Over-optimization – Something you need to be concerned about?


One of the recent updates Google endowed us with over the last couple of years included what became known as the over-optimization penalty. This one is aimed at Webmasters who try to stuff their pages with keywords in the hopes of raising them in the search engine results.

Many of us were encouraged to have a keyword density of between 2.5 and 5 percent. Many optimized their content for this number and thought they were in the clear. Not so fast. If you are using WordPress as your CMS you might want to rethink your numbers.

WordPress isn’t quite as “SEO ready” as we first thought!

WordPress injects a huge number of keywords into your content that you probably aren’t aware of. Once you count up all the instances where your primary keyword shows up, from the titles, H1, H2 and H3 tags, post tags, archives, recent posts widgets and breadcrumbs just to name a few, you could have more than 30 mentions of your primary keyword on the page before you’ve written it once in your main content. Not to mention the links to your page that are anchored with that keyword. Google looks at the whole enchilada when determining where to rank your pages.

So what can you do to avoid this?

Never fear, we’ve found some good tips to avoid over-optimization in WordPress.

  • Stop using tags – The use of tags and tag clouds grossly inflates the number of times your keyword is found on the page. Entirely not needed!
  • Take out the author link from your template – This produces another exact duplicate version of your post, which is duplicate content defined! Google how to do this.
  • Don’t use breadcrumb navigation – More keywords that aren’t serving a purpose.
  • Don’t have duplicate navigation menus – You see it constantly: a top navigation bar, along with an identical version in the sidebar.
  • Do away with the recent posts widget – A staple in many WordPress installs that will only lead to poor rankings!

For more sound advice on how to avoid over-optimizing your WordPress content go see this awesome post!