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Are You Making this SEO Mistake with Your Real Estate Site?

By Lili Steffens | May 30, 2017

Have you ever considered that optimizing your website too much is an SEO mistake? SEO over-optimization is a real thing, and it can hurt your rankings.

Rumors of Google working on a penalty for over-optimized sites started as early as 2011, yet many website owners ignored the threat and kept on over-optimizing pages for specific terms. In most instances, those pages do not rank, and website owners are frustrated because they invested time, money, and energy to see their sites among the first in Google's SERPs.


Too Much Optimization Is a Common SEO Mistake

If you thought over-optimizing is a myth, think again. Google's Gary Illyes confirm in a Twitter discussion that over-optimization is as real as it gets.

"Is over-optimization really a thing, and if it is, can you please come up with a name for it that isn't an oxymoron?," Twitter user @bubba_ji asked, to which Illyes answered:

"That is totally a thing, but I can't think of a better name for it. It is literally optimizing so much that eventually, it starts hurting."

Over-optimization used to work: if you remember, keyword stuffing was one of the main strategies to make a page rank in SERPs. This led to a poor experience for the Google searchers, as algorithms ranked a lot of crappy sites (like "Made for Adsense" sites) higher than genuine businesses. Some website owners still optimize for keywords repeating them obsessively in page titles, headers, footers, URLs, and so on.

Since too much SEO can hurt your site, there are a few things to do to avoid the over-optimization penalty. Don't think about over-optimization regarding keywords and keyword stuffing. Too much SEO can also mean keyword-rich anchors for internal links; poor internal or external linking, like pointing all internal or external links to top-level navigation pages; having too many <h1> header tags; footer over-optimization; linking to spammy sites; hyper-optimized URLs; using keywords that are not relevant to a website; and so on.

If you are using any of the SEO tactics mentioned above, you are likely over-optimizing your site, and it's time to stop.

Steps to Avoid SEO Mistakes

Instead of optimizing your site for traffic and search rankings, start building with your buyers in mind. Traffic without sales is just smoke.

Over-optimization, also known as negative-SEO, can have serious consequences on your site. Too much SEO can make your real estate site appear spammy, and once penalized, it is hard to recover. Specifically, Google’s Panda update, which was released in February 2011, was specifically aimed at over-optimized sites. If you have a site managed with WordPress, you can always use the Yoast SEO plugin to check if your on page SEO is good. They also have a Drupal module. You should look for proper tools for sites managed on other CMS platforms too.

If you don't use a plugin to monitor the quality of your SEO, just build an awesome website, with a strong focus on quality rather than quantity. You are recommended to use a holistic SEO approach:

  • focus on good design that provides an excellent user experience: clear navigation, good site structure, mobile friendly, fast, and accessible
  • use HTTPS to allow users to buy or to share their data with confidence
  • keep your site secure and free of viruses
  • focus on good content: high quality copy that has a clear objective
  • use excellent visual content: images increase social media shares and time on site

You can learn more about how to avoid over-optimizing your website reading this article by Neil Patel.

A PR and marketing professional with extensive SEO expertise, a former contributor to Search Engine Journal, Liliana Steffens covers online marketing tips, mobile, social media, and SEO for RealtyBizNews.
  • 2 comments on “Are You Making this SEO Mistake with Your Real Estate Site?”

    1. Hasn't over optimization been an issue since the 90s that SEs have tried to deal with. Keyword stuffing, color on similar color words background. And with the advent of CSS placing text way off the visual page lol. Of course noscript was an easy way dirty way to help a flash site.

      Additionally, what is over optimized? is a moving target. Especially as Google has got better at learning from associations via other sites. In other words, be in a trusted network of associations, and the likelyhood of getting hit from "optimization" is less likely.

      1. Of course, Tim! My point is that many people are still doing it old-school. I get so many emails daily from snake oil SEOs salesmen trying to sell me "first-page" rankings for keywords. It's really sad. I also see so many sites from clients who miss the mark. I cannot give examples, obviously. I can only advise people to pay attention.

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