Many SEOs go overboard when it comes to optimizing their websites for the search engines. We’ve all seen the damage that can come from an over-optimized inbound link building campaign. Today, let’s look at the damage that an over-optimized site can do.


Most of us think of keyword inclusion as something that should happen more rather than less. We think of additional keywords as positives, of keyword-heavy content as an asset, and of keyword use in titles as a great advantage in terms of SEO.


For the most part, we’re right. Despite this, however, many SEOs resort to the ‘too much of a good thing’ strategy and overdo their on-site optimization. They overuse their target keywords, effectively stuffing their pages with content that’s designed solely for the search engines.


The end result, of course, is a failed website and a potential ranking penalty. Google isn’t stupid, and the days of overdone on-site SEO are behind us. Today, it’s the art of subtlety – using keywords on your website without ever overusing them.


A good guide is to increase your keyword usage as you move from titles to subtitles, and major points to paragraphs. Use your keyword once in your page’s heading, two times in subheadings, and four times in your paragraphs. It’s simple – just double it whenever you decrease the size of the text on your page.


This is a simple guide, but it’s incredibly effective. As an example, a page that’s been optimized for ‘prescription glasses’ should use the term once in its heading, twice in its subheadings, and four times in its content. That’s it – no more, no less.


By taking a light approach to on-site keyword usage, you can focus on usability and building valuable content. This will help you to avoid Google penalties without ever compromising your website’s value to search engines.