Can You Over-Do Your SEO Efforts? Google Thinks You Can

When writing content for your website, you likely take the first step of identifying keywords to focus on. After all, you want your content to match the words used by potential site visitors as they search for information.

But in an article from Search Engine Land, Barry Schwartz sheds some light on a new search algorithm change Google is working on that may change the way you write content.

At the recent SXSW mega-conference, Google’s Matt Cutts announced Google will soon be trying to identify websites where content is over-optimized. It’s an attempt to level the playing field and give smaller businesses (with great content) a shot at ranking higher in search results.

So what does this mean for you?

One of the better blog posts about this change comes from HubSpot. As they call out, this change is going to affect how you approach Web content. You may want to start by identifying keywords you want to rank well and molding your content around that research. But Google is saying, “cut it out.”

Google is trying to look out for the end-user. They want their search results to be relevant and useful instead of annoying. So as you write content, don’t focus on keywords. Instead ask yourself:
●    What topics will be most useful to users searching for this information?
●    Am I using titles and keywords because they’re popular, or because they are actually relevant to a potential visitor’s needs?
●    Will users want to share this content via social networks and help increase visibility in social search?

What does this mean for SEO?

Google made it clear that best practices for SEO are still acceptable and encouraged. In other words, page titles, page descriptions, good information architecture and some keyword strategies are certainly still the way to go.

Google simply wants to target websites that take SEO too far – those which try to game the system rather than focusing on the user.

And, really, who can argue with that?

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