Are you accidentally over-optimizing your content?

If you search “over-optimizing” on Google, you’ll be met with a wealth of information about why this black-hat practice causes poor user experience and (in some instances) leads to penalties.

With so much information out there, we couldn’t help but notice there was very little discussion about over-optimized keyword strategies — which (in our experience) is a very real problem with SEOs and marketing companies around the world.

The Top Keyword Over-Optimization Mistakes of 2017

The “Laser Focused” Keyword Strategy (AKA Keyword Cannibalization)

It’s perfectly fine to create a keyword strategy that is highly focused on a specific target audience. Unfortunately, some SEO’s get carried away by using the same exact keywords over and over.

This mistake is known as “keyword cannibalization.”

To better understand this phenomenon, you need to first realize that Google depends on the keywords assigned to individual pages to determine its relevancy to the individual performing the search.

If Google sees the same website with multiple pages using the same keyword, it’s hard for “the spiders” to determine which page is most relevant to the searcher.

What does an over-optimized keyword strategy look like?

Take a look at the example below:

While these aren’t actual keywords, the chart is an accurate rendering of the keyword strategy used by many sites on the web.

How to Fix This:

If yours (or your clients’) approach is similar to the one above, don’t worry — you can correct the issue by outsourcing the project to a content strategist or by carving out some time to do it yourself.

Here are the steps:

1) Find a new, diversified list of SEO-friendly terms.

2) Identify the pages with duplicate keywords.

3) Replace duplicate keywords with a varied (but relevant) alternative.

Take a look at the same example builder’s keyword strategy after it’s been corrected:

By diversifying your keyword strategy, you’re not impacting the rank of your own site pages. At the same time, you’re also “putting more hooks in the water” by providing a wider variety of relevant keywords for searchers to stumble upon.

The “Stuffed” Webpage

The “keyword stuffed” web page is an old and well-known error, but it’s worth mentioning here.

What is a Stuffed Webpage?

When a company does have a diverse keyword list, they can also sabotage themselves during the writing process.

Here’s how an over-stuffed web page reads:

Are you looking for a home in Colorado? Our custom home building service in Colorado provides homeowners with an exciting chance to build the home in Colorado they’ve always wanted.
If you’re interested in working with a custom home building service in Colorado, call us today.

If you — or any of your clients — “stuff” keywords like this, it’s time to create new and properly optimized pages.

Creating a diverse keyword strategy is key to ensuring your content doesn’t compete against itself in the SERP’s. Once you have a varied list of keywords, be sure to use your choices sparingly and organically throughout your pages. Remember: keywords are for search engines, but the only point of creating content is to bring value to your readers.

This article was originally published on ProCreativity’s blog.