Tips to Avoid Over-Optimizing Your Pages in WordPress

One of the recent updates Google blessed us with over the last couple of years included what became known as the over-optimization penalty. This one is aimed at Webmasters who attempt to stuff their pages with keywords in the hopes of raising them in the search engine results.

This played out with folks being told to create their pages with a keyword density of between 2.5 and 5 percent for their primary keyword. The problem was, at least for many of us using WordPress and similar blogging platforms as our content management system, we now know that:

WordPress isn’t so “out-of-the-box SEO ready” as we thought!

WordPress injects a huge number of keywords into your content that you probably aren’t aware of. Once you count up all the instances where your primary keyword shows up, from the titles, H1, H2 and H3 tags, post tags, archives, recent posts widgets and breadcrumbs just to name a few, you can easily have over 30 mentions of your primary keyword on the page before you’ve written it one time in your main content. Not to mention the links to your page that are anchored with that keyword. Google looks at the whole enchilada when determining where to rank your pages.

So what can you do to avoid this?

Here are a few tips to avoid instant over-optimization in WordPress.

  • Don’t ever use tags again! – Tags and especially tag clouds inflate your keyword density beyond belief. Get rid of the habit!
  • Remove the author link from your template – That little link simply generates another duplicate version of your post, inviting trouble.
  • Sweep up the breadcrumbs! – Breadcrumb navigation is yet another useless addition of keywords injected into the mix for no apparent reason.
  • Don’t duplicate your navigation – Often times we’ll have a top nav menu along with the same thing replicated on the sidebar. You don’t need both, unless you’re fond of over-optimization penalties!
  • Kill the recent posts widget – Another demonstration of your template contributing to your ranking demise!

For more great tips on how to avoid over-optimizing your WordPress content go see this awesome post!