-optimization?
There is a prevalent theory that the more keywords that you include in an article, the more relevant it will be to search engines. However, over-optimization often results in content that is poorly crafted, difficult to read and not worthy of sharing. When this occurs, you stand the risk of alienating the reader and this can cause loss of potential sales and lack of new readers.
Finding the right mix
There is little doubt that your content must contain some keywords, otherwise it will be nearly impossible for potential clients to find your work. However, the line between optimization and over-optimization is one that should be navigated carefully. Content must be written first for the reader and then for the search engines. The components of good content are relevance, consistency and value.
- Relevance - for your content to have relevance, it must address the needs of your reader. If your reader is searching for information on dog food and you suddenly start discussing wedding gowns, then your content isn't relevant.
- Consistency - if your readers are depending on you to post once week and you suddenly start posting once a month, you'll lose readers. Readers are looking for someone who addresses their desire to learn more on a consistent basis and if you do not do this, someone else will.
- Value - the best way to retain and get new readers is to ensure that your content is valuable. Readers who feel that you are providing them with useful information that addresses specific needs will share your content. The more frequently your content is shared, the more readers you will gain.
When optimization goes wrong
Google has undergone numerous changes over the last several months. First, there was the
"Panda" update which targeted content farms. Overall, content farms had one purpose: To trick the search engines into rating their work higher than their competition. In many ways, Panda cleaned this up. Supposed SEO experts have long encouraged website and blog owners to focus on a narrow set of keywords and to shoot for a density for between two and five percent per article or page. This is not smart thinking as this caters to search engines and not to readers.
Google recently dropped the other shoe on websites, blogs and articles who spend their time shooting for "search engine ranking" by over-optimization. In fact, in April of 2012, Google announced that their latest algorithm change will be targeting keyword stuffed articles, blogs and websites. Content will always remain king but writing content for the reader will become far more important than trying to focus on some voodoo formula created for the sole purpose of over-optimization.