Search Engine Deoptimization

I now present to you an alternative view of SED…Search Engine Deoptimization. And yes, you read the title right. Please don’t excommunicate me from the web community. I promise…I’ll be good (well, maybe not).

Sometimes there are cases where search engine optimization can really bite you in the butt (ouch, that hurts). An optimized site can bring you unexpected and unwanted traffic (e.g., bad press of an executive). It can even bring you expected but unvaluable traffic (keep reading).

Case and point. I always lead product / service reviews (especially when they are new and no one has written about them) with product / service names. Because I have a pretty strong PageRank and a decent number of inbound links, it means I get into the search engines and often receive traffic from searches.

One such example was my review of Project Playlist. For a long time, I was the #2 or #3 result for the the query “project playlist.” Since February, I’ve received approximately 13% of all my traffic from people querying “project playlist.”

But guess what? These visitors were a waste of my bandwidth and time. I no longer wanted them here. They stayed on my site for about 16 seconds on average. They barely looked at anything else. They weren’t subscribing to my RSS feed.

Not that I had to but I did a quick check and did not see any backlinks from Google, Yahoo!, or Technorati. **I decided to de-optimize my post on Project Playlist. **I changed the post title by removing “Project Playlist” from it. I changed the post URL and removed the “project-playlist” part of it. I also unlinked the phrase “Project Playlist,” which linked to their website.

Three weeks after my deoptimization, my numbers are looking much better. For starters, that’s because my Project Playlist post dropped to mid page two on the Goog. My overall bounce rate has decreased by 6.5%, the average visitor time on my site has increased by 18%, and my pages / visit have increased by 13%. To be fair, my overall site and search traffic is down — but I expected that.

RIP parasitic Project Playlist web visitors…and good riddance. Long live SED.