The Less Is More approach to avoiding Over Optimisation

12th Jan 2022

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) remains an absolutely critical part of any digital strategy – a website that is well-optimised will be far more likely to deliver on its business goals, whether that’s revenue, awareness, enquiries or simply information.

But SEO is partly a specific science, and partly a patience game – getting the basics right at the start and analysing performance over time to review and implement improvements is simply good practice.

But one also has to be patient and let the work that has been done take effect, as Google’s crawlers analyse and develop rankings for the site.

And critically, one has to be careful not to fall into the over-optimisation trap – unnaturally frequent changes, especially too many at one time, will raise a red flag with Google and could lead to a drop in rankings.

How do you know what to look out for? Here are some clear markers of over-optimisation:

1. Keyword-rich anchors for internal links

Your website’s link profile is one of the most important aspects of good SEO, and whilst internal linking is good and necessary, you need to be careful not to use keyword-rich anchor text – for example:

Find out more about Realnet’s bespoke web design services. (where ‘bespoke web design services’ links to the relevant page URL). This is seen by Google as loading links too heavily, without the necessary respect for context.

A better way to frame this link would be as follows: Building a bespoke website that is tailored to your needs is something we pride ourselves on being able to do. (where the link would take the user to the same URL, but the optimised text is diluted within a natural language sentence.

The exception is using an anchor that is the same as the root domain URL, for example, ‘Visit for more SEO advice’.

2. Keeping it relevant

Keywords that are relevant to your website, business and content are great for SEO, as long as they’re used appropriately and in context.

Using ‘buzzwords’ that may be high-value but not relevant to your website at all is a big no-no – the simple tip here is to stick to your niche, with keyword relevant content appropriate for what your website visitor is expecting and wanting to read.

3. Internal linking that spreads the love

Internal linking is a great tool for SEO and helps visitors to your website to find new or more information. But you need to consider the ratio of links that point to top-level navigation pages (for example, home, contact, about us etc.).

Ideally, you should look for a ratio of about 50% of links that point to deep internal links, with the balance pointing to top-level navigation pages. That way, your link profile is strengthened which, as we’ve mentioned before, is one of the most critical aspects of good SEO, and visitors are served a rich and diverse mix of content across the full spectrum of your website.

4. H1s and ‘less is more’

H1 tags are exclusively to be used for a page’s main heading. Whilst the misconception may be that using more than H1 will improve SEO, the literal opposite is true. Multiple H2, H3 and H4 headers is no problem at all, but stick to one H1 per page.

5. Know who you’re linking to

Creating a range of relevant and useful outbound links is great for SEO but be very careful to link only to reputable sites with good domain authority, preferably above 20, and sites that reinforce your niche or specialist area of focus.

6. Keep your feet clean

Your site footer needs to be kept as clean and functional as possible – simply put, Google devalues footer links because they deliver so little value to overall site SEO. Keep your name, address and phone number there, and a way to get in touch. That’s it!

The above tips are a guideline for ensuring good, relevant and effective SEO. At Realnet, we understand the value of good content and build websites that deliver results. Find out more, contact us today on 01223 550800 or

View our latest news

Realnet is an established Cambridge digital agency, we have been helping all sorts of organisations with their online presence since 1998. From website design and ecommerce to digital marketing and PPC campaigns.

Contact us to make your website work harder for you.