Can Too Much SEO Be a Bad Thing? With rumors that Google could start penalizing over-optimized websites, here are three tips for staying on the search giant's good side.

By AJ Kumar

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Can Too Much SEO Be a Bad Thing

As a small business owner using the web to reach customers, you've surely been implementing search engine optimization tactics to make sure your site turns up high in web searches. But just when you might feel like you're starting to get the hang of this SEO thing, it appears that search giant Google might start penalizing websites that are over-optimized.

At this year's South by Southwest festival, Google spokesperson Matt Cutts hinted that such a penalty would weed out sites that focus too much on SEO and too little on providing a quality experience for their users.

So what factors might play a role in an over optimization penalty? Cutts outlined several signals that would qualify as too much SEO, such as "too many keywords on a page" and "exchange way too many links."

The tricky part is determining what constitutes too many keywords or links. While the penalty has not yet been put in place, you can still take steps to make sure your business's site doesn't end up being labeled "overly optimized":

Related: A Six-Step Survival Guide for Search Engine Updates

1. Write content for people first and search engines second.
Site content written specifically with SEO in mind is often clunky and difficult to read. Focus on providing content that's useful to your readers and trust that links and search engine results will follow.

2. Focus on link quality over quantity. Just because you can buy 10,000 profile links for $10 from any number of link sellers doesn't mean you should. Instead, redirect your efforts toward courting quality links that reflect well on your site.

3. Pay attention to Google's '23 Questions.' Though these questions were released in conjunction with last year's Panda update, there's no doubt that these stated quality parameters are still in effect. Focus on getting your site in line with these principles to avoid over optimization penalties Google could release.

Related: New Google Search Update Could Spell More Trouble for Business Websites

Of course, Google hasn't announced anything specific yet and rarely releases exact details about the internal operation of its algorithms. To stay up-to-date on what Google does next, you can monitor SEO news sites and Google's Webmaster blog for details about potential over optimization penalties as they're rolled out.

What steps will you take to make sure your site doesn't get penalized? Share your suggestions in the comments below.

Wavy Line
AJ Kumar

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Digital Maestro

Aj Kumar, the “Digital Maestro,” is the founder of The Limitless Company, a smart content creation engine for your brand. AJ and his team are on a mission to help entrepreneurs in the Creator Economy build for-profit human-healing brands.

Editor's Pick

A Leader's Most Powerful Tool Is Executive Capital. Here's What It Is — and How to Earn It.
One Man's Casual Side Hustle Became an International Phenomenon — And It's on Track to See $15 Million in Revenue This Year
3 Reasons to Keep Posting on LinkedIn, Even If Nobody Is Engaging With You
Why a Strong Chief Financial Officer Is Crucial for Your Franchise — and What to Look for When Hiring One

Related Topics


Are These 17 Biases Affecting You as a Leader? The Answer Is Likely Yes — Here's How to Address Them.

Having biases is an inherent part of being human, but that doesn't mean we don't have the responsibility to manage them and make sure they don't impact the way we lead.

Business News

The Virgin Islands Want to Serve Elon Musk a Subpoena, But They Can't Find Him

Government officials would like to talk to Tesla's owner as part of an investigation into the Jeffrey Epstein case.

Starting a Business

Is AI Opening the Door for the 100x Founder'?

We often hear the term the 10x developer — but AI is creating a startup environment that dramatically speeds up the time and reduces the resources needed to launch.

Real Estate

5 Strategies for Real Estate Investors to Survive (and Thrive!) Amid Rising Interest Rates

Rising real estate interest rates are not a reason to stress — they are an opportunity to invest.