Destroy the FOG (Fear of Google) With These Effective SEO Tips
A man in a suit holding a cell phone in front of a cloud.

Over-optimisation is SEO Essex’s current hot topic of conversation, here’s why…  Many people are beginning to discover that their trusted SEO tactics are no longer working as effectively. These include over-optimised anchor text, anchor text for info graphic links, guest posting and the use of press releases. Yet, whilst some techniques are becoming less popular, others are quickly increasing in popularity.

We’re not saying that SEO’s time has come and gone, but that un-optimised is the new optimised. This does not mean to say that no optimisation is required. What we’re basically trying to say is that your website should not be over-optimised, nor should it be under-optimised.  It needs to be as Goldilocks would say, “just right”.

Before you begin undoing all the valuable SEO work completed over the years, we have compiled a list of tips to ensure that your website remains just right in terms of SEO – not too much SEO and not too little.

Your Site Needs To Remain User-Friendly

There is a reason why Google keeps a close eye on sites that overdo their SEO techniques. If a site has a lot of SEO – to the point of spam – it begins to focus on search engines at the exclusion of it’s users.

With such a FOG (Fear of Google) arising, there’s a chance that you’ll amend all of your strategies only to find you’re making the same mistake. In simple terms, be sure to take actions that are about the user and not about Google.

For instance, let’s take a look at the variety of ways you could code a hyperlink (these aren’t real links)

A list of different types of vegetables.

As a reader, each choice of anchor text, leads me to make assumptions about where the link leads. Link 1 looks like it should lead to Dr Hodgson’s website. Link 2 looks like it should lead to a page about fruit and vegetables. Whilst Link 3 and 4 features are more difficult to ascertain, the ‘Click here’ anchor says nothing about the nature of the destination page, whilst the naked link is less than helpful too.

With this in mind, it can look and appear natural to want to feature generic anchor text and naked links in your link profile. Avoid forcing them in, if they don’t fit. Anchor text can be an effective way to subtly tell viewers where the link will take them, so try to use it as intended. For this reason, avoid using the precise same anchor text each time you link to a page.
Prior to doing anything due to the FOG, ask yourself if your site will become less useable for your readers as a result.

Avoid Link Removal Services

In 2012, Google sent out a large horde of warning emails via Webmaster Tools informing site owners that potentially harmful unnatural links had been detected in their link profiles and required immediate action. The warnings were not only a little scary, but also rather confusing. It seemed nearly everyone in the SEO industry received the email.

The Penguin update, one of the countless algorithms put in place to target web spam, targets websites whose link profiles are questionable. As panic began to take over, a wide selection of businesses began offering ‘link removal services’ where they offered to remove nasty links in order for you to get back in Google’s good books.

The truth is… you shouldn’t need to pay a company offering shady services to fix the problem. If you happen to have unnatural links pointing to your site, you should know about it, due to the reasons below:

  • You purchased the links yourself
  • The SEO company you hired did it
  • An error of some kind has arisen
  • You’ve been a victim of a negative SEO attack

It’s up to you to figure out which links are causing the problem and to remove these links only. Be sure to target the problematic links only, otherwise you could begin killing off the high-quality natural links that are still relevant.

Don’t Defensively De-Optimise

If you have noticed a few pages of your website receiving a dip in traffic, or if you have noticed your site has sustained damage, you may be fooled into thinking that every page of that site needs to be fixed, to prevent future dips in traffic and rankings. However, at this point, we would advise against this. Unless you know for sure that a particular tactic is damaging your site, do not start making drastic changes to pages that could be performing perfectly well.

You can never be sure of Google, it is completely unpredictable. You may notice changes occur and this could be due to testing or sheer randomness. By racing around making changes to pages that do not require amendments, you could be undoing the actions that help them rank in the first place. For this reason, we’d advise that you wait until you know which pages are causing the problem before trying to address the issue.

The exception to this is blatant black-hat tricks and techniques which are a clear violation of Google’s web master guidelines.

Effective SEO Summary

Sharing his recent predictions, Eric Enge recently explained which signals are dying and which are to become more commonly used this year. Like our team at SEO Essex, he knows that “steering anchor texts in links is bad.” Additionally, he thinks keyword research, on-page optimisation, social promotion and landing page quality will continue to become more and more important. It therefore seems the direction is clear.

Google are – whether they are succeeding or not – in attempting to favour higher-quality pages in the search results. You may find it somewhat tempting to try tricking Google into thinking that you’re not trying to trick them… or the better choice could be to instead reduce your dependence on trickery.

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