Optimization, Over-Optimization or SEO Overkill?
Today having a website does not suffice the purpose of good sales. What is needed is to optimize a site to have a good ranking. Search engine experts stretch every limit possible to optimize a site and many times use unethical (commonly known as black hat) methods. This results in temporary or permanent exclusion of the site from Google and the other search engines. Search engines react to this in a very abnormal way, by displaying completely irrelevant and manipulating results.
While optimizing a site the following should be considered:
Keyword Density: Keywords play a very important role in search engine optimization as keywords are the words searched for by the customer to find a relevant website. Many ties SEO experts fail to understand the thin line between keyword stuffing and keyword density in their desire to get top ranking for their clients. Keyword density refers to 3 to 7% anything above this is keyword stuffing. When you have a high density percentage for a frequently used keyword, consider replacing some of the occurrences of the keyword with synonyms.
Doorway Pages and Hidden Text: Doorways were a common practice before google introduced page rank algorithms. A doorway page is a page blind to the human eye meaning they are meant only for the search engines. Keywords alone have less effect in determining the position of a site in search results, so doorway pages do not get so much traffic to a site. But using them is unethical so far as google is concerned.
Hidden text is again similar to doorway pages the only difference being it is meant for text. The hidden text is not visible to the human eye and only to the search engines. It is included in the HTML source of the page, trying to fool search engines that the particular page is keyword-rich.
Duplicate Content: Content is the king in SEO, but not duplicate. Duplicate content in terms of google refers to same content being placed on different pages of the same site or on a sister-site, or on a site that is heavily linked to the site in question and it can be presumed that the two sites are related. A tool named Similar Page Checker is helpful to warn you about duplicate content on your site.
Links Spam: Links again help a lot in SEO and as many other SEO tools even it can be misused. Backlinks are important to Yahoo in terms of quantity and for google their source is more important. Tons of backlinks from a link farm or a blacklisted site may result in site penalization. Similarly more number of outbound links do no good to the site. You can use the Domain Stats Tool to see the number of backlinks (inbound links) to your site and the Site Link Analyzer to see how many outbound links you have.
Using appropriate keywords in the links (the anchor text), domain names, folder and file names boosts your search engine rankings. One thing to remember while selecting a domain name is to have related content. A handy tool for this task is the Backlink Anchor Text Analysis, where you enter the URL and get a listing of the sites that link to you and the anchor text they use.
Finally, where it is very important to optimize a site care should be taken to se it is done ethically. Over optimization can make the site fall prey to penalization. The key is always keep to reasonable practices and remember not to overstep the line.